When Willa Ford's debut single arrives on radio later this month, the 20-year-old singer is hoping teen pop fans can look past her dating history.
Ford (born Amanda Williford) is a former girlfriend of Backstreet Boy Nick Carter and was prey to their fans when she toured North America with the group in 1999.
"Backstreet [mania] freaked me out," Ford said in the April issue of Teen People. "I saw signs like 'Die [Willa].' It was scary."
The singer also has been viciously dissed on the Internet. There are at least five anti-Willa Ford Web sites, with such names as Say No to Willa Ford and Willa Da Witch. The sites, obviously maintained by Backstreet Boys fans, call Ford a "talentless freeloader" and "psycho."
Ford is not the only one to receive harsh treatment for hooking up with a heartthrob. When MTV News has reported on boy band members' relationships such as the marriages of Backstreet Boys Brian Littrell and Kevin Richardson last fall hundreds of fans have responded with sneering e-mails about the women.
At least Ford's days of scorn should be over. She and Carter broke up in October.
Now the Ruskin, Florida, native is preparing to clear her next hurdle: dodging comparisons to Britney Spears. Ford whose single "I Wanna Be Bad" follows in the not-that-innocent vein addresses the Spears issue on another track, "Tired," according to Teen People.
Ford's debut album, Willa's World, is due July 10 on Lava/Atlantic Records. DJ Skribble and Anthony Acid are among the producers on the record.