In Memory Of
Leslie Carter Ashton
(1986 – 2012)
Who Was Leslie Carter?
Leslie Barbara Carter was born on June 6, 1986 in Tampa, Florida. She was the third child of Jane Eleanora (nee Spaulding) and Robert Gene Carter. Her siblings, who all survive her, include Nick and Bobbie Jean (both older), and Aaron and Angel (both younger). Carter also had 3 half-siblings: Virginia Marie, Kaden and Taelyn. Both of her parents had remarried. Leslie was the middle child in her family, and it was often reported that she’d felt “left out”, as she was most commonly known as sister of Backstreet Boys member Nick Carter, and sister of singer/performer Aaron Carter. But her beautiful smile and her own musical talent endeared her to her family and friends. In 2008, she married fellow musician Mike Ashton, and the couple moved to Toronto, Ontario, Canada. In 2011, Leslie Ashton gave birth to a beautiful little girl, Alyssa Jane Ashton.
Carter’s Music Career
Carter had an aspiring music career in her own right. She loved to sing, and she played both the piano and the clarinet. Carter was also a songwriter. She had performed onstage with Aaron in Germany, and accompanied her younger brother on his first headlining tour in Canada.
Carter had signed a record deal in 1999 with DreamWorks Records. After signing, she began to record her debut album, “Like Wow!”, which was set for release in June of 2000. Unfortunately, the release was delayed, as she was yet “unproven” as a musical talent, and DreamWorks wanted to test her fan base before releasing the album. DreamWorks finally cancelled the release, even though the single, “Like Wow!” appeared on the Shrek soundtrack. The single did receive some minor airplay, and peaked at number 99 on the Billboard Hot 100.
Carter, however, was not deterred in terms of her musical career. In December of 2005, she started a small club tour in Canada, and later moved on to a showcase in New York City on January 19, 2006, hoping that it would lead to a new record deal. At that time, her songs had a more pop rock-oriented sound. Later on that same year, she formed the band, The Other Half, with musicians Mike Ashton (her husband-to-be), DJ Porter, Casey Clowater, Paul Davidson and Dave Thompson. The band enjoyed limited success, and in 2009, there was a mutual decision to split up the band. Although she was never an award-winning musician, Carter was still determined to write music, and she performed some of her own songs for her siblings on the family’s reality TV show, House of Carters.
Speaking of Family Drama!
There was always chaos in the Carter household. With numerous issues that revolved around marriage, money and many children, the five Carter children decided to star in the previously-mentioned E! reality TV show, House of Carters. The show was also featured on Much Music in Canada. The plot centred around the lives of the Carter adolescents as they attempted to revamp their careers and bring stability back to their fledgling family relationships. Unfortunately, the show further exacerbated the dysfunctional family dynamic, and after 8 episodes, it was discontinued; once again, the family members went their own separate ways. It was often reported that fame had torn the family apart, and that Carter had grown distant from her siblings over several years. But there were other issues as well that compounded this unfortunate family relationship.
Leslie’s “Issues” and Subsequent Death
There has been much speculation regarding the death of Leslie Carter. Family sources have admitted that Leslie had a long battle with mental illness and depression. At the time of her death, she was battling these demons, and she had left Canada and her husband to move back in with her family in order to conquer an addiction to prescription medications. Her baby daughter, Alyssa, who was ten months old, was with her at the time of her death. On the morning of January 31, 2012, Carter had complained of not feeling well, and it was reported that she appeared depressed on the morning of her death. Her stepmother had found her, after she’d fallen in the shower, and Ginger Carter assisted Leslie back to her bed to lie down and rest. Leslie told her stepmother that she’d felt like sleeping, and she asked Ginger to watch over Alyssa. Ginger had left Leslie alone to rest. However later on in the afternoon, Carter’s father found her in the bedroom, unresponsive and not breathing. He attempted to perform CPR as he awaited an ambulance, but this attempt was to no avail. Carter was pronounced dead on arrival at Westfield Memorial Hospital in Westfield, New York. The Chautauqua County police incident report noted that Leslie B. Ashton had suffered from a suspected overdose. There were three prescription drugs found at the scene of her death: Olanzapine (used to treat symptoms of schizophrenia and bipolar disorder); Cyclobenzaprine (a muscle relaxant); and Alprazolam (used to treat anxiety and panic disorders). What made matters even more difficult was the fact that Ginger Carter, who was taking the medication Xanax to treat depression, was said to be “under the influence” at the time of her police interview. Ginger had admitted to the police that she had taken “5 to 6 pills” for her depression, and police noted that she exhibited signs of “slurred speech, pinpoint pupils, glassy eyes, and [she] kept falling asleep” during police questioning. Moreover, People magazine reported that Ashton’s autopsy was inconclusive; that she “likely” suffered an overdose; and that she presented with “no visible signs of trauma.” Toxicology tests were further completed on Ashton’s body; however, nothing was ever publicly reported, and her cause of death, while highly touted as a drug overdose, has never been confirmed.
Carter’s life was celebrated in a memorial service in Mayville, New York, and she was buried in a cemetery in Chautauqua. Many family members and friends attended the service; however, brother Nick was not present. He stated, “I wanted to be at my sister’s funeral, but my family has always had a complicated family dynamic.” It was later learned that he spent the night before Leslie’s funeral at a nightclub in Boston. Leslie (Carter) Ashton’s death is a sad reminder of the perils of fame, money and broken family relationships, with the demise of a beautiful young mother happening far too early. Rest in peace, Leslie.
Author: Tribute posted by Memorialleaf.com in memory of Leslie Carter who passed away on January 31, 2012. Memorialleaf.com is an online memorial site where anyone can dedicate online memorials and contribute remembrance poems in memory of their loved ones. Also see tribute to singer Etta James.