Amanda Bynes in ‘Easy A’ | Screen Gems
Former child star and controversial figure, Amanda Bynes recently re-emerged from the darkness with an entirely new lease on life. Bynes began her career as a successful name at the Nicholodean network. And then worked her way into films.
However, substance abuse took over her life. Which led to some wild and outlandish behavior. She retreated from the spotlight after being photographed in bizarre situations. But today she returns and discusses her career, sobriety, and regrets on the past with Paper Magazine. Before her tailspin, she built a good amount of wealth too as a child star. What is she worth now and how far has she come?
Bynes had a promising career
She procured an agent at the young age of seven and started acting in commercials like Barbie and Nestlé Crunch. Nicholodean then discovered her while she was attending a high profile children’s comedy camp. Bynes appeared on a teen sketch comedy show, All That. Her big break followed: getting her own show on the network. The Amanda Show made Bynes a household name, which helped her transition from the small screen to film.
Bynes went onto appear in movies like Big Fat Liar, What a Girl Wants and She’s the Man. While viewing herself in She’s the Man, Bynes was horrified at her appearance portraying a boy. “When the movie came out and I saw it,” she told Paper Magazine. “I went into a deep depression for 4-6 months because I didn’t like how I looked when I was a boy.”
Life changed for the worst around the time she was making Hairspray. She was already abusing marijuana, but, “Later on it progressed to doing molly and ecstasy,” she says. “[I tried] cocaine three times but I never got high from cocaine. I never liked it. It was never my drug of choice.”
She eventually started to abuse Adderall, which she took in handfuls on a daily basis.
Life falls apart
Amanda Bynes | Neilson Barnard/Getty Images
Bynes drug abuse took over her life. “When I was doing Hall Pass, I remember being in the trailer and I used to chew the Adderall tablets because I thought they made me [more] high [that way],” she says. “I remember chewing on a bunch of them and literally being scatterbrained and not being able to focus on my lines or memorize them for that matter.” She dropped out of the movie because she hated how she looked and could not remember her lines.
But by the time she wrapped Easy A, Bynes was deep in a drug-induced haze. She hated her appearance in the movie. “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.”
Her life unraveled as she continued her drug use and “officially” retired via Twitter. “I just had no purpose in life. I’d been working my whole life and [now] I was doing nothing.” She says, “I had a lot of time on my hands and I would ‘wake and bake’ and literally be stoned all day long.” She also posted shocking tweets while high. “Everything I worked my whole life to achieve, I kind of ruined it all through Twitter.” Bynes says, “it’s definitely not Twitter’s fault — it’s my own fault.”
Recovery and the road back
Bynes’ parents stepped in and today Bynes has been sober for nearly four years. She says drugs can completely change your life. And while everyone is different, the mix she took was completely transformative. “It really made me a completely different person. I actually am a nice person,” she says. “I would never feel, say or do any of the things that I did and said to the people I hurt on Twitter.”
She enrolled in the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising in 2014. And has found a passion for fashion. She is currently worth about $4 million and plans to possibly re-enter acting on her terms. “Kind of the same way I did as a kid, which is with excitement and hope for the best,” she says.
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