What Really Happened to Amanda Bynes? This Is How Hollywood Ruined Her Life

Former child star Amanda Bynes recently had fans very worried about her. After reports that the troubled actor was healthy and thriving, the 35-year-old posted a photo of herself sporting a crooked heart tattoo in the middle of her face. Though they weren’t totally sure it was real, the unlikely ink made people wonder if Bynes was all right.

They had every reason for concern. Over the years, Bynes has faced legal trouble plus spent time recovering in a mental health facility. Fans are always looking out to make sure Bynes isn’t falling into old patterns.

But what exactly happened in Bynes’ life, and was her acting career to blame? It turns out her rise to stardom may have had devastating consequences.

Amanda Bynes found success early in life

Amanda Bynes
Amanda Bynes | Chris Polk/FilmMagic

Like so many child stars, Bynes made the transition from commercials to television while she was still young. Born on April 3, 1986, Bynes showed an early aptitude for comedic timing. Audiences loved watching her bubbly, effusive personality onscreen. This quickly translated into getting roles in shows such as the children’s sketch comedy All That and The Amanda Show.

Bynes started her big-screen career as a teen with roles in What a Girl Wants, Hairspray, and Easy A. As she got older, Bynes started evolving her image and began to emerge as a sex symbol when she posed on the cover of Maxim in 2010. But soon after that is when all the trouble started.

Amanda Bynes began a downward spiral in 2012

Amanda Bynes
Amanda Bynes | Josiah Kamau/BuzzFoto via Getty Images

It all started when Bynes was arrested for hitting a police officer’s car in the spring of 2012. Multiple news sources reported that she’d been driving under the influence at the time, which her father later denied.

Later, Bynes was caught driving without a license on multiple occasions and was involved in two other hit-and-run accidents. In May 2013, she was arrested for smoking marijuana in the lobby of her apartment building and allegedly dropping a bong out the window.

A few months later, the trouble culminated with Bynes allegedly setting a fire in a residential driveway in Thousand Oaks, California. She entered a psychiatric facility for evaluation after the event and her parents were granted temporary guardianship.

What happened to make Amanda Bynes get in trouble with the law?

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Amanda Bynes | Jason Merritt/Getty Images

All these incidents seemed shocking to fans, who always saw Bynes as a sweet and innocent Nickelodeon star. But there were clues all along that she might rebel against the same people who made her famous.

As Nicki Swift reported, she was frustrated that she couldn’t fully transition from the innocent roles of youth into being taken seriously as an actor. “I’d love to do something that would shock people, something that’s against type. … I feel like people don’t know yet what I can really do,” she told Cosmopolitan in a 2008 interview.

That’s what makes it even less surprising that she officially retired from acting in 2008. “Being an actress isn’t as fun as it may seem,” she told People at the time, reports Nicki Swift. “I know 24 is a young age to retire … I’ve never written the movies and TV shows I’ve been a part of. I’ve only acted like the characters the producers or directors wanted me to play.”

Negative media coverage didn’t help

Amanda Bynes
Amanda Bynes | Astrid Stawiarz/Getty Images for NYLON

Why Did Amanda Bynes Retire From Acting?

During Bynes’ downward spiral, multiple news outlets started covering the stories and painting Bynes in a negative light. Instead of being sympathetic to her mental health, news outlets began running damaging photos and derogatory stories that Bynes must have seen and taken to heart.

And her own social media access didn’t help. During times of stress, Bynes went on frequent Twitter tirades against her peers. “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,” Bynes said later during an interview with Paper.

“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.”

She experimented with drugs

But it wasn’t just negative attention and lack of serious roles causing Bynes stress. She also admitted that drugs and alcohol caused a lot of drama in her life.

Bynes admitted that she started using marijuana as a teen and eventually moved on to harder drugs. On the set of the 2010 comedy Hall Pass, she said she was chewing on Adderall tablets to get high, which made her unable to remember her lines.

Her behavior on set was so out of character that Bynes wound up either getting fired or quitting the movie (it’s unclear which).

Things have been mostly quiet ever since Bynes received treatment and officially quit the Hollywood scene. But her increasingly strange social media posts have some fans wondering if things are still going well for the former actor.