In the 10 years since Amanda Bynes was considered young Hollywood royalty, the actress suffered an embarrassing public breakdown, a classic child star downward spiral involving drugs, bad wigs, and incoherent tweets that ranged from offensive to explicit.
Now four years sober, Bynes looks like she’s ready for a comeback.
In a Paper magazine profile, Bynes opens up for the first time about the darkness in her past, reflecting on her drug use and the way it isolated her in a “dark, sad world.”
Here are some of the things we learned:
Bynes helped Channing Tatum get cast in She’s the Man, his first major movie role
“I totally fought for Channing [to get cast in] that movie because he wasn’t famous yet. He’d just done a Mountain Dew commercial and I was like, ‘This guy’s a star — every girl will love him!’ But [the producers] were like, ‘He’s so much older than all of you!’ And I was like, ‘It doesn’t matter! Trust me!'”
Seeing herself playing a guy in She’s the Man put Bynes into a deep depression
“When the movie came out and I saw it,” she says, “I went into a deep depression for 4-6 months because I didn’t like how I looked when I was a boy.” She paused. “I’ve never told anyone that.” Seeing herself with short hair and sideburns was “a super strange and out-of-body experience. It just really put me into a funk.”
Bynes had a similar experience watching herself in Easy A:
“I literally couldn’t stand my appearance in that movie and I didn’t like my performance. I was absolutely convinced I needed to stop acting after seeing it.” She continues, “I was high on marijuana when I saw that but for some reason it really started to affect me. I don’t know if it was a drug-induced psychosis or what, but it affected my brain in a different way than it affects other people. It absolutely changed my perception of things.”
She had been smoking marijuana since 16
The former Nickelodeon star admits to smoking marijuana from the time she was 16, although it didn’t become an addiction until she announced her retirement on Twitter and started “getting stoned all day long.”
“Later on it progressed to doing molly and ecstasy,” she says matter-of-factly. “[I tried] cocaine three times but I never got high from cocaine. I never liked it. It was never my drug of choice.” One drug she admits she started taking on a regular basis, however, was Adderall. “I definitely abused Adderall,” she says
Drugs, not mental illness, were to blame for her erratic behavior
“It definitely isn’t fun when people diagnose you with what they think you are,” Bynes says, in reference to countless headlines over the years that attempted to put a psychological label to her behavior. “That was always really bothersome to me. If you deny anything and tell them what it actually is, they don’t believe you. Truly, for me, [my behavior] was drug-induced, and whenever I got off of [drugs], I was always back to normal.”
She’s planning her comeback in the acting world
When talking about her plans to return to acting, Bynes says she wants to re-enter the business “kind of the same way I did as a kid, which is with excitement and hope for the best.” She says she wants to have the chance to “try it all” and “doesn’t want to limit myself” by only gunning for certain types of roles or productions.
We only have one thing to say to that: Amanda, please!
Read the full Paper profile here.