I remember when Amanda Bynes started tweeting a lot of things that were very out of character. I admit I was entertained watching it. Then, I realized this is a person that needs help. I think we all did. She got help, and now she's talking about it. Look, I loved her so much. She's in some of my favorite movies form college! She sat down with Paper magazine. You can click here for the full interview, but here are some highlights:
Amanda says, "I started smoking marijuana when I was 16. Even though everyone thought I was the 'good girl,' I did smoke marijuana from that point on." She hastens to add, "I didn't get addicted [then] and I wasn't abusing it. And I wasn't going out and partying or making a fool of myself... yet." She says this last part with a self-aware laugh.
As time went on, however, her youthful experimentation with marijuana evolved into trying other, harder recreational drugs. "Later on it progressed to doing molly and ecstasy," she says matter-of-factly. "[I tried] cocaine three times but I never got high from cocaine. I never liked it. It was never my drug of choice." One drug she admits she started taking on a regular basis, however, was Adderall. "I definitely abused Adderall," she says.
Around the time of Hairspray, she remembers "reading an article in a magazine that [called Adderall] 'the new skinny pill' and they were talking about how women were taking it to stay thin. I was like, 'Well, I haveto get my hands on that.'" Like many of her fellow millennials experimenting with the amphetamine in their teenage or college-aged years, Bynes says she was able to get a prescription after going "to a psychiatrist and faking the symptoms of ADD."
Looking back, she thinks Adderall played a big role in her behavior on set filming Hall Pass in the spring of 2010, one of the first instances when the public started to get an inkling that something might be amiss with the young actress. "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 says. "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."
While filming, Bynes says 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."
"I went into a deep depression for 4-6 months because I didn't like the way I looked as a boy."
It was "the mixture of being so high that I couldn't remember my lines and not liking my appearance" that prompted Bynes to pull out of the film — despite reports that later emerged to the contrary alleging she'd been fired. "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."
Things started to spiral from there.
A few months after walking away from Hall Pass, Bynes recalls attending a screening of her last film, Easy A, and "having a different reaction than everyone else to the movie." Not unlike her discomfort on the Hall Pass set, she elaborates that "I literally couldn't stand my appearance in that movie and I didn't like my performance. I was absolutely convinced I needed to stop acting after seeing it." She continues, "I was high on marijuana when I saw that but for some reason it really started to affect me. I don't know if it was a drug-induced psychosis or what, but it affected my brain in a different way than it affects other people. It absolutely changed my perception of things."
"I saw it and I was convinced that I should never be on camera again and I officially retired on Twitter, which was, you know, also stupid," she says wryly. "If I was going to retire [the right way], I should've done it in a press statement — but I did it on Twitter. Real classy! But, you know, I was high and I was like, 'You know what? I am so over this' so I just did it. But it was really foolish and I see that now. I was young and stupid."
After retiring from acting, Bynes found herself feeling adrift, having quit what had been basically, up until this point, a lifelong pursuit. "I just had no purpose in life. I'd been working my whole life and [now] I was doing nothing." She continues, "I had a lot of time on my hands and I would 'wake and bake' and literally be stoned all day long."
Around this time, Bynes said she started "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 sums up her life back then as one in which she "was just stuck at home, getting high, watching TV and tweeting."
It's this last activity that perhaps unfortunately causes Bynes the most anguish to think about. While she can look back on her decision to announce her retirement with a tweet with humor and equanimity, there are other, more painful 140-character episodes that are difficult to talk about. She declines to get into specifics about any of the more alarming or hurtful messages she sent about fellow celebrities or family members back then (including that infamously vulgar message about a certain Toronto rapper) but throughout our conversation she expresses deep regret and sorrow about any pain or hurt her behavior may have caused.
"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. It makes me feel so horrible and sick to my stomach and sad," Bynes says. "Everything I worked my whole life to achieve, I kind of ruined it all through Twitter." But, she adds, "it's definitely not Twitter's fault — it's my own fault."