Why Amanda Bynes' face tattoo is a big deal

It's The Amanda Show all over again, folks! Former Nickelodeon star Amanda Bynes is making headlines, thanks to a surprising Instagram post. On Dec. 30, 2019, she debuted a selfie that features what appears to be a face tattoo. The curious ink — we'll take a closer look at it in a minute — seemed to come out of left field. That's because the actress – who has publicly suffered a string of setbacks concerning her mental health and substance abuse — tends to keep a low-profile these days. When she shared the selfie of what may or may not be permanent ink on her cheek, the internet took notice. Making matters even more mysterious? The Easy A star provided nothing but an alien emoji as a caption for the post. 

At this point, you may be wondering why a former child star maybe getting a new tattoo is making national news. Fair question. Here's why Amanda Bynes' new facial art is a big deal.

Amanda Bynes' new look shocked the internet

Here it is, folks. Amanda Bynes' headline-making selfie, starring what looks like a tattoo of a ... hmm... what is it? It looks like a simply drawn heart, perhaps one she doodled herself and later decided to make permanent? The jury is out on whether this inky addition is actually permanent. What is clear: Many of her followers are confused and concerned. 

"Is Amanda Bynes okay?" one person tweeted. "I ask because she got a messed up heart tattoo on her face and that's usually the first cry for help." Another follower tweeted: "I love Amanda Bynes, I really hope she didn't ruin her beautiful face with this tattoo."

Though Bynes has established a history of erratic behavior, this tattoo fiasco does deviate from her typical posting pattern on Instagram. Consider this: After launching "@amandabynesreal" in September 2019, the What I Like About You alum has shared a total of only 11 posts to date. After posting throughout the bulk of September 2019, she went dark on the platform until Dec. 3, 2019. She reemerged at that time with a selfie featuring blue hair and the caption: "Geisha girl vibes." After that, she shared nothing ... until now.

Some might argue that it's completely normal to go through social media phases, but given Bynes' complicated history, we're not so sure...

Amanda Bynes has been through a lot

Amanda Bynes endured a rough period in her life between 2012 and 2014. We'll spare you the details but to summarize: She was arrested twice for DUI, allegedly started a fire in a woman's driveway, and accused her father of molesting her, then recanted her story and blamed the whole thing on a microchip that she said he ordered to be implanted into her brain. The driveway situation, which went down in July 2013, reportedly prompted Bynes to be hospitalized for a mental evaluation. 

In 2014, Bynes' parents were granted temporary conservatorship over their daughter's affairs. According to TMZ, they claimed their daughter was spending "alarming amounts" of money on jewelry for strangers. The Blast reported that the conservatorship was extended until at least August 2020. 

Also in 2014, the actress tweeted that she was diagnosed as "bipolar and manic depressive," per E! News. Bynes has also attributed some of her problems to smoking marijuana and abusing Adderall. Another sore spot: Twitter. "Everything I worked my whole life to achieve, I kind of ruined it all through Twitter," she told Paper magazine in 2018. But to many, Bynes was unfairly broken by Hollywood. In that same interview, the former child star claimed to be four years sober, thanks to her parents.

Is Amanda Bynes in trouble again?

Amanda Bynes' curious facial art is garnering a lot of attention because recent reports suggest the starlet may be struggling again after what appeared to be a positive period. At the time of her Paper magazine interview in 2018, the actress was studying at the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising. She graduated in 2019 and was supposedly planning to continue her studies, but then things reportedly went sideways. 

According to a December 2019 report in The Blast, she "bailed on her sober living facility, dropped out of school, and stopped complying with her court-ordered conservatorship." The tab claimed her parents feared the actress "could be back abusing drugs." This isn't the first time Bynes has supposedly faced a setback in her recovery. In March 2019, TMZ reported that Bynes checked into a rehab facility to deal with "drug addiction along with mental health issues."

Of course, it's possible this tattoo — or whatever it is — has nothing to do with Bynes' well-being and is neither a positive nor negative sign. No matter the reasoning, we wish her the best.