Strange Things About Amanda Bynes' Relationship

On Valentine's Day 2020, Amanda Bynes — who returned to Instagram in December 2019 after a three-month extended hiatus — announced that she was engaged. In a since-deleted post (via People), the former Nickelodeon star shared a photo of her hand sporting a large rock and resting atop another person's hand (likely her fiancé's). She captioned the snap, "Engaged to tha love of my life." While Bynes didn't identify the lucky man, he was later revealed in another post to be Paul Michael. Around that time, a source cited by People claimed that Bynes and Michael met in late 2019, while noting that the She's The Man actress "seems happy."

The news came as a shock to the world, as outside of her previous vulgar tweets about Drake when she was unwell, Bynes hasn't spoken openly about her love life in years. The relationship raised quite a few questions, and the mystery and controversy surrounding the union only grew as more details emerged. Here's what we know so far about the former All That actress' latest romance, and why all of it seems very strange to the outside world.

Amanda Bynes reportedly met Paul Michael at AA classes

Amanda Bynes reportedly met Paul Michael in Alcoholics Anonymous classes, according to The Blast. Weeks after announcing their engagement in February 2020, Bynes celebrated 14 months of sobriety on Instagram.

Fans may remember how Bynes revealed to Paper magazine in 2018 that she had struggled with drug and alcohol abuse during her darkest period. "For me, the mixture of marijuana and whatever other drugs and sometimes drinking really messed up my brain," she admitted. "It really made me a completely different person." After checking herself into rehab in March 2019 — which a rep for the actress told Access Hollywood was by her own volition after she was simply "not feeling like herself" — E! News reported that September that Bynes had moved into a sober living facility. At the time, a source claimed that the former TV starlet had entered the facility by choice, was "doing really well" in the supportive environment, and hadn't had any relapses with drugs or alcohol.

All that said, Bynes' union with Michael may not necessarily be the healthiest one depending on how long he's been in treatment, considering experts generally recommend that recovering addicts each be sober for at least a year before embarking on a relationship with one another.

Was Amanda Bynes' engagement ring fake?

When Amanda Bynes showed off her engagement ring and its massive rock, the world assumed her fiancé, Paul Michael, must be loaded. Based on the size of the diamond and appearance of the ring in the photo Bynes posted, The U.S. Sun estimated the emerald-cut stone to be eight carats (in addition to its small tapered baguette side stones on a platinum band) ... if it were legit. 

While Michael's actual financial situation is not yet publicly known, TMZ reported that he likely didn't plunk down a significant chunk of change on a diamond for the What a Girl Wants starlet. The gossip rag alleged that the ring was purchased on Amazon for just $49, and the diamond — obviously, considering the supposed price point — was not an actual piece of crystallized carbon. It's unclear if Michael's own gold ring, which he wore in the same photo Bynes posted to announce their engagement, was a faux precious metal or the real deal. 

On the bright side, however, TMZ reports that Bynes was "fine" with the alleged fake, so more power to them.

Amanda Bynes' parents wouldn't let her marry Paul Michael

Whether or not Amanda Bynes got a real diamond or a piece of plastic for her engagement ring, it matters not to her family: TMZ reported in February 2020 that the star's parents, who remain her conservators, would not sign off on the Hairspray star walking down the aisle any time soon. Sources close to Bynes claimed that her mother, in particular, wasn't happy about the engagement and reportedly would not permit the marriage to go forward. Legally, Bynes cannot tie the knot without her conservators' consent.

Bynes has been under conservatorship for years, after her parents reportedly informed the courts (via TMZ) that the former Nickelodeon starlet was spending "alarming amounts of money," including buying expensive gifts for strangers, in 2014. Her parents were also worried about her legal troubles and bizarre behavior at the time, including a September 2014 DUI arrest (her second DUI and third moving violation within two years) and allegedly attempting to shoplift at a New York City store. This all followed a summer of 2013 incident, during which Bynes started a fire in a stranger's driveway and was placed in a 5150 psychiatric hold and hospitalized.

Amanda Bynes and her fiance broke up temporarily ... or did they?

Depending on when you ask Paul Michael, either he and Amanda Bynes broke up briefly or they never broke up at all. On March 8, 2020, TMZ reported that Bynes and Michael had called it quits, and the groom-to-be himself confirmed the news to In Touch Weekly, telling the magazine, "We did [break up]. I love her though, she's my best friend." According to Us Weekly, Bynes was heartbroken about the reported split, with a source close to the actress dishing, "Amanda is really upset about it and not taking it well at all." As another insider explained to the magazine, Michael was reportedly the one to end things after realizing the difficulties Bynes' conservatorship would bring into their romance.

Two days later, however, Michael denied a breakup ever happened, telling Page Six that his and Bynes' Instagram accounts were hacked, which led to the split reports in the first place. "Both of our instas got hacked and someone deleted our pictures and sent DMs saying we broke up. We never broke up and weren't able to log into our instagrams until last night," he said, adding that the hacker's motives for only deleting the couple's photos together was "[presumably] to make it seem like we broke up." Hm.

After their maybe-breakup, Amanda Bynes announced they were expecting

Not long after reports of their alleged breakup went viral, Amanda Bynes posted a sonogram photo on March 17, 2020, which featured her name and that day's date, implying that she and Paul Michael were expecting their first child together. While she has since removed the headline-making post, TMZ reported that the former child star had happily captioned the photo with, "Baby on board." According to Us Weekly, Michael posted a selfie with Bynes, as well as the same sonogram photo, and wrote in the caption: "Baby in the making." (Never have the words "in the" been more valuable.)

Giving some more legitimacy to the sonogram photo was that same Us Weekly report, which claimed that Bynes and a female pal were spotted at a Los Angeles obstetrician-gynecologist office earlier that day. "[The friends] were chatting about what to expect," a spy told the magazine, adding that Bynes "seemed excited. She was dressed casual and keeping a low profile. The lobby was pretty empty so no one bugged her." Michael was reportedly not present at the appointment.

Amanda Bynes may not have custody of her baby after it's born

Although Amanda Bynes and Paul Michael are reportedly expecting their first child together, it seems unlikely that the erstwhile What I Like About You actress will have custody of their baby. 

In March 2020, TMZ reported that because Bynes — who, at the time, was supposedly about six weeks along in her pregnancy — was under a conservatorship, her father, Paul, may legally be the one to share custody of the baby with Michael. Insiders claimed to the gossip rag that Bynes' pregnancy was legitimate and not an effort to get out of her conservatorship, and noted that she wasn't aware that she may not have custody of the bun in her oven once the baby was born. Sources also reportedly expressed concern about the baby's well being because Bynes allegedly smokes cigarettes. 

In a statement to the media outlet, Bynes' attorney, David Esquibias, said, "I'm not confirming that Amanda is expecting and because of that it's premature for anyone to speculate about who would have custody of Amanda's unborn child."

Amanda Bynes is currently in treatment

As of this writing in March 2020, Amanda Bynes is receiving treatment at a facility for her ongoing mental health issues, but her attorney insisted in a statement that substance abuse was not a factor. "Any reports that Amanda is suffering from drug or alcohol addiction issues are completely false," Bynes' lawyer, David Esquibias, told People at the time. "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."

Meanwhile, Paul Michael told Page Six that his fiancée was indeed getting help. However, he understandably wouldn't go into too many specifics beyond the fact that she had mental health issues stemming back years. "She's not ordered to go to a hospital. She's ordered to go to a residential treatment, which is called inpatient, but she's not in a hospital," Michael explained. "She is affected by trauma from her childhood. The anxiety made her drop out of school and the judge ordered her to work on that in residential treatment." 

We commend Bynes for getting the help that she needs, and wish her all the best in her ongoing treatment.