Actor Amanda Bynes has resurfaced to set the record straight on her past attention-grabbing years in the spotlight.
The 32-year-old discussed everything from her past substance abuse issues to her social media activity in an interview with Paper Magazine published Monday.
Bynes had a series of arrests along with very public meltdowns from 2010 to 2014.
She’s now four years sober and thriving in school at Los Angeles’ Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandise, with plans to continue her education and eventually break back into show business.
Bynes shared a number of surprising and honest reflections about her troubled years with the magazine. Here are six big takeaways from the interview.
She confirmed long-rumored issues with substance abuse
The star said she started using marijuana when she was 16.
“Even though everyone thought I was the ‘good girl,’ I did smoke marijuana from that point on,” she told Paper. “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.”
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She also told the magazine that she tried cocaine and ecstasy recreationally, but the drug she abused most was Adderall.
While she was working on her hit 2007 film “Hairspray,” she told Paper she came across “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 have to get my hands on that.'”
After faking symptoms of ADD to a psychiatrist, she told the magazine, she secured a prescription and became more and more dependent on the drug.
“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 told Paper. “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.”
She also told the magazine she believes the effects of the drug led her to feel increasingly insecure about her body.
She has dealt with body image issues throughout her career
Bynes opened up about how much her body image has impacted the trajectory of her career.
After viewing her 2010 film “Easy A,” in which she starred alongside Emma Stone, she described “having a different reaction than everyone else to the movie.”
“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 told the magazine.
“I have no fear of the future. I’ve been through the worst and came out the other end and survived it so I just feel like it’s only up from here.” #amandabynes #breaktheinternet #linkinbio
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“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,” Bynes told Paper.
She also revealed that while filming “Hall Pass” in 2010, which she eventually stepped away from, her drug-use again impacted the way in which she saw herself on screen.
Bynes told Paper 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 offset and thinking, ‘Oh my god, I look so bad.'”
She is on the mend and wants others to learn from her mistakes
With four years of sobriety, the “She’s The Man” actor has had time to reflect on her past actions.
“Those days of experimenting [with substances] are long over. I’m not sad about it and I don’t miss it because I really feel ashamed of how those substances made me act,” she told Paper. “When I was off of them, I was completely back to normal and immediately realized what I had done — it was like an alien had literally invaded my body. That is such a strange feeling.”
Amanda, please! #breaktheinternet
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She also has advice for those struggling with substance abuse.
“Be really careful, because drugs can really take a hold of your life. Everybody is different, obviously, but for me, the mixture of marijuana and whatever other drugs and sometimes drinking really messed up my brain,” she told the magazine.
“It really made me a completely different person. I actually am a nice person. I would never feel, say or do any of the things that I did and said to the people I hurt on Twitter,” Bynes added.
She also talked about the potentially harmful effects of casual drug use.
“There are gateway drugs and thankfully I never did heroin or meth or anything like that, but certain things that you think are harmless, they may actually affect you in a more harmful way,” she told the magazine. “Be really, really careful, because you could lose it all and ruin your entire life like I did.”
She is apologetic about her past social media behavior
Bynes made headlines in 2013 for a series of bizarre tweets that mentioned numerous other celebrities. In the interview, she set the record straight and owned up to her behavior.
“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 told Paper.
“Everything I worked my whole life to achieve, I kind of ruined it all through Twitter. It’s definitely not Twitter’s fault — it’s my own fault,” she added.
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She is thriving in fashion school
Bynes is set to receive her Associate of Arts degree in merchandise product development from FIDM in November. She said she will then start working towards her Bachelor’s degree in January.
The actor-turned-student has even earned a respected reputation among her teachers and administrators, Paper reported.
“Instructors love her. Love her,” Kathi Gilbert, FIDM’s assistant dean of admissions and one of Bynes’ advisors, told Paper.
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Gilbert also told Paper Bynes’ teachers have said they “wished all of their students could be like her.”
She wants people to keep their diagnoses to themselves
There’s no denying that Bynes has been through a lot in recent years. With the increased attention on her well-being, friends and the media have often offered up their opinions on her mental state.
“It definitely isn’t fun when people diagnose you with what they think you are,” Bynes told Paper. “That was always really bothersome to me. If you deny anything and tell them what it actually is, they don’t believe you. Truly, for me, [my behavior] was drug-induced, and whenever I got off of [drugs], I was always back to normal.”
“I know that my behavior was so strange that people were just trying to grasp at straws for what was wrong,” Bynes added.
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