Melissa Schuman explains Nick Carter duet after alleged rape: What to know about 'Fallen Idols'

Melissa Schuman is opening up about her decision to do a duet with Nick Carter after he allegedly raped her in 2003.

Schuman — who sued Carter, 44, for sexual assault in Los Angeles Superior Court in April 2023 — explained in the Investigation Discovery docuseries "Fallen Idols: Nick and Aaron Carter," which premiered Monday, that she felt pressured from her manager to record "There For Me" with Carter in order to launch her solo career.

"When I look back on this song now, it feels almost premeditated, where it was presented as if it was going to actually help me, but in reality it feels more like an alibi for him," she said.

"Fallen Idols" delves into the sexual assault allegations against the Backstreet Boys singer, including interviews with accusers Schuman, Ashley Repp and Shay Ruth, as well as his ex-girlfriend Kaya Jones, and Melanie Martin, the former fiancé of the late Aaron Carter.

"These are exactly the same outrageous claims that led us to sue this gang of conspirators. Those cases are working their way through the legal system now, and, based on both the initial court rulings and the overwhelming evidence, we have every belief that we will prevail and hold them accountable for spreading these falsehoods," Dale Hayes Jr., an attorney for Carter, told USA TODAY in a statement Tuesday regarding the docuseries.

Aaron Carter's mental health struggles and substance abuse issues are also discussed in the docuseries.

In the docuseries, the former pop singer of Dream addressed victim shaming she said she experienced after working with Carter following the alleged assault.

"People don't understand and are like, 'Well, you followed him on Twitter. You sent him condolences. You liked a tweet.' I was truly trying my best to find forgiveness for him and move on with my life."

Schuman said her manager Kenneth Crear presented her with the song and she later learned he was "like family" to Carter.

"My first thought was, 'Do I have to be alone with him?' And Kenneth goes, 'Oh, no, it's already pre-recorded. You only have to go in and do your part.' I could feel Kenneth's eyes on me, like he was observing me. And he goes, 'Nick is dating Paris Hilton,'" she alleged her manager said at the time.

Sony Records later arranged a showcase for her to secure a record deal and "completely froze" when she discovered Carter would be joining her.

"I was scared," she recalled. "And I was very cold to him and we sang our duet. I don't even think I looked at him and eventually he goes, 'Well clearly we don't like each other.' And those were the last words he ever said to me."

Nick Carter's former manager refutes Melissa Schuman's recount of the duet, showcase

In a signed declaration filed by Crear in April 2023, he refutes Schuman's recount of how the duet came together and her fear surrounding the showcase.

"I recall Ms. Schuman being happy and excited at the chance of singing with Mr. Carter," he wrote. "I am aware that Ms. Schuman is accusing Mr. Carter of sexually assaulting her sometime in 2003. I am disappointed and ashamed that she would misrepresent and twist her experiences working with me and during the Showcase in an attempt at legitimizing/corroborating her assault story."

The former manager for Carter and the Backstreet Boys also claimed the showcase was for "many artists" and Schuman "knew well in advance of the Showcase that she would be performing the duet with Mr. Carter. Her testimony suggesting otherwise is false."

Crear said the two singers "performed the song without any issues" and that Schuman "hung out and socialized" with him and Carter after the showcase.

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Why did Melissa Schuman sue Nick Carter?

In a complaint filed in Los Angeles, Schuman alleged that Carter used "his role, status, and power as a well-known singer to gain access to, groom, manipulate, exploit, and sexually assault," according to the lawsuit, obtained by USA TODAY.

In the court documents, Schuman said the alleged assault occurred at Carter's Santa Monica apartment. She claimed Carter forced himself on top of her despite her telling him "over and over that she was a virgin, that she was saving herself for her future husband, and that she did not want to have sex."

Schuman also claimed Carter infected her with HPV, a sexually transmitted infection that can cause genital warts and other health problems.

Nick Carter is the subject of a new Investigation Discovery docuseries.
Nick Carter is the subject of a new Investigation Discovery docuseries.

Carter's attorney Liane K. Wakayama told USA TODAY in an emailed statement at the time that Schuman's suit is a "PR stunt."

"Melissa Schuman has been peddling this tale for many years, but her allegation was false when she first made it back in 2017 – and it still is," Wakayama said.

The lawsuit came weeks after a Nevada judge ruled Carter could countersue Schuman and her father Jerome Schuman, as well as another Carter accuser, Shannon "Shay" Ruth.

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Melissa Schuman first opened up about the alleged Nick Carter assault in 2017

Schuman first published a blog post detailing her claims in 2017.

"I am about to share something that I've wanted to pretend never happened since I was 18," Schuman wrote. "A burden I thought I'd have to carry for the rest of my life and suffer in silence."

Schuman said Carter "was relentless, refusing to take my no's for an answer" and said he performed oral sex on her and forced Schuman to perform sexual acts before raping her.

According to Schuman's post, the incident happened shortly after they were cast in a TV movie together, 2004's "The Hollow." At the time, Carter was 22.

Schuman wrote that she had intended to come forward shortly after the encounter, but her then-manager, Nils Larsen, convinced her it wasn't a good idea.

After Schuman's blog post was published in 2017, Carter also denied the allegations then in a statement to USA TODAY.

"I am shocked and saddened by Ms. Schuman's accusations," the singer said. "Melissa never expressed to me while we were together or at any time since that anything we did was not consensual. We went on to record a song and perform together, and I was always respectful and supportive of Melissa both personally and professionally. This is the first that I am hearing about these accusations, nearly two decades later. It is contrary to my nature and everything I hold dear to intentionally cause someone discomfort or harm."

How to watch 'Fallen Idols: Nick and Aaron Carter'

"Fallen Idols: Nick and Aaron Carter" will air on Investigation Discovery across two nights on May 27 and May 28 at 9 p.m. ET. The episodes will also stream on Max.

Contributing: Morgan Hines

If you or someone you know has experienced sexual violence, RAINN’s National Sexual Assault Hotline offers free, confidential, 24/7 support to survivors and their loved ones in English and Spanish at: 800.656.HOPE (4673) and and en Español

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Nick Carter in 'Fallen Idols': What we know of Melissa Shuman claims