How Hollywood Broke Amanda Bynes

Amanda Bynes was a breakout star of Nickelodeon's All That in 1996, branching out with her own comedy program, The Amanda Show, in 1999. Then she became a full-fledged star outside of just the tween set with the sitcom What I Like About You from 2002 to 2006, as well as movies like 2003's What A Girl Wants, 2006's She's The Man, 2007's Sydney White and Hairspray, 2010's Easy A.

Talented and beautiful, Bynes was the rare scandal-free former child star. Then... something changed.

Bynes faced legal troubles over the years, including an arrest for DUI in 2012, until she was finally hospitalized in a 5150 psychiatric hold in 2013, after she set a fire in a woman's driveway, as reported by TMZ. Unfortunately, her problems continued with the actress taking to social media to allege that her father molested her (and then taking it back). She later revealed that she'd been diagnosed as bipolar and manic depressive, was receiving treatment, and was under a conservatorship (via E! News).

Thankfully, in 2016, People reported that Bynes was healthy and doing well. In late 2018, Paper reported that she's succeeding in her fashion design education and wants to return to acting.

It's nearly impossible to determine how much Hollywood played a role in her downfall — but now that she seems to be on the up and up again, here's hoping she stays on the right track, because there's nothing Hollywood loves more than a great comeback story.

She wasn't getting roles she wanted

Amanda Bynes was frustrated with her ability (or lack thereof) to get roles she desired in Hollywood when she was trying to transition to more adult work from her teen romcom days, and she was sick of getting typecast as the straight-laced teenage girl while her peers got edgier work. She told Cosmopolitan in 2008, "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."

An executive who was present for one of Bynes' past meetings with an agency told The Hollywood Reporter, "Everybody had her as a goody-goody. She couldn't break out of that genre," adding, "Her frustration was, 'I could have played this role; I could have played that role. I'm not getting the Lindsay Lohan roles.'"

Bynes announced her retirement from acting at age 24 in 2010, tweeting (via People), "Being an actress isn't as fun as it may seem." She continued, "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."

Bynes later recanted her statement.

She may have been surrounded by enablers

Part of Amanda Bynes' Hollywood breakdown could be attributed to difficulties transitioning from a child to an adult— not just on screen but also in life. Industry insiders told The Hollywood Reporter that child stars' parents play a huge role but that the stars' teams — their managers, agents, and publicists — are also at least somewhat liable for their clients' behavior and transition to being responsible grown-ups. This is especially integral when it appears that the star may not be adjusting well and is behaving badly, self-medicating, or abusing substances.

A talent agent explained to THR, "When you get involved, you have to be ready for the repercussions," noting, "There is a moral bridge you get to: What's more important, the representation of a client or the health and welfare of a human being?"

Former child star Alison Arngrim wrote in an essay for The Hollywood Reporter that often a star's team can be the biggest set of enablers possible. Still, sources told The Daily Beast that Bynes' agents at CAA attempted to help her, but she declined.

She may have fallen prey to dangerous company

One such enabler may have been a professional. When Amanda Bynes was at her lowest, she had company: Sam Lutfi, the same man whom Britney Spears' parents accused of exploiting the singer during her own breakdown in 2007 (via ABC News). The Daily Mail reported that Bynes complained that Lutfi actually helped get her into a psychiatric hold at her parents' insistence, and it would have been great if he'd left his interactions with her at that ... but he later wrote an essay for xoJane (via The New York Daily News), making her's, Spears', and Courtney Love's troubles about himself.

After Bynes' parents got a conservatorship over the actress, they dropped Lufti like a hot potato. A source told Radar Online, "It became very obvious to Rick and Lynn that Sam was using Amanda to gain some type of legitimacy with the media as a Hollywood power player." The insider added, "They are thankful that Sam helped get Amanda back to Los Angeles from New York, but it ends there. The last person Amanda needs in her life is that guy."

Hall Pass put her in Hollywood detention

When Amanda Bynes was filming Hall Pass in early 2010, a source told The Hollywood Reporter that she revealed she'd been going through a tough breakup, likely from rapper Kid Cudi, to whom she was linked at the time. On the first day of filming, the source said Bynes hadn't memorized her lines and lacked chemistry with the other cast members of the Farrelly brothers' raunchy romp. The insider claimed that Bynes' behavior was out of character and came "out of nowhere."

Meanwhile, a source told The Daily Beast that Bynes seemed paranoid and erratic while filming the movie. The Farrellys allegedly wanted her to stay on board for the film, but her behavior reportedly made it impossible, leading her to be fired or to quit (depending on who you ask). The directors even reportedly filmed her acting out to use as proof in case her team tried to sue over her exit.

The media went on the attack

While the media is more sympathetic in 2018 about mental illness, during the height of Amanda Bynes' breakdown, much of the coverage was unkind and mocking, and she was often referred to as "crazy" in recaps of everything from her legal troubles to her Twitter activity (via Complex).

Her real-life actions were clearly those of someone who wasn't well: Celebuzz reported she locked herself in a cupcake shop bathroom for so long that staff and patrons (including an off-duty firefighter) had to check in on her for fear that she may have been unconscious, TMZ reported that she spent almost two hours in a dressing room and made banging noises periodically, and People reported she threatened to kill her own parents.

In addition to endless reports on Bynes' behavior, she was also photographed nonstop, often by exceedingly aggressive paparazzi. One photographer told Rolling Stone that he made upwards of $85,000 on exclusive photos of the then-troubled starlet, and there's video footage of some paparazzi harassing and sometimes even physically touching her — which is horrifying.

Chances are, had she and her family been given privacy, she may have recovered sooner.

Her self-esteem was shattered

Amanda Bynes confessed to Paper magazine that, despite being a beautiful golden child of Hollywood before her breakdown, she was incredibly insecure about her appearance, especially after filming 2006's She's The Man.

"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," she said, adding that seeing herself with short hair and sideburns was a "super strange and out-of-body experience." She added, "It just really put me into a funk."

It wasn't just seeing herself made up as a boy that bothered her — the pressures to be thin and perfect in Hollywood influenced her when she acted in other roles as well, including 2011's Hall Pass. She admitted that 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.'"

Drugs were too easily accessible

Amanda Bynes admitted that it wasn't just insecurity about her looks that contributed to her untimely exit from Hall Pass — it was also substance abuse that contributed to her bad behavior.

The actress shared with Paper that she'd been smoking marijuana since she was 16 years old and had tried cocaine a few times (but says it never took). It was when she tried Adderall, she told the magazine, that her life began to get out of control.

"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 [more] high [that way]," she confessed. "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 noted, "I made a bunch of mistakes but I wasn't fired. 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 said being high while watching 2010's Easy A also did a number on her mental health and that her habits worsened once she stopped acting.

She said she began "hanging out with a seedier crowd and I isolated a lot ... I got really into my drug usage and it became a really dark, sad world for me."

She couldn't stop herself from tweeting

When the world obsessed over Amanda Bynes' social media activity, it did a number on her reputation, and, to this day, she's humiliated by the things she said on Twitter when she was on drugs, including a particularly crude remark about Drake and hurtful comments about Chris Brown's assault of Rihanna.

"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 told 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."

Of course, it's only Bynes' fault that she tweeted such things, but having her tweets receive so much attention in the media likely didn't help with her recovery, and it may be why she's working so hard to be taken seriously now.