Amanda Bynes, 32, is back to her “normal” self. After two DUI arrests, controversial tweets, and more shocking behavior that ultimately led to an involuntary psychiatric hold in 2014, the Nickelodeon child star explained what caused her 2013 meltdown in her first interview in over a year. “Everybody is different, obviously, but for me, the mixture of marijuana and whatever other drugs and sometimes drinking really messed up my brain,” Amanda told Paper Magazine for the winter issue cover story, published on Nov. 26. Although her fallout with the public was often speculated to be the result of various mental health diagnoses, the veteran actress clarified that “[her behavior] was drug-induced, and whenever [she] got off of [drugs], [she] was always back to normal.”
Amanda, who last starred in the 2010 film Easy A, delved into her history with drugs. She explained to the magazine that she started smoking marijuana at the age of 16 “from that point on,” but noted that she wasn’t yet “abusing it.” She eventually experimented with harder drugs, saying, “Later on it progressed to doing molly and ecstasy,” adding, “[I tried] cocaine three times but I never got high from cocaine. I never liked it. It was never my drug of choice.” Rather, it was Adderall that triggered her problems, as she admitted she “definitely abused” the prescription drug. Roughly around the time she starred in the 2007 film Hairspray, Amanda read that Adderall was considered “the new skinny pill” in a magazine article. That prompted her to get a prescription from a psychiatrist after “faking the faking the symptoms of ADD,” she confessed.
Amanda’s low self-esteem over her appearance and abuse of Adderall, which made it impossible to remember her lines, led to her eventually walking away from the 2011 comedy Hall Pass. The walkout was not long before she infamously announced her retirement from acting via a tweet in 2012, which she decided to post after watching the screening of Easy A. “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 explained in her cover story. “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.”
Following her retirement from acting, the What I Like About You star hung out “with a seedier crowd,” as she called it, and got “really into [her] drug usage and it became a really dark, sad world for [her].” With no film set to report to, Amanda “was just stuck at home, getting high, watching TV and tweeting,” she said. As for her controversial “tweeting,” during which she blasted a string of public figures like Miley Cyrus, Chrissy Teigen and even Michelle and Barack Obama as “ugly,” she has now apologized. “I actually am a nice person,” Amanda insisted. “I would never feel, say or do any of the things that I did and said to the people I hurt on Twitter.”
But Amanda is looking forward now, as she announced that “those days of experimenting [with substances] are long over.” She doesn’t anticipate another meltdown since off drugs, she “was completely back to normal and immediately realized what [she] had done — it was like an alien had literally invaded [her] body.” And although Amanda never dabbled in more extreme drugs like “heroin or meth,” the former starlet warned about the dangers of gateway drugs: “Be really, really careful because you could lose it all and ruin your entire life like I did.”