For the last eight years, Amanda Bynes' life has been shrouded in mystery. Avoiding the spotlight at all costs and remaining coy about her personal struggles, she left millions of fans in the dark.
However, the much-loved actress best known for starring in the hit series, The Amanda Show has finally come out of retirement for a tell-all interview where nothing was off limits. Bynes sat down with Paper Magazine, to share her side of the story. And quite frankly, it's an emotional and empowering tale that takes the sting out of the vicious rumors and presumptuous headlines that have clouded her career for over a decade.
Bynes bares all in this exposé, refusing to shy away from the cold hard truth - that there was a period in her life where she was addicted to Adderall (a prescription she gained after faking ADD symptoms) and regularly abused harder recreational drugs such as molly and ecstasy.
Detailing her drug dependency, the actress said: "I definitely abused Adderall," she said. "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 admitted. "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."
Bynes' relationship with illicit drugs has never been a secret. In fact, it was slapped across the front of every newspaper in 2007 when she was charged with drink driving which in turn, led to three lengthy stints in rehab.
No doubt she struggled to transition into adult roles, however, in the last decade two questions have remained: Why did she quit acting? And what led to her demise?
Well, we finally have an answer. And it's sobering.
While filming the hit movie, She's The Man, in which Bynes plays a teenager soccer fanatic who dresses in drag to pose as her older brother in the hope of making the football team, she was struggling. And seeing herself on the big screen solidified what she always thought of herself: that she wasn't good enough.
"When the movie came out and I saw it, I went into a deep depression for 4-6 months because I didn't like how I looked when I was a boy." she explained. Seeing herself dressed in daggy (and baggy) clothes with short hair was "a super strange and out-of-body experience. It just really put me into a funk."
Her increasing drug usage mixed with her deteriorating mental health quickly became a potent cocktail. And by 2011, while filming Hall Pass, her life began to unravel.
"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 said. "I remember 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."
Jumping from one successful film to another, one thing remained: "I don't know if it was a drug-induced psychosis or what, but it affected my brain health than it affects other people. It absolutely changed my perception of things."
Convinced she should "never be on camera again" Bynes retired from acting, announcing the news on Twitter.
"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. I got really into my drug usage and it became a really dark, sad world for me."
Following years of intense treatment and time away from the public eye, Bynes got her life back on track. Now studying at the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising, she proudly admits that her grades are good, and she even designed and made most the clothing items worn on the day of her Paper Magazine photo shoot.
The 32-year-old, who is four years sober and finally in a stable headspace, has one simple message for teenagers looking to experiment with drugs and alcohol.
"There are gateway drugs and certain things that you think are harmless, may actually affect you in a more harmful way," she said. "Be really, really careful because you could lose it all and ruin your entire life."
With a new lease on life, she is ready to get back into acting and is excited for what is to come.
"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. I definitely want to get back into acting first!"