Amanda Bynes is back.
The 32-year-old actress sat down for the PAPER‘s annual “Break the Internet” issue, in which she talked about her drug-fueled past.
Recall that the former child star on Nickelodeon went mainstream when she transitioned into movies, starring in hits like Big Fat Liar and What a Girl Wants. Things took a downward turn after her role in 2006’s She’s the Man, in which she dressed in drag.
“When the movie came out and I saw it, I went into a deep depression for 4-6 months because I didn’t like how I looked when I was a boy. I’ve never told anyone that,” she said, adding 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.”
Soon, she became addicted to Adderall, the “new skinny pill,” whose side effects include decreased appetite and weight loss. She said: “They were talking about how women were taking it to stay thin. I was like, ‘Well, I have to get my hands on that.'”
Next, she met with her psychiatrist, faked the symptoms of ADD and got the prescription. By the spring of 2010, the drug began to affect her. “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 [higher that way]. 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 soon realised that she “looked so fat.” Unhappy with her appearance, left the set and never returned. “It was definitely completely unprofessional of me to walk off and leave them stranded when they’d spent so much money on a set and crew and camera equipment and everything.”
Next, she went to an Easy A screening and said she had “a different reaction than everyone else to the movie.”
“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. I was high on marijuana when I saw that but for some reason, it really started to affect me,” said Bynes, who began smoking weed at age 16. “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.”
At 24, she took to Twitter to announce her retirement. “If I was going to retire [the right way], I should’ve done it in a press statement—but I did it on Twitter,” she said now. “Real classy! I was young and stupid.”
Soon, she began experimenting with cocaine and ecstasy. “[I tried] cocaine three times but I never got high from cocaine. I never liked it. It was never my drug of choice. I had a lot of time on my hands and I would ‘wake and bake’ and literally be stoned all day long. I got really into my drug usage, and it became a really dark, sad world for me.”
And in those moments, she would take to Twitter to share outlandish posts. “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 says. “Everything I worked my whole life to achieve, I kind of ruined it all through Twitter…”
Now she has learned from her mistakes.
“My advice to anyone who is struggling with substance abuse would be to be really careful because drugs can really take a hold of your life. Everybody is different, obviously, but for me, the mixture of marijuana and whatever other drugs and sometimes drinking really messed up my brain. It really made me a completely different person. I actually am a nice person. I would never feel, say or do any of the things that I did and said to the people I hurt on Twitter. There are gateway drugs—and thankfully I never did heroin or meth or anything like that—but certain things that you think are harmless, they may actually affect you in a more harmful way,” Bynes warns. “Be really, really careful because you could lose it all and ruin your entire life like I did.”