Amanda Bynes Then & Now: See Her Evolution From Nickelodeon Superstar To Today

Take a look back at how Amanda Bynes became a millennial icon and household name from her rise on Nickelodeon, all the way to how the star is doing today.

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Image Credit: AP/P&P / MEGA

Amanda Bynes has had such a fascinating career that’s taken many twists and turns that her fans might not have seen coming. Over the course of her young career, the 34-year-old has had to overcome obstacles and work on her comeback in both her personal and professional life. Now, we’re taking a look back at how this incredibly talented young woman became the millennial icon she is today, and what’s next in her career and private life.

Her Rise To Fame

Amanda Bynes and the cast of ‘All That’ [Courtesy Everett Collection].
Amanda was born in Thousand Oaks, CA, on April 3, 1986. At a young age, Amanda demonstrated a real aptitude for the performing arts, starring in productions of AnnieThe Sound Of Music, and more during her childhood. The Nickelodeon series All That became a major game-changer for the burgeoning star. At the age of 10, Amanda was cast on the sketch comedy show and appeared in more than 50 episodes from 1996 to 2002. Despite being a part of an ensemble cast, Amanda continued to stand out.

By 1999, Amanda earned her own show with Nickelodeon called The Amanda Show. Not only was Amanda the host of the variety series, she also played a slew of memorable characters, including Judge Trudy, Moody from the sketch “Moody’s Point,” and so many more. Both The Amanda Show and All That ended in 2002, leaving room for Amanda to cultivate the next phase of her career.

In 2002, she starred alongside fellow teen idol Frankie Muniz in the movie Big Fat Liar. The then-16-year-old Amanda proved that her comedy chops hadn’t changed at all. In fact, Amanda was ready to show that she had matured and was ready to take on more work that her teen audience would love. She subsequently starred in a string of iconic mid-2000s films, including What A Girl WantsShe’s The Man, and Sydney White.

2007 was a huge year for Amanda’s career. Not only did she play the titular role in Sydney White, she also starred as Penny Pingleton in the movie musical adaptation of Hairspray. Amanda didn’t just show off her comedy chops this time around, she showed her real talent for musical theater, harkening back to the days where she would perform on stage as a child. After a short hiatus and some smaller, independent projects, Amanda would take on what would be her most recent role in the film Easy A.

After ‘Easy A’

Amanda Bynes and Emma Stone in ‘Easy A’ [©Screen Gems/Courtesy Everett Collection].
In 2010, Amanda played Marianne in the Emma Stone comedy vehicle Easy A. After years of separating her childhood comedy for her newfound mature roles, Amanda showed that she could still wow audiences on screen, and delivered a snappy, fun performance in the teen comedy. The movie, however, remains the last credit on Amanda’s filmography.

By July 2010, Amanda announced that she would be taking an indefinite hiatus from acting at just 24 years old. “Being an actress isn’t as fun as it may seem,” she initially tweeted during the summer of 2010. “If I don’t love something anymore, I stop doing it. I don’t love acting anymore, so I’ve stopped doing it. I know 24 is a young age to retire, but you heard it here first.”

It was a complete shock to Amanda’s fans, who grew up with the star. But in the years that followed her retirement announcement, circumstances in her life became far more complicated. In 2012, Amanda was charged with driving under the influence in West Hollywood. Two years after the incident, the charges against Amanda were dropped and she was required to complete three years of probation.

Unfortunately, things only got more difficult from there. In 2013, Amanda Bynes was charged with reckless endangerment and marijuana possession. That same year, Amanda was arrested after allegedly starting a fire in the driveway of a Thousand Oaks home. She was placed under a 72-hour mental health evaluation. 2014 was no less difficult. Amanda posted a series of tweets alleging abuse at the hands of her parents, which she later redacted. At the time, her mom was granted conservatorship over Amanda’s affairs.

Although those years were incredibly trying for Amanda and her family, she seemingly re-introduced herself to the world in her November 2018 profile with Paper. In the spread, Amanda seemed happier and healthier, and was ready to get back to work. “I want to get back into acting,” she told the outlet. At the time, Amanda was still attending the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising in Irvine. But she was ready to set a course for her future.

How She’s Doing Now

Amanda Bynes out and about [P&P / MEGA].
Over two years since her profile with Paper, Amanda’s personal life has taken a shift, as well. In early 2020, Amanda got engaged to Paul Michael, who she supposedly met during her time in rehab. Just one month after confirming their engagement, Amanda seemingly revealed that she was pregnant, though the claim was confirmed as false by her lawyer. After the faux pregnancy news, Amanda sought treatment for her mental health.

“She is seeking treatment for ongoing mental health issues. 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,” a March statement from her lawyer, David A Esquibias, read. He also said that “any reports that Amanda is suffering from drug or alcohol addiction issues are completely false.” Since seeking treatment, it seems that Amanda’s life is steadily getting back on track.

Amanda Bynes’ Future Work & Career

Amanda Bynes at an event in 2007 [AP].
After some time away from social media, Amanda shared that she was doing much better than before. “I just wanted to post a video to say I’m sorry to anyone whom I called ugly on Twitter,” she said in February 2020. “I was feeling so ugly at the time, and it was really hard for me to express myself at the time because I was so drugged out. And now, I’ve remained sober for over a year – same with Paul – and I just want to let you know that I love you guys, and I’m so happy now.”

By May 2020, Amanda revealed some exciting with her fans in a since-deleted Instagram post. “Update: Getting my Bachelor’s degree from FIDM,” the former actress wrote. “Taking online classes, trying to get a 4.0 GPA. Looking forward to starting my online store in the future.” Amanda also added the hashtag “goals” to her words. But that wasn’t all.

Amanda also became incredibly transparent about her mental health, and the tools she was building to help her move forward. “Worked on coping skills to help with my social anxiety that caused me to drop out of school months ago,” she shared in the May post. “Back on track and doing well! I’m now living in transitional living and doing therapy during the week.” Clearly, Amanda still has a lot of plans for herself in the future. Right now, fans are so happy to see her doing well and getting healthy. We cannot wait to see her journey continue and wish her the best.