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  • Who Is Amanda Bynes?
  • Quick Facts
  • Early Life and TV Career
  • Films
  • Challenges With the Law
  • Road to Recovery
  • Relationship with Paul Michael
  • 2023 Psychiatric Hold

Who Is Amanda Bynes?

Amanda Bynes is an actor who starred in the children’s sketch comedy series All That and then The Amanda Show on Nickelodeon. She went on to appear in films like What a Girl Wants, Hairspray, and Easy A, while also appearing on the TV series What I Like About You. In her mid-20s, she stepped away from acting. Since then, the former child star has encountered difficulties, including mental health issues, struggles with sobriety, and several brushes with the law.

Quick Facts

FULL NAME: Amanda Laura Bynes
BORN: April 3, 1986
BIRTHPLACE: Thousand Oaks, California

Early Life and TV Career

Amanda Laura Bynes was born April 3, 1986, in the Los Angeles’ suburb Thousand Oaks. She is the one of three children to parents Rick and Lynn Bynes.

Bynes began her acting career at 7 years old in a Nestlé’s candy commercial and was later scouted while attending comedy camp at the Laugh Factory in Los Angeles. She went on to star in the Nickelodeon show All That for four seasons starting in 1996. Conveying a high degree of comedic skill and timing at a young age, a 13-year-old Bynes then became the star of her own skit-based series The Amanda Show. Soon, producers and journalists would be comparing her to Lucille Ball, Gilda Radner, and Carol Burnett. The Amanda Show ran for three seasons and garnered the actor three Nickelodeon Kids’ Choice Awards.

In 2002, a teenage Bynes became co-star of the WB Network series What I Like About You, in which she played a fun-loving younger sibling to actor Jennie Garth, formerly of Beverly Hills 90210. The show introduced her to an older audience that expanded her fanbase beyond kids.


amanda bynes and frankie muniz smile for a photo
Big Fat Liar co-stars Frankie Muniz and Amanda Bynes at the 2002 American Music Awards
Getty Images

At age 15, Bynes made the transition to movies by starring in the 2002 film Big Fat Liar with fellow teen actor Frankie Muniz. The following year, she had the lead role in the movie What a Girl Wants, in which her character was a New York City teen who travels to London to find her wealthy father, played by Colin Firth. Next, Bynes did voiceover work for the 2005 animated film Robots.

In 2006, she was back in two lead roles. In She’s the Man, a modern retelling of William Shakespeare’s play Twelfth Night, her character disguises as her brother in order to keep playing high school soccer but finds herself falling for a teammate, played by co-star then-25-year-old Channing Tatum. Years later, Bynes took credit for launch Tatum’s career with the film, telling Paper magazine: “I totally fought for Channing [to get cast in] that movie 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!’” Her other starring role that year was in the tropical romantic comedy Lovewrecked.

Then, in 2007, she landed a major supporting role in the musical film adaptation of Hairspray. Bynes played Penny Lou Pingleton, a girl who has a budding romance with an Black boy in 1960s Baltimore. The movie was a hit, earning more than $100 million at the box office and receiving multiple award nominations. Later that year, Bynes had the lead role in the college film Sydney White and also released her own clothing line.

In 2010, at age 23, Bynes embraced a sexier adult image as she posed for the cover of Maxim magazine. She also appeared in her final acting role to date as a gossiping student in Easy A, a comedic retooling of Nathaniel Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter that also featured Emma Stone, Penn Badgley, Stanley Tucci, and Patricia Clarkson.

The young star would soon face difficult times. Her acting opportunities slowed, and she shared via her now-defunct Twitter feed that she was retiring from show biz. She wanted a break after working professionally since she was a child. A month later, she posted again on Twitter that she was “unretired.”

Challenges With the Law

amanda bynes walking into a courthouse with her attorney
Amanda Bynes walks into Manhattan Criminal Court with her attorney in July 2013.
Getty Images

In the spring of 2012, Bynes allegedly hit the rear corner of a police officer’s vehicle. She was arrested and received a driving under the influence charge. Her father publicly came to her defense, stating that the DUI allegations were false. In 2014, she was convicted of reckless driving stemming from the incident and sentenced to three years of probation and three months of alcohol education classes.

According to police reports, Bynes was involved in two additional hit-and-run car incidents. She was later spotted driving after her license had been suspended, and her car was impounded.

Bynes encountered more trouble with the law in May 2013. She reportedly was seen smoking marijuana in the lobby of her New York City apartment building. When police arrived to her apartment to investigate, she allegedly threw a bong out of her apartment window and was taken into custody. Bynes was arrested on charges of reckless endangerment, marijuana possession, and tampering with evidence, according to the Los Angeles Times. She underwent a psychiatric evaluation at a local hospital before being taken to the police station.

The troubled performer again found herself under psychiatric observation that July. She had reportedly started a fire near the driveway of a home in Thousand Oaks, California. Local authorities investigated the incident and decided to bring Bynes into custody. She was placed on a 5150 psychiatric hold, which allowed the actor to be detained for 72 hours in a mental health facility. A judge agreed to extend her stay and give her parents temporary guardianship of their daughter. Bynes then spent time in a rehabilitation center.

After receiving treatment, Bynes appeared to be trying to turn her life around. She lived with her parents and enrolled at Los Angeles’ Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising to pursue a career as a designer. In April 2014, Bynes got her driver’s license back. But she was once again in trouble with the law that fall. In September, Bynes was arrested for driving under the influence. She was charged with a misdemeanor and released after posting a bail amount of $15,000.

Bynes’ troubles seemed to escalate after that incident. She took Twitter to accuse her father of abuse and then claimed a microchip in her brain had prompted her make these allegations, according to People. On October 10, Bynes was placed on psychiatric hold at a hospital in Pasadena, California.

Road to Recovery

Over the following years, Bynes all but abandoned acting as she sought to repair her personal relationships and pursue other artistic interests. She regained control of her finances in the summer of 2017 and sat down for her first interview in four years that fall, in which she hinted at a possible return to acting.

In August 2018, People reported that Bynes was in a happy and healthy place in her life. While still under the conservatorship of her parents, she had rebuilt her relationship with them and was living on her own again. “Finally she is surrounded by friends and companions she can trust and really open up to,” her lawyer told People. “She feels free to be herself, which brings her so much happiness and excitement for the future.”

The following June, the former child star notched another positive achievement with her graduation from the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising.

Bynes posted on Instagram in March 2020 that she had been sober for 14 months.

In March 2022, a Ventura County, California, judge approved Bynes’ request to end her conservatorship under her mother and said saying she had “the capacity to give informed consent to any form of medical treatment.”

Relationship with Paul Michael

Bynes made news on Valentine’s Day 2020 with the announcement of her engagement to a man named Paul Michael; the two had met while in rehab. In mid-March, amid the seemingly fluctuating state of their relationship, it was reported that Bynes was pregnant, though her lawyer later shot down that rumor.

Entertainment Tonight reported in July 2022 that Bynes and Michael had called off their engagement sometime in 2021 but remained in a relationship. In a March 2023 interview with Page Six, Michael said he and Bynes are “friends now.”

2023 Psychiatric Hold

Bynes was scheduled to attend the 90s Con in Hartford, Connecticut, in March 2023 for a reunion with former members of the All That cast but dropped out at the last minute due to an undisclosed illness.

Days later on March 20, Today reported that Bynes was placed in a 72-hour psychiatric hold and had not spoken to her parents “for quite some time.” According to the New York Post, Bynes reportedly called 911 after walking through Los Angeles naked and telling a passing motorist she had a psychotic episode. Bynes went to a nearby police station, where a mental health team determined she needed to be placed on a 5150 psychiatric hold.

Michael alleged in an interview with Page Six that Bynes had stopped taking her medication prior to the incident.

Citation Information

  • Article Title: Amanda Bynes Biography
  • Author: Biography.com Editors
  • Website Name: The Biography.com website
  • URL: https://www.biography.com/actor/amanda-bynes
  • Access Date:
  • Publisher: A&E; Television Networks
  • Last Updated: March 22, 2023
  • Original Published Date: April 2, 2014
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