The Rise and Fall of Amanda Bynes
| LAST UPDATE 11/03/2021
While most teens spent their time with friends, Amanda spent her formative years dominating Hollywood. But her successful career in television and film came with a price, one she is still paying to this day.
Amanda Bynes, Nickelodeon's former princess, was born on April 3rd, 1986 in the northwestern Ventura County city of Thousand Oaks. Amanda was the third and final addition to the happy Bynes family.
Her mom, Lynn Organ, was a dental assistant, and her father, Rick Bynes, was a dentist. Amanda had the early childhood of the average American kid, but when she started reading her older sister's lines for the school play at the age of 3, her parents knew that Amanda was a talented girl. But where would this spark take her?
A Star Was Born
As Amanda grew up, her potential only became even more clear. Everyone that laid their eyes on her saw how much she lit up every room she was in. Her charisma was undeniable, and upon suggestion, Lynn and Rick secured an agent for Amanda at the age of seven.
It was at a kids' comedy camp that the industry first took real notice of Amanda. She was recommended for an audition at one of Nickelodeon's hottest children's programs, All That. Amanda nailed the audition and immediately joined the cast in 1996 at the young age of ten. But how would such a young child handle the fame?
She Dominated All That
It didn't take long for Amanda to dazzle her way to a starring role in the All That ensemble. In the late 90s, Nickelodeon's show was one of the prime jumping points for child actors, and Amanda was making a serious name for herself. In no time at all, she had the lead role in many sketches like Ask Ashley.
Landing a spot on All That was a big accomplishment for Amanda. "It was a dream come true. It was unbelievable for me," she later reflected in Paper Magazine. And her castmates couldn't get enough of her. "Everything came so naturally to her," Drake Bell remembered of their time together. And the success came with the money to match.
What Amanda saw as a "dream come true," came with an income that was bigger than any 10-year-old could comprehend. According to several sources, at the beginning of Amanda's career, she was earning between $2 to $3 Million a year! This was around the same time she was given a whole show under her name.
The show debuted in 1999 and saw Amanda carrying nearly every sketch on her back. Amanda was thrilled about this opportunity and was so overjoyed to be on stage, that she didn't even realize the enormous weight that rested on her shoulders. But Amanda was on the highway to fame - And her next stop was Hollywood.
With two successful shows under her belt before even entering high school, Amanda was scooped up for a co-star role in Big Fat Liar in 2002. Her first taste of film was a hit, and sources reported that the film grossed roughly $53 million worldwide. Amanda became the teen to sign in Hollywood, and many projects came her way.
But the industry wasn't seeing Amanda as a kid anymore, and her roles soon started to reflect that. The 2003 release of What a Girl Wants saw a whole new Amanda, one that had clearly grown up. But was she as happy off the set as she was on? The truth was truly heartbreaking...
Teenage Life as a Celebrity
Amanda didn't get to experience the usual teen-life. Well, she managed to squeeze some things in, in between takes, of course. She had a reported fling with her All That co-star Taran Killam that lasted roughly a year before they went their separate ways. And she celebrated her sweet sixteen by getting her driver's license.
But trips to the mall and school dances were, for the most part, off the table for Amanda. After all, who had time for homecoming games when Hollywood was calling? Bynes swapped slumber parties for red carpet events and seemed happy at the time, but that would soon change.
All Eyes on Amanda
Back then, Amanda was way too consumed by her career to notice her teenage years flying by. By 2004 she had seven Teen Choice Awards and nine other nominations to her name. Bynes was one of the most beloved teenage actresses in the industry and was seen as a role model to millions.
Her golden reputation snagged her a spot on Vanity Fair's iconic 2003 Teen Girls cover. But like many other child stars, the higher Amanda climbed, the further she would have to fall. And just how far would her career catapult her? She would soon find out...
Officially an Adult
Amanda's talents kept the projects - and the cash - coming in. She soon jumped back to television in a leading role in What I Like About You. And though Bynes's character was set at 16 years old at the show's start, the plotline provided some fairly mature content for the impressionable actress.
But adulthood was right around the corner. Amanda rang in her 18th birthday at the Kid's Choice Awards where she took home another win. And though she wasn't clubbing at that age, Amanda had allegedly already begun experimenting with substances that would soon impact her whole life. It was only a matter of time...
"I Went Into a Deep Depression"
In 2006 Amanda had one of her most successful releases to date. She's the Man came out and took Hollywood by storm. The teenage rom-com twist on the Shakespearean play should've been seen as a home run for the experienced actress, but rather than basking in the win, Amanda slipped into a "deep depression."
"I went into a deep depression for 4-6 months because I didn't like how I looked when I was a boy," she admitted during her 2018 interview with Paper Magazine. Her makeup and wardrobe while playing Sebastian messed with her body image. "[It was] a super strange and out-of-body experience. It just really put me into a funk."
Success Wasn't Enough
Amanda managed to push through her struggles and take on another Hollywood project: Hairspray. The 2007 musical comedy let Amanda flex her singing abilities with her star-studded cast, including John Travolta and Chris Walken. "That movie to this day was the most amazing experience I've ever had on a set," Amanda admitted.
And great memories weren't the only thing she was accumulating during her time filming. After Hairspray's release, the production went on to gross a reported $118,871,849 worldwide. And you could imagine that Amanda took a nice chunk of that revenue home. However, money couldn't save Amanda from what loomed in the future.
Unhappy & Unhealthy
By now, Amanda had scored huge roles in both film and television, proving her skills in genres ranging from sketches to musicals. And her reputation as a comedic powerhouse resulted in her role of Marianne Bryant on Easy A, which went on to gross over $75 million.
But by now, Amanda's demons couldn't be kept in the closet any longer. She was struggling and unhappy in her professional and personal life. And with an unhealthy relationship to pills spiraling out of control, Bynes realized that maybe her Hollywood life had become too much.
Slipping Through the Cracks
By 2007, Bynes had a reported net worth of $8 million, but it was all at risk due to her personal troubles. And though she managed to avoid the 2000s tabloid rampage on young actresses, she had a developing dependency on recreational substances that wreaked serious havoc in her life.
Amanda's addiction to Adderall became frightful. And she managed to secure a steady supply by going "to a psychiatrist and faking the symptoms of ADD," she admitted. She later confessed that she "abused" the substance to the point that she couldn't hide the side effects from her co-stars.
"I Made a Bunch of Mistakes"
Her behavior was becoming increasingly erratic and she decided to pull out of her upcoming project, Hall Pass. "[I remember] not being able to focus on my lines," Amanda said of her short time on set. And while rumors circulated that her substance problems got her fired, Amanda had a different story.
"I made a bunch of mistakes but I wasn't fired," Amanda clarified. I did leave… 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." Bynes was on her way out of Hollywood, and her breaking point was coming.
She Was Convinced to Stop Acting
It was at the Easy A screening where Amanda knew enough was enough. She remembered sitting in the theatre while everyone was laughing along with the rom-com, and she couldn't stand her acting. The "different reaction than everyone else to the movie" made it clear that something was off.
"I literally couldn't stand my appearance in that movie and I didn't like my performance," Bynes admitted. "I was absolutely convinced I needed to stop acting after seeing it." Amanda didn't know it at the time, but the substances she was consuming "absolutely changed [her] perception of things."
Announcing Her Retirement
"I saw [Easy A] and I was convinced that I should never be on camera again," Amanda shared. "I officially retired on Twitter, which was, you know, also stupid," she continued. "If I was going to retire [the right way], I should've done it in a press statement — but I did it on Twitter."
Upon reflection, Amanda admitted that she handled her retirement the wrong way, but her mind was fogged by all the substances. "I was just like, 'You know what? I am so over this,' so I just did it," Bynes recalled. "But it was really foolish." Having said goodbye to her acting career, what would come next?
"I Just Had No Purpose in Life"
Amanda had walked away from the life of a millionaire Hollywood actress. And, in what felt like overnight, the film offers dried up. At the age of 24, she found herself with nothing but time on her hands. "I just had no purpose in life," Bynes recalled. "I'd been working my whole life and [now] I was doing nothing."
And before long, Amanda found herself surrounded by a seedy crowd that encouraged her experimentation with substances. She described her days as consumed by being at home, using recreational substances, watching TV, and tweeting. But things would only keep getting worse...
She Was in a Dark Place
With her dependency on substances growing by the day, Amanda's mind was clouded and she felt like she was in a "dark place." And in an effort to express her discontent, Bynes used Twitter as her own personal diary. As her tweets got more erratic, concern grew over the star's wellbeing.
When asked about it years later, Amanda felt "ashamed and embarrassed" over her controversial tweets. Drake, Rihanna, and many other celebrities were all targeted by Bynes's Twitter rampages - which ranged from sexual to aggressive in nature. But unfortunately, Amanda's problems weren't just confined to the web.
During this "dark" time in her life, Amanda found herself in legal trouble for a multitude of charges. In 2012, Bynes was charged with a DUI, which prompted her to tweet at Barack Obama to ask him to personally fire the police officer that arrested her.
After more hit and runs, Amanda got her license revoked by the State of California. She was also charged with reckless endangerment and possession in her apartment in New York City, but the charges were eventually dropped. Amanda felt like the world was out to get her, and she wanted everyone to know that she was innocent.
Amanda Versus... Everyone
And the news of her arrests fueled quite the tabloid buzz. It seemed like everyone had an opinion on her well-being, but Bynes wouldn't hear any of it. "I have no clue [why people say I'm insane]," she told InTouch. "Every time I've heard it, it came from an ugly person's mouth, so I don't care."
The paparazzi targeted her relentlessly, and as the negative press ramped up, Amanda threatened to take legal action. Bynes's targets included Us Weekly and Perez Hilton, but amongst fellow celebrities, serious concerns were mounting. "Enough of this circus," Jenny McCarthy tweeted in 2013. "[Amanda] needs help."
Her Mental Health Was Spiraling
In July of 2013, Amanda Bynes was seized by Ventura County Sheriffs after she was found starting a fire in the residential area that she grew up in, Thousand Oaks, California. The episode resulted in Amanda being held in a 72-hour mandatory psych hold for further assessment and monitoring.
From the examinations, it was determined that Amanda was suffering from bipolar disorder. And it was at this time that Amanda's parents first tried to gain legal control over their daughter. It was clear that Bynes was struggling, but would the diagnosis allow her to get the help that she needed?
Things Only Got Worse
The details of the early days of Amanda's medical journey were unclear, but in the meantime, the retired actress continued to vent her inner thoughts to her followers on Twitter. And the tweets were from erratic to accusatory in the autumn of 2014. Who was she writing about this time?
In a series of rapid tweets, Amanda accused her father, Rick Bynes of abuse throughout her childhood. But in no time at all, Amanda retracted the statement. "My dad never did any of those things," Bynes clarified. "The microchip in my brain made me say those things but he’s the one that ordered them to microchip me."
Her Parents Stepped In
In a matter of four years, Amanda had stepped away from a million-dollar career in Hollywood, been arrested on multiple occasions, and had been diagnosed with bipolar disorder. Her parents had already tried to secure legal control over their youngest daughter back in 2013 and decided to try again in 2014.
The second request for conservatorship was granted but on a temporary basis. The legal arrangement was meant to extend for six years, giving Amanda time to focus on her mental health and well-being. It was at this time that Bynes began exploring new career options. Would this new chapter help turn things around?
Amanda Went to School
Amanda enrolled at the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising in Irving, California. She successfully obtained her Associate's Degree in Merchandise and Product Development. With a newfound passion in the world of fashion and design, could Amanda get a fresh start?
Amanda's time at FIDM coincided with her journey of sobriety. And according to the president of the institute, Toni Hohberb, many could see that Amanda wanted to get better. "She wanted to get well," Hohberg assured. "She's tasted the worst of the world and she's come through it." But was this the end of all the struggles?
The Troubles Weren't Over
Despite the positive strides Amanda was making over at FIDM, her personal demons continued to haunt her. Throughout this period, Bynes's followers on Twitter were taken on a ride, as her sporadic tweet rampages continued without a filter. Some posts were deleted, some remained, but concerns over her mental health persisted.
On multiple occasions, Amanda would follow up on her Twitter storms by telling her supporters that she had been hacked. This excuse became less and less believable to her followers, as Amanda's account continued to tweet about fellow celebrities and family members.
Trying to Turn Her Life Around
Despite the Twitter rampages, Amanda continued to strive her a more balanced life. She continued studying at FIDM and went on to earn a Bachelor's Degree from the prestigious institution. Fans were waiting to see what laid in store for her, either in the fashion world or in acting.
But Amanda's number one priority was sobriety and mental health. And though she teased the idea of returning to Hollywood, the stressors of acting proved too much - and even resulted in a relapse for the retired actress. However, a return to sobriety support groups would bring a special someone into her life.
"This Is Paul, My Fiancé,"
Amanda met Paul and sparks immediately flew. And it wasn't long until wedding bells were ringing. Bynes took to Instagram to announce the pair's engagement in February 2020. "I'm so lucky," Amanda shared with her followers while sharing the special news.
"Hey, everyone, this is Paul, my fiancé," Bynes said. "He’s also the best person on the face of the Earth." But the pair's relationship wasn't so simple. The engagement was called off shortly after, however, Amanda and Paul remained together. Could the conservatorship be blocking their wedding?
A Baby on the Way?
Questions would keep circulating surrounding the pair's romance. And curiosity only grew when Amanda took to Instagram to share a picture of a sonogram. "Baby on board," the retired Hollywood star captioned the photo. Paul also shared in the excitement, sharing the same picture under the caption "baby in the making."
Fans sent warm wishes and congratulations to the expecting couple, but the celebrations wouldn't last long. On May 4th, Amanda's lawyer, David Esquibias spoke to E! News to set the record straight. "Amanda is not pregnant," he said definitively. "And she is sheltering in a safe location." Was this another bipolar episode?
Esquibias continued explaining his perspective of the situation. "She is seeking treatment for ongoing mental health issues," he stated. "We ask for privacy during this time, and for any speculation about her personal life from the public and the media to cease so Amanda can focus on getting better."
However, in Amanda's eyes, her legal situation was obstructing her from getting the help that she needed. "This is what life has come to," Bynes shared in the video, where she outlined the $5,200 monthly medical expenses as a result of the conservatorship. "This is why I've asked to see the judge regarding this [issue]."
Many fans of the 35-year-old former actress have noticed overwhelming radio silence over the past year. There have been some suspected private Instagram accounts that have been connected with Bynes, but for the most part, it's unclear if she has an active account.
But even with limited contact with fans, supporters of Amanda have been developing theories of their own. One explanation pinned blame on the former Nickelodeon mogul, Dan Schneider. In a locked Twitter account rumored to belong to Bynes, a tweet compared Schneider to Harvey Weinstein.
The Truth About @PersianLA27
For loyal Bynes fans or curious conspiracy theorists, the Twitter account rumored to belong to the retired actress has been a hot spot for gossip and rumors. The account has been suspected of being a hoax, but it offered worrisome theories about Bynes.
@PersianLA27 goes by the name Amanda Banks, a rumored reference to Ask Ashley, one of the old segments from Amanda's Nickelodeon days. The tweets coming from the account often went back and forth, sometimes denying relation to Amanda, sometimes bashing the actress, and even cries for help.
Amanda Versus Ashley
"I am not @persianla27. I am not getting married and I am not pregnant. I don't understand why twitter won't take @persianla27 down," read a tweet from Amanda Byne's official account. But the rumored account struck back and claimed that the account under Amanda's name was being run by her controlling parents.
“It is ME! Authentic. Often imitated but never duplicated! I refuse to be silenced. My friends know how to reach me! Xoxo,” @PersianLa27 wrote back in defense. It was hard to tell what was fact and what was fake, as Amanda herself had struggled to keep her story straight over the years. But what did Twitter have to say?
Twitter Took Notice
Many people watching the social media meltdown take place wondered why there wasn't a way to verify the authenticity of Amanda's rumored account, @persianla27. Surely Twitter would have a way to vouch for it - after all, imitating a celebrity is no small ordeal...
Page Six reached out to the social media platform and got referred back to their impersonation policy. "Impersonation is a violation of the Twitter Rules," the document read. "Twitter accounts portraying another person in a confusing or deceptive manner may be permanently suspended under the Twitter impersonation policy."
What More Could Be Done?
Despite the general policy, Twitter couldn't take action on this specific issue. "Unfortunately, we don’t comment on individual accounts, for privacy and security reasons," the platform representative told Page Six. It seemed like there was no way to handle the controversial account.
The @AmandaBynes account has maintained since day one that this is one big hoax. Especially after the supposed imposter reached out to fans asking for money. But some loyal Bynes fans couldn't help but connect the dots to Amanda's video where she expressed her financial concerns. Could there be a connection?
Some People Believe Ashley Banks
Just looking at the facts, there were some elements of @persianla27's account that made a pretty convincing argument. For example, back in 2017, the account posted a picture of Amanda's California Driver's License. How could a fake Twitter account possibly have access to that kind of information?
And even more, the account posted a picture of Amanda at the hospital with a caption that lined up with the pregnancy rumors. "At the gynos office with Matt to see if I am indeed pregnant!" the tweet read. "The home test says I am but I need a 2nd opinion!!" Many truly believed the account.
"Rooting for you"
Despite the drama unfolding on Twitter, there were celebs that grew up with Amanda that were sending warm wishes her way. One of those Hollywood pals was Hilarie Burton, one of the stars from One Tree Hill. The young actress spent her teen years on television and "rooting" for Bynes.
"I am so here for this!" Burton tweeted. "I loved Amanda Bynes when we were both on the WB." The sentimental post was in honor of Amanda's Paper Magazine article, back when a return to Hollywood was on the table. The sweet message game with a sentimental throwback to 2004.
Nick Cannon Wrote Amanda a Letter
And Hilarie wasn't the only one rooting for her fellow teen icon, Nick Cannon also had a lot to say on the matter. Cannon, who also appeared in the 1990s hit show, All That, grew up around Amanda and had grown to respect his fellow cast member from a young age. He published a letter to her on his site.
"I genuinely feel [that Bynes] is one of the most pleasant human beings I have had the pleasure of meeting," the comedian wrote. He related to the troubles of fame that Amanda experienced, adding "One must know how to navigate through the matrix or you may find yourself in a very dark hole."
The Many Ups and Downs
It wouldn't be the last time that Nick Cannon would show up for his "little sis." And though over the years Amanda dipped in and out of the public eye, her former co-star made it clear that there was nothing but love for Bynes. And when Amanda appeared on Hollyscoop, she had her own thoughts on Nick to share.
As far as Amanda was concerned, the love went both ways. She considered her All That cast-mate "family" and appreciated all the support he's given over the years. After all, Amanda had been on quite the rollercoaster and appreciated the loyalty he showed time after time.
What the Future Holds
Unfortunately for many fans, Amanda's future remains unclear. With no official avenues of communication, Bynes hasn't been able to update her devoted supporters on her relationship or well-being. The nature of her conservatorship also remains up in the air. But where does that leave Amanda financially?
Well, based on her past messages, Amanda doesn't have access to her life's earnings. And according to Celebrity Net Worth, that stands today at $3 million. But whether Amanda chooses a career in the spotlight or a quiet suburban life, we're wishing her all the best!
Can Amanda Fight Her Conservatorship?
The legal bounds of a conservatorship have certainly been making headlines in recent months as Britney Spears makes her case in the Los Angeles courts. But what similarities lie between her case and Amanda's? And are there any steps available for Bynes to take to end her parents' control over her finances?
According to the Government of California, "A conservatorship of the person or estate may terminate by operation of law or may be terminated by court order if the court determines that it is no longer required." So, just like Britney, it means that Amanda would have to fight her case to see this agreement come to an end.
Since the age of 10 years old, Amanda hasn't really known a life outside of the public eye. And while she's successfully avoided paparazzi harassment in recent years, her radio silence has left some loyal fans worrying about her overall health and happiness. But what's in store for this former Hollywood princess?
Most recent statements from Amanda's legal reps have stressed that the 35-year-old's number one concern is her mental health. And we couldn't agree more. Whether Amanda takes Hollywood by storm once more, or she opts for a humble life, we're wishing nothing but the best!