Nick Carter is speaking out about ex-girlfriend Paris Hilton’s mysterious bruises, which she openly displayed for photographers at Los Angeles International Airport on July 29 – one week after her breakup with the Backstreet Boy – PEOPLE reports in its latest issue.
Although the Simple Life star, 23, and her family have been mum about exactly what happened, Carter, 24, has been put on the defensive, vigorously denying the notion that he is responsible for her injuries.
“I’ll tell you one thing: I didn’t touch her,” the singer told PEOPLE on Monday. “I’m not that kind of guy. I would never do that.”
So far, Hilton has declined to press any charges related to her injuries. “I’m doing okay,” she said. “I’m just so happy to be single right now.”
Drama certainly always seemed to follow the paparazzi-basking Hilton and Carter, whose rocky seven-month relationship ended on July 22, with Carter telling PEOPLE that their romance “totally was based on distrust.”
Four nights later Hilton – along with her sister Nicky, 20, actress pal Bijou Phillips, 24, and Carter’s brother Aaron, 16 – hit the dance floor at the L.A. hot spot Fenix at the Argyle hotel. Next up: a stop at Joseph’s Cafe, where Hilton’s group ran into Nick. “It was an accidental meeting,” says a Hilton friend.
Carter’s lawyer Marty Singer notes that Hilton went home with Carter. Says a friend of Hilton’s: “She spent the night but left there bruised.” Singer also says that Carter drove her to a meeting the next morning; Hilton’s injuries didn’t publicly appear until paparazzi shots taken July 28.
The next day Singer says Carter received an angry call from Hilton, who was upset by the pop star’s comments to PEOPLE, and that the pair “got into a big argument.” Hilton’s camp questions whether the call took place but acknowledges she was likely hurt by the story.
For his part, Nick says that he is bewildered by the recent turn of events. “I’m just sad. … I really loved that girl.”
As for Hilton, “she’s just trying to work and build a career and find the right guy along the way,” says her friend, skateboarder Chad Muska. “Obviously I don’t think this was the one.”
• By Michelle Tauber, Mary Green, Julie Jordan, Kimberly Lansing, Marisa Laudadio, Kwala Mandel, Rebecca Paley and Kathy Ehrich