Nick Carter: Why Paris and I Split

07/28/2004 at 03:00 PM EDT

Nick Carter: Why Paris and I Split
Sara Jaye/ABACA
After seven months together, Backstreet Boy Nick Carter, 24, and The Simple Life's Paris Hilton, 23, called it quits on July 22. Paris preferred to have her rep confirm the split. Carter, however, briefed PEOPLE about the relationship's ups and downs. "I've dated nothing but normal girls," says Carter. "(Dating Paris) was definitely a departure."

How they met: "We met through her bodyguard, who was a friend of mine. He called me up and was like, 'Hey, she wants to meet you.'"

What led to the breakup: "Our relationship totally was based on distrust. She didn't trust me. I didn't trust her."

What happened July 22: "We both got on the phone, had a discussion and agreed we couldn't do this anymore."

Hilton's rep's assertion that the heiress broke it off: "Obviously, that's the way they're going to try to make it look. (The breakup) is mutual."

Reports they cheated on each other: "The only comment I'm going to have to that is that I'm loyal to those who are loyal to me."

Getting linked by ink: "We got tattoos together three weeks ago." (Carter got "Paris" imprinted on his wrist. He won't divulge Hilton's tattoo.)

Regrets about tattooing: "No, (I don't regret it) because I love her. She'll have a place in my heart, always."

Getting over it: "I've got a lot of work to do. I just want everybody to know that I'm single and ready to have fun again. I'm a wild and crazy guy.

"If someone comes along and sweeps me off my feet," adds Carter, "then I'll be loyal again."

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