Beginning as a child actor often creates a life that is riddled with the highest of highs and the lowest of lows … just ask Amanda Bynes. The star was embroiled in legal troubles at the height of her career, and Amanda started to crumble under the pressure of fame.
Amanda’s in-the-spotlight journey began when she stole scenes left and right while studying at the iconic Comedy Store in Hollywood as a youngster. She landed an agent, a manager and then Nickelodeon called—launching her stardom with a number of hit shows on the youth-centric cable network.
As a child actor, Amanda had the most chaotic of schedules. At one point, she had three shows airing on Nick! Then, movie studios came a-calling. She had a string of hits that found each making more money at the box office than the previous. She was on top of the world. Then … it all started to collapse.
Her behavior got weirder, often using social media to spotlight her feelings on a number of strange topics worrying fans. Then, there were the entanglements with the law.
Now, it appears that the former child actress is poised for a serious comeback after an in-depth interview in Paper Magazine. Read on for the most in-depth look at the complete Amanda Bynes breakdown to comeback!
Amanda was seven when she started taking comedy classes for kids at the famed Comedy Store in Hollywood. Among the famous folks who taught her classes—Arsenio Hall and Richard Pryor. That was where she was discovered after just two years of classes.
1996-2000: A Star Is Born
The kiddie sketch comedy series All That found Amanda making her big debut on TV, reaching hundreds of millions of people. In 1996, Amanda was hired to join the cast, and in the 3rd season, she broke big playing a variety of characters in what some have described as SNL for kids. She was adorable. She was talented. It firmly put her on the pop culture map. The Nickelodeon program truly “made” her.
1997-1999: Busy Little Girl
Amanda was also asked to join the kid-centric game show Figure It Out in 1997 and appeared on the show as a panelist in over 52 episodes—while still filming All That.
1999-2002: Amanda Scores Her Own Show
Amanda was given her own show on the Nickelodeon family of channels in 1999 that aired on the Nick Teen network. The Amanda Show further pushed Amanda into the spotlight as she scored three straight Nickelodeon Kids Choice Awards for Favorite TV Actress. The Amanda Show also served as the locale where she would meet her first boyfriend, Taran Killam, (who went on to become a regular on SNL).
2002: Hit The Big Screen
Amanda truly made it to the big time when she leapt to the silver screen alongside another TV child actor, Malcolm in the Middle’s Frankie Muniz. The pair starred in Big Fat Liar, which went on to score an impressive box office haul of $48 million. Amanda was now a movie star.
2002-2006: Another Show, Another Hit
The young actress made a huge mark when she moved from the Nick world to the major networks (yes, the WB was a major network then!) with her appearance opposite Jennie Garth in the 4 season run of What I Like About You.
2003: What A Girl Wants Is Yet Another Hit
What a Girl Wants firmly put Amanda on the Hollywood A-list as the comedy featured her starring opposite cinematic heavyweight and future Oscar winner Colin Firth. The film’s box office surpassed her first film with its $50.7 million.
2006: Amanda Is The Man!
She’s the Man landed in 2006 and sent Amanda into the stratosphere. The film also introduced the world to Channing Tatum. The comedy found the starlet dressing as a boy so that she could play soccer at her school. It struck a chord with audiences and some say it was ahead of its time speaking to the societal disadvantages for women. For most, it was simply a fun, comedic joyride that one could argue found Amanda in her Hollywood prime.
2007: A Song & Dance Doozy
Hairspray was a cult hit movie from offbeat director John Waters that became a sensation when it was elevated to a film musical in 2007. Amanda sang for her supper in the supporting role as the innocent and wide-eyed Penny Lou Pingleton. The flick was a bona fide blockbuster, scoring $118 million at the American box office. It also featured Amanda starring alongside some of Hollywood’s biggest names including John Travolta, Michelle Pfeiffer, Queen Latifah, Allison Janney and (sigh) Zac Efron.
2007: A Fashion Fail
Attempting to capitalize on her fame and infuse her love of fashion, Amanda launched a geared-at-teens clothing line in 2007. Dear by Amanda Bynes partnered with retailers Steve & Barry’s. Many have argued that when the store went under and her line was dissolved that this was the beginning of the downward spiral for the star.
2010: Take It Easy
While tackling a supporting role in Easy A, Amanda had a front row seat to the breakthrough role for future Oscar winner Emma Stone. Portraying the ultra-religious Marianne Bryant, Amanda's role was integral to the storyline. Emma’s main character goes through a metamorphosis from average teen to alleged class hussy. Amanda and Emma made sweet comedic music in the instant classic.
March 2012: Trouble Time
Amanda was pulled over for driving while talking on a cell phone—an act that had only recently been made illegal in California. Know what Amanda did? After being pulled over, she allegedly sped away before the officer returned with the ticket! She cooled off and later went to the local police station to accept her infraction. Needless to say, this moment would serve as another spoke in the wheel that was her downward turn. Not the most shocking celebrity arrests but it was the beginning of the descent for Amanda.
April 2012: DUI Derails Career
The young actress was arrested for a DUI in West Hollywood in the most notorious of ways. She attempted to swerve around a police car and wound up sideswiping the officer’s vehicle. Amanda was pulled over immediately. They discovered that she was drunk—too drunk to drive. Amanda wound up spending the night in jail before being released the next morning. That squeaky-clean image was quickly departing … but it would get worse.
May 2012: Run Amanda, Run!
Hit and runs are no joke, and police take that charge seriously. Amanda learned this when she left the scene of an accident and was charged with misdemeanor counts for a hit and run. The slowly fading star was also driving without a license. After a long discussion with the cops about the incident, she was let go and allowed to go home. The charges were later dropped by a judge when Amanda agreed to a civil arrangement with the plaintiffs.
February 2013: Social Media Meltdown
Taking to Twitter Amanda shocked her massive following when she appeared to be utterly wasted in a blonde wig. That’s no big deal, really. But further tweets of note included calling Jay-Z, “ugly face.” Her eyes were bloodshot and her general demeanor appeared slightly off-kilter. Fans were immediately concerned.
March 2013: Murdering Privates?
Her tweet to music star Drake made national headlines and had many questioning “what on earth is going on with Amanda Bynes?” What was the big deal? Well, she had asked Drake to “murder her vagina.” Umm …
April 2013: Piercings, Plastic Surgery & More …
Amanda had slowly but surely been evading and eluding the spotlight for the better part of three years at this point. She had gotten her cheeks pierced, her appearance appeared altered (plastic surgery?) and she took to Twitter to tell the world that pictures of her walking around in Manhattan were not her—even though the person had the same facial piercings as her and wore clothes that she had previously been spotted in. It kept getting more bizarre. She closed out the month by going on social media to show the world that she shaved her hair off. Like, all of it. Amanda seemed to be mirroring that Britney Spears meltdown at this point, right? That’s got to be a required stage of a celebrity meltdown, shaving one’s head!
May 2013: Gone To Pot With Bloody Feet?
In Touch published photos of Amanda smoking pot, which was alarming for those worried about her mental well-being. But another aspect of the photos truly raised eyebrows … her feet were bloody! She denied that the images were her, stating on Twitter, “My toes are pedicured.” She mentioned nothing about the marijuana.
May 2013: On Twitter Nearly Nude
Amanda set off more alarms when she posted a few nearly-naked shots of herself on Twitter. Definitely a different image to that child actor the world once knew. Hey, everyone grows up, but when a nearly nude photo arrives after a long list of problematic issues, eyebrows were raised.
May 2013: Amanda In Court
Responding to some of those arrests, Amanda showed up in a Burbank court and pleaded “no contest” to driving with a suspended license and was ordered to complete three years of probation. Going from child star to someone with a record only took seven short years.
May 2013: Bong Tossing
In the early days of summer 2013, Amanda was taken into custody in New York City and arrested for marijuana possession, reckless endangerment and tampering with evidence. Recall why? She threw a bong out the window when police entered her apartment. Imagine getting hit in the head by that sucker? Amanda was taken to a psychiatric hospital because the arresting officers questioned her behavior and believed she needed help, plus she appeared to be on Adderall. Making matters worse, she took to Twitter and informed the world that she is “allergic to marijuana and alcohol.” She also announced that she was planning on getting a nose job and becoming a rapper.
June 2013: Feelin’ The Blues
Clearly Amanda failed to listen to her attorney's instructions to dress up for court to impress the judge. Instead, the actress showed up for a hearing on those bong-out-the-window charges in a blue wig.
July 2013: Firestarter
Another month so another issue with the law for Amanda. She was arrested for using a container filled with gas to start a fire in a neighbor’s driveway. Sadly, Amanda accidentally burned her dog during the incident. The pup was OK, but the master was not. Amanda was put on a 5150-involuntary psych hold. It would be extended for an additional 30 days before she was released to the care of her parents. A Britney-like conservatorship over Amanda’s affairs was also established. It may have saved her life.
Late 2013: All Quiet on the Amanda Front
Finally, the former star took a breather and withdrew completely from the public eye. She would not resurface for four-plus years, taking the time to get herself right. Looks like—just like Britney—that conservatorship helped her turn the corner.
June 2017: The Metamorphosis Begins
Amanda sat down with Hollyscoop’s, Diana Madison, on June 9, 2017—her first interview in four years. It wasn’t the longest chat yet informative just the same. She talked a bit about her past, but the headline here is how good she looked. She appeared healthy, happy and generally mirrored the girl that America first fell in love with almost 20 years before.
2018: Cue The Comeback
Amanda did her first full magazine interview in years with the December issue of Paper Magazine. From all accounts, it appeared that the talented star was doing well and ready for a major comeback. She is sober and blames years of bizarre behavior on drugs (such as marijuana and Adderall). Amanda also apologized to anyone she may have hurt in the article. She also admitted that seeing herself on screen did nothing to help her deteriorating body image. It sent her into a spiral of depression where she used drugs and alcohol to numb the pain. “I’m really ashamed and embarrassed with the things I said. I can’t turn back time but if I could, I would. And I’m so sorry to whoever I hurt and whoever I lied about because it truly eats away at me. It makes me feel so horrible and sick to my stomach and sad,” she told the mag. “Everything I worked my whole life to achieve, I kind of ruined it all through Twitter. It’s definitely not Twitter’s fault—it’s my own fault.”