As his adorable son Odin prepares to mark his first birthday, Nick Carter is opening up about his first year of fatherhood and newfound purpose to stay healthy and right the wrongs of his own upbringing.
The 37-year-old Backstreet Boy sat down for an exclusive interview with ET in between the Backstreet Boys' 'Larger Than Life' residency shows at Planet Hollywood in Las Vegas, where Carter is settling into family life with wife, Lauren, and Odin.
"We'll walk through a casino with him and it’s an interesting experience. He loves all the lights!" says Carter. "I think it'll be a cool time for him to look back on one day and remember that he was just a little 10-month-old baby when we started this. We're going to take him out and do some more family stuff, but right now he's so small. He’s really just playing with toys in his room."
"And it's so good for me to have him out here," continued the singer and actor. "When I come home, he's walking across the floor now. He's doing this little waddle-type walk and giggling all the time! He's just a bundle of joy and it melts my heart and gives me purpose and reason to keep on staying healthy, staying motivated and all of those things. He's a really good, solid thing for me to have in my life."
Having experienced a rocky upbringing fraught with domestic turmoil and parents who he says were frequently fighting, Carter adds that becoming a parent himself has made him more determined to right the wrongs of his own childhood. While he's in touch with his siblings, including twins Aaron and Angel, Carter says relations with his parents are "still a little estranged."
"It really is something that I deal with on a daily basis," he shares. "I'm working on it internally and otherwise just really focusing on my family now and all the things that I can give and do better and get right with mine. Things that I didn't necessarily have with my own."
That means giving Odin a stable, loving and dependable environment to grow up in. "I just want him to have love," says Carter. "Nothing but love and a solid foundation with his mother and father… one that he can depend on."
With his first year as a father coinciding with a busy professional year -- including the launch of BSB's residency, a collaboration with Florida Georgia Line and promoting his feature film Dead 7 -- Carter admits daddy guilt has been the biggest challenge of parenting so far.
"The hardest part is that I feel guilty at times that I'm rehearsing or away," says the star, who is also working hard to stay on top of his health and fitness, having overcome addiction and a heart condition. "We were rehearsing for eight hours back in L.A. and I'd come home and barely be able to give him a bath because I was so tired. Stuff like that is hard because I just want to spend time with him."
And while some new parents struggle with their own relationship under the stress of adapting to parenthood, Carter says Odin has only brought him closer with 33-year-old fitness expert Lauren, who he wed almost two years ago in a stunning outdoor ceremony in Santa Barbara, California.
"It has actually made our relationship stronger," he says. "We both want to be the best that we can be, the best parents and the best example. He's a little human being who is soaking up all these things and experiencing stuff for the first time, so it's my duty and my job to make sure that he has a great start. So, that's what we’re both doing together."
Carter says the pair will "maybe!" have more kids, but for now are focused on gorgeous little Odin and BSB's record-breaking residency at the AXIS Theater.
Featuring hit after hit from the GRAMMY-nominated group's 24-year career, the production spectacle is the fastest-selling residency in Las Vegas history and boasts stunning choreography by Carter's former Dancing With the Stars partner Sharna Burgess, slick backup dancers, spectacular visuals, old fan favorites like "Get Another Boyfriend," and epic throwbacks like the group's iconic "As Long As You Love Me" chair routine.
"It's great to have this production value here in Vegas," says Carter. "It all starts with our vocals and choreography and we have to be solid with that, but adding all these bells and whistles just enhances what we do. It makes it a better and better show, so it's been great."
In between the shows, which were created and directed by Raj Kapoor, the group are also preparing for the launch of their next album and a 25th anniversary world tour.
"There's some really big things happening with potential labels for the album, so it's going to be a really big release," Carter teases. "We're going to work on some really great music and the best album we've put out in years because we're going to have a great team behind us."
If that's not enough to keep the jack-of-all-trades busy, he confirms he is also planning a follow-up to his 2015 solo record All American, which featured the catchy Avril Lavigne collaboration, "Get Over Me."
"I want to take my time with this one and make sure that it's right," he says. "Every single album is my personal creative expression and it's also an extension of this group when I go out on my own. I want to make sure that it's great music for the fans."