Just like many young women in their early 20s, the actress struggled with her insecurities, which led her to experiment with drugs and go into a toxic downward spiral. After navigating through her past, Bynes is able to talk about the decisions that led her to those dark times in her life and how she is planning to move forward.
PAPER's feature story on the actress covered topics such as her career, her Adderall abuse, her hiatus from acting and, finally, her decision to overcome it all.
Below is a brief rundown on what we learned from Bynes' PAPER interview:
Her role as Sebastian in She's the Man sent her into depression: In the 2006 adaptation of Shakespeare's Twelfth Night, the actress pretends to be her brother, Sebastian, and takes his place at boarding school. "When the movie came out and I saw it, I went into a deep depression for four to six months because I didn't like how I looked when I was a boy," she tells PAPER. "I've never told anyone that." Bynes also admitted that seeing herself with short hair and sideburns was "a super strange and out-of-body experience. It just really put me into a funk."
She helped launch Channing Tatum's career: "I totally fought for Channing [to get cast] in that movie [She's the Man] because he wasn't famous yet. He'd just done a Mountain Dew commercial and I was like, 'This guy's a star -- every girl will love him!' But [the producers] were like, 'He's so much older than all of you!' And I was like, 'It doesn't matter! Trust me!'"
She thought Adderall would make her skinny: The actress revealed that her addiction to Adderall began after "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.'" She began abusing the drug while filming 2011's Hall Pass. "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 said. Bynes was eventually fired from the movie and replaced by Alexandra Daddario.
Her hiatus from acting began on Twitter: "I saw [She's the Man] and I was convinced that I should never be on camera again and I officially retired on Twitter, which was, you know, also stupid," she admitted. "If I was going to retire [the right way], I should've done it in a press statement -- but I did it on Twitter. 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. But it was really foolish and I see that now. I was young and stupid."
She apologized to those she hurt on Twitter: "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 says. "Everything I worked my whole life to achieve, I kind of ruined it all through Twitter." But, she adds, "it's definitely not Twitter's fault -- it's my own fault."
She shared advice for those struggling with addiction: "My advice to anyone who is struggling with substance abuse would be to be really careful because drugs can really take a hold of your life," she says "Everybody is different, obviously, but for me, the mixture of marijuana and whatever other drugs and sometimes drinking really messed up my brain. 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."
People have false perceptions of her: "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," she said. "I know that my behavior was so strange that people were just trying to grasp at straws for what was wrong."
She is optimistic about her future: "I think that's kind of how I go about [life] now -- like, what's there to lose? 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."