Amanda Bynes Opens Up About Drug Abuse, "Dark, Sad World" After Retiring From Acting

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Amanda Bynes

"I'm really ashamed and embarrassed with the things I said. I can't turn back time but if I could, I would," the actress says in a candid interview for Paper Magazine's cover story.

Times have changed for Amanda Bynes who, after spending the last several years retiring from acting and avoiding the spotlight, has opened up to Paper Magazine for its latest cover story about her drug use and feeling ready to return to the spotlight after enduring a "dark, sad world."

Though the actress hopes to design a clothing line — she is currently enrolled at Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising to receive her Associate’s of Art degree in Merchandise Product Development — Bynes confirmed that she wants to "get back into acting first" after enduring years of drug abuse. 

Bynes reflected on when she first started using drugs, recalling smoking marijuana at the age of 16: "Even though everyone thought I was the 'good girl,' I did smoke marijuana from that point on." She also explained that despite smoking, she "didn’t get addicted" and "wasn’t abusing it." 

Bynes revealed that she later progressed to trying harder drugs such as MDMA, cocaine and ecstasy: "[I tried] cocaine three times but I never got high from cocaine. I never liked it. It was never my drug of choice." It wasn’t until she tried Adderall that the actress said it became a frequent routine: "I definitely abused Adderall." 

Bynes said that when she was filming the 2007 musical Hairspray — which she described as "the most amazing experience I’ve had on set" — she remembered "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 have to get my hands on that.'" The actress admitted that she was able to get a prescription after going "to a psychiatrist and faking the symptoms of ADD (attention deficit disorder)."

Bynes’ Adderall abuse continued to grow worse while filming the 2010 film Hall Pass. “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 recalled. "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 said she remembered seeing her "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."

Ultimately, "the mixture of being so high that I couldn't remember my lines and not liking my appearance" prompted Bynes to pull out of the film, despite reports saying she was fired. "I made a bunch of mistakes but I wasn't fired," Bynes explained. "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."

Bynes continued to have a negative body image after seeing a screening of her comedy Easy A, to which the actress explained that she “couldn’t stand” her appearance or “performance.” She also admitted that she endured depression for "four to six months" after seeing herself dressed as a man for her character in She's the Man.

"I was absolutely convinced I needed to stop acting after seeing it [Easy A]," she said, adding that her thoughts were possibly a result of her being "high on marijuana."

Bynes then infamously announced her retirement on Twitter, something she considers "stupid" when looking back. 

"If I was going to retire [the right way], I should've done it in a press statement — but I did it on Twitter," the actress said. "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."

After stepping away from the spotlight, Bynes described herself as being someone who had "no purpose in life" and spending her time being "stoned all day long."  

Bynes also credited her isolation to hanging out with a "seedier crowd."

"I got really into my drug usage and it became a really dark, sad world for me," she explained. Though Bynes refused to address her controversial comments written on Twitter, most specifically to Drake, the actress admitted that she feels “ashamed and embarrassed" over her comments. 

Bynes is aware that her behavior sparked a negative reaction from the public, which she said led people to "diagnose" her. She is now four years sober, and credits her parents with "really helping me get back on track." 

Happy to confirm that her days of experimenting "are long over," Bynes said that she is finally "back to normal." 

The actress said she was excited for the future and a return to acting: "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."