For the past five years, Amanda Bynes has been quiet. Her Twitter has been barren except for the occasional tweeted-and-deleted selfie. In fact, her most recent media appearance occurred in 2017, when she was briefly interviewed by Diana Madison, and revealed that her infamous tweet about wanting Drake to "murder" her vagina was the result of drugs — but there's so much more to the story.
After all, it wasn't just her tweet about Drake that turned heads back in 2013. The star prompted whispers over Hollywood due to erratic behavior on set, drug use, and a DUI. Now, in a profile for Paper Magazine's "Break The Internet," the star had more than a video clip's worth of time to explain where she's been over the years, breaking down exactly why she left the public eye, and why she's ready to come back.
"I started smoking marijuana when I was 16," she told the outlet, which falls squarely into the star's transition from Nickelodeon darling to sitcom teen, before she jumped into movies like What A Girl Wants, She's The Man, and Hairspray. Even before 2010, when an incident on the set of Hall Pass prompted rumors of a breakdown, the star was struggling.
Smoking weed lead to abusing Adderall, and much of Bynes' subsequent issues stemmed from both drugs and body image. After She's The Man, the actress "went into a deep depression for 4-6 months because I didn't like how I looked when I was a boy."
While filming Hall Pass, Bynes said she chewed so much Adderall that she wasn't able to memorize her lines, and she "remembers seeing my image on the screen and literally tripping out and thinking my arm looked so fat because it was in the foreground or whatever and I remember rushing off set and thinking, Oh my god, I look so bad." These two factors prompted her to subsequently pull out of the film.
Bynes said her true partying began when she was around 25-years-old, which coincided with her decision to quit acting altogether after attending the premiere of Easy A, which she starred in alongside Emma Stone.
"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 said.
She announced the decision on Twitter, where she continued to spout her thoughts while getting "really into my drug usage." These tweets included saying she would rather her parents be homeless than live off her money and that "Barack Obama and Michelle Obama are ugly!"
"I'm really ashamed and embarrassed with the things I said. I can't turn back time but if I could, I would," Bynes told Paper. "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. 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."
Despite past tweets about her family, Bynes credits her parents with her recovery. She has been sober for almost four years, and is currently studying at FIDM in California, where assistant dean of admissions Kathi Gilbert says she is "an amazing student."
Bynes does want to return to acting, and is excited for the future.
I've been through the worst and came out the other end and survived it," she said. "So I just feel like it's only up from here."
If you are struggling with substance abuse, please call the SAMHSA National Helpline at 1-800-662-4357 for free and confidential information.