Amanda Bynes reveals she's 4 years sober, denies mental health challenges: My behavior was 'drug induced'

Amanda Bynes is ready for her comeback.

The reclusive 32-year-old retreated from the spotlight after capturing way too much of it several years ago. Starting in 2010, the former Nickelodeon star made headlines for her odd behavior, puzzling tweets and multiple legal issues, but she’s ready to put all that in the past. Bynes, a student at the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising in Los Angeles, is receiving her associate of arts degree in merchandise product development this month but wants to return to acting, eight years after retiring on Twitter.

In a rare, candid interview with Paper magazine, Bynes opened up about her private struggles that became so public. The former All That star revealed she became depressed after her 2006 film She’s the Man, in which she played a teen girl dressing in drag to pose as her brother.

“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 reflected, adding 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. …

“I started smoking marijuana when I was 16. Even though everyone thought I was the ‘good girl,’ I did smoke marijuana from that point on,” she continued. “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.”

See photos from Amanda Bynes' Paper Magazine shoot:

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Amanda Bynes for Paper Magazine
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Amanda Bynes for Paper Magazine
#BreaktheInternet: Amanda Bynes. Having spent years out of the spotlight, Bynes steps back in and opens up about her tumultuous — and remarkable — journey. #linkinbio Story by @abbyschreiber28 Photos by @daniellelevitt Art Direction by @dwndwntwn Styling by @neverhavetotweet Hair by @samiknighthair Makeup by @edwardcruzmakeup Set Design by @_coopervasquez_ Fashion Direction: @miaasolkin
Amanda, please! #breaktheinternet
"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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Bynes explained that smoking weed eventually “progressed to doing molly 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,” she added. Instead, she started regularly taking Adderall, an amphetamine-based stimulant used to treat people with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). “I definitely abused Adderall,” she noted, recalling that she first heard of the prescription drug after reading an article calling Adderall “the new skinny pill.”

“I was like, ‘Well, I have to get my hands on that,’” Bynes said. She was able to get a prescription after going “to a psychiatrist and faking the symptoms of ADD.” Bynes believes that Adderall played a role in her on-set behavior while filming Hall Pass in the spring of 2010, the same time her behind-the-scenes antics started seeping into tabloids.

“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 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 remembered “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.’”

It was “the mixture of being so high that I couldn’t remember my lines and not liking my appearance” that caused Bynes to pull out of the film. Reports around the time circulated that she was fired, something she denied.

“I made a bunch of mistakes but I wasn’t fired,” Bynes admitted. “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.”

However, it was starring opposite Emma Stone in 2010’s Easy A that made Bynes want to quit acting for good.

“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 explained. “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.”

She continued, “I saw it and I was convinced that I should never be on camera again and I officially retired on Twitter, which was, you know, also stupid. 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.”

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Amanda Bynes out and about
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Amanda Bynes out and about
LOS ANGELES, CA - AUGUST 25: Amanda Bynes is seen on August 25, 2015 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Bauer-Griffin/GC Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - JULY 23: Former actress Amanda Bynes attends the Michael Costello and Style PR Capsule Collection launch party on July 23, 2015 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by David Livingston/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - OCTOBER 06: Amanda Bynes attends NYLON Magazine's IT Girl Party at Gilded Lily on October 6, 2014 in New York City. (Photo by Astrid Stawiarz/Getty Images for NYLON)
NEW YORK, NY - OCTOBER 06: Actress Amanda Bynes is seen with friends in Soho on October 6, 2014 in New York City. (Photo by Raymond Hall/GC Images)
NEW YORK, NY - OCTOBER 06: Actress Amanda Bynes is seen with friends in Soho on October 6, 2014 in New York City. (Photo by Raymond Hall/GC Images)
NEW YORK, NY - OCTOBER 06: Actress Amanda Bynes is seen in Soho on October 6, 2014 in New York City. (Photo by Raymond Hall/GC Images)
NEW YORK, NY - OCTOBER 06: Actress Amanda Bynes is seen doing her make-up outside in Soho on October 6, 2014 in New York City. (Photo by Raymond Hall/GC Images)
NEW YORK, NY - OCTOBER 06: Actress Amanda Bynes is seen doing her make-up outside in Soho on October 6, 2014 in New York City. (Photo by Raymond Hall/GC Images)
NEW YORK, NY - OCTOBER 06: Actress Amanda Bynes is seen with friends in Soho on October 6, 2014 in New York City. (Photo by Raymond Hall/GC Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - OCTOBER 10: Amanda Bynes is seen at LAX on October 10, 2014 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by GVK/Bauer-Griffin/GC Images)
NEW YORK, NY - OCTOBER 06: Actress Amanda Bynes is seen doing her make-up outside in Soho on October 6, 2014 in New York City. (Photo by Raymond Hall/GC Images)
NEW YORK, NY - OCTOBER 06: Actress Amanda Bynes is seen with friends in Soho on October 6, 2014 in New York City. (Photo by Raymond Hall/GC Images)
NEW YORK, NY - OCTOBER 06: Actress Amanda Bynes is seen with friends in Soho on October 6, 2014 in New York City. (Photo by Raymond Hall/GC Images)
NEW YORK, NY - OCTOBER 06: Actress Amanda Bynes is seen with friends in Soho on October 6, 2014 in New York City. (Photo by Raymond Hall/GC Images)
NEW YORK, NY - OCTOBER 06: Actress Amanda Bynes is seen with friends in Soho on October 6, 2014 in New York City. (Photo by Raymond Hall/GC Images)
NEW YORK, NY - OCTOBER 06: Actress Amanda Bynes is seen doing her make-up outside in Soho on October 6, 2014 in New York City. (Photo by Raymond Hall/GC Images)
NEW YORK, NY - OCTOBER 06: Actress Amanda Bynes is seen doing her make-up outside in Soho on October 6, 2014 in New York City. (Photo by Raymond Hall/GC Images)
NEW YORK, NY - OCTOBER 06: Actress Amanda Bynes is seen with friends in Soho on October 6, 2014 in New York City. (Photo by Raymond Hall/GC Images)
NEW YORK, NY - OCTOBER 06: Actress Amanda Bynes is seen with friends in Soho on October 6, 2014 in New York City. (Photo by Raymond Hall/GC Images)
NEW YORK, NY - OCTOBER 06: Amanda Bynes attends NYLON Magazine's IT Girl Party at Gilded Lily on October 6, 2014 in New York City. (Photo by Astrid Stawiarz/Getty Images for NYLON)
NEW YORK, NY - JULY 09: Actress Amanda Bynes attends an appearance at Manhattan Criminal Court on July 9, 2013 in New York City. Bynes is facing charges of reckless endangerment, tampering with evidence and criminal possession of marijuana in relation to her arrest on May 23, 2013. (Photo by Raymond Hall/FilmMagic)
WEST HOLLYWOOD, CA - APRIL 06: In this handout image provided by the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Office, actress Amanda Bynes is seen in a police booking photo April 6, 2012 in West Hollywood, California. Bynes was arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol. (Photo by Los Angeles County Sheriff's Office via WireImage)
NEW YORK, NY - MAY 24: Actress Amanda Bynes departs Manhattan Central Booking after being arrested on May 23 2013 for alleged charges of reckless endangerment, tampering with evidence and criminal possession of marijuana at Manhattan Criminal Court on May 24, 2013 in New York City. (Photo by Alo Ceballos/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - JULY 10: Amanda Bynes as seen on July 10, 2013 in New York City. (Photo by NCP/Star Max/FilmMagic)
NEW YORK, NY - JULY 09: Amanda Bynes sighted on July 9, 2013 in Midtown, New York City. Bynes earlier appeared at Manhattan Criminal Court to face charges of reckless endangerment, tampering with evidence and criminal possession of marijuana in relation to her arrest on May 23, 2013. (Photo by Alo Ceballos/FilmMagic)
NEW YORK, NY - JULY 09: Actress Amanda Bynes attends an appearance at Manhattan Criminal Court on July 9, 2013 in New York City. Bynes is facing charges of reckless endangerment, tampering with evidence and criminal possession of marijuana in relation to her arrest on May 23, 2013. (Photo by Raymond Hall/FilmMagic)
NEW YORK, NY - JULY 09: Actress Amanda Bynes enters Manhattan Criminal Court on July 9, 2013 in New York City. Bynes is facing charges of reckless endangerment, tampering with evidence and criminal possession of marijuana in relation to her arrest on May 23, 2013. (Photo by Ray Tamarra/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - JULY 09: Amanda Bynes arrives for an appearance at Manhattan Criminal Court on July 9, 2013 in New York City. Bynes is facing charges of reckless endangerment, tampering with evidence and criminal possession of marijuana in relation to her arrest on May 23, 2013. (Photo by Dave Kotinsky/Getty Images)
BEVERLY HILLS, CA - MAY 14: Amanda Bynes leaves the Neil George Salon on May 14, 2009 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by OutOfSightMedia/BuzzFoto/FilmMagic)
UNIVERSAL CITY, CA - JUNE 05: Amanda Bynes attends the 2011 MTV Movie Awards on June 5, 2011 in Universal City, California. (Photo by Steve Granitz/WireImage)
LAS VEGAS - OCTOBER 03: Actress Amanda Bynes arrives at the Tao Nightclub at the Venetian Resort Hotel Casino during the club's four-year anniversary party October 3, 2009 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
Actress Amanda Bynes arrives at the 2011 MTV Movie Awards at Gibson Amphitheatre on June 5, 2011 in Universal City, California. (Photo by Jon Kopaloff/FilmMagic)
Amanda Bynes and Frankie Muniz at the 11th Annual Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric Aids Foundation's 'A Time For Heroes' carnival and picnic at Ken Robert's estate in Mandeville Canyon, Los Angeles, Ca.
UNIVERSAL CITY, CA - AUGUST 14: Actress Amanda Bynes poses in the press room at the 2005 Teen Choice Awards held at Gibson Amphitheatre at Universal CityWalk on August 14, 2005 in Universal City, California. (Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images)
Amanda Bynes during What A Girl Wants Cast Members Appear At Planet Hollywood at Planet Hollywood in New York, New York, United States. (Photo by Lawrence Lucier/FilmMagic)
Amanda Bynes during 5th Annual Lullabies and Luxuries Luncheon and Fashion Show Benefitting Caring For Children and Families With AIDS at Regent Beverly Wilshire Hotel in Beverly Hills, California, United States. (Photo by Jon Kopaloff/FilmMagic)
UNIVERSAL CITY, CA - AUGUST 14: Actors Shawn Wayans, Amanda Bynes and Marlon Wayans present an award onstage at the 2005 Teen Choice Awards held at Gibson Amphitheatre at Universal CityWalk on August 14, 2005 in Universal City, California. (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images)
MIAMI - FEBRUARY 06: Vanessa Minnillo and Amanda Bynes attend The Maxim Party 2010 at The Raleigh on February 6, 2010 in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Vallery Jean/Getty Images for Maxim)
MIAMI - FEBRUARY 06: Actress Amanda Bynes attends The Maxim Party 2010 at The Raleigh on February 6, 2010 in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Vallery Jean/Getty Images for Maxim)
NEW YORK - SEPTEMBER 17: Amanda Bynes attends the Ann Taylor Fall 2009 'See Now, Wear Now' Runway Show at the New York Public Library - Celeste Bartos Forum on September 17, 2009 in New York City. (Photo by Slaven Vlasic/WireImage for Shadow PR)
NEW YORK - SEPTEMBER 13: Actress Amanda Bynes attends the 2009 MTV Video Music Awards at Radio City Music Hall on September 13, 2009 in New York City. (Photo by Jeffrey Mayer/WireImage)
NEW YORK - SEPTEMBER 13: Actress Amanda Bynes at Bryant Park on September 13, 2009 in New York City. (Photo by Gustavo Caballero/Getty Images)
NEW YORK - SEPTEMBER 13: Actor Amanda Bynes poses for a picture at the 2009 MTV Video Music Awards at Radio City Music Hall on September 13, 2009 in New York City. (Photo by Christopher Polk/Getty Images)
NEW YORK - SEPTEMBER 13: Actress Amanda Bynes (L) poses with designer Max Azria at the Herve Leger Spring 2010 Fashion Show at the Promenade at Bryant Park on September 13, 2009 in in New York City. (Photo by Bryan Bedder/Getty Images for Herve Leger)
NEW YORK - SEPTEMBER 10: Lyn Collins, actress Amanda Bynes, actress Joanna Garcia and singer Solange Knowles attend the BCBG Max Azria Spring 2010 Fashion Show at the Tent during Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week at Bryant Park on September 10, 2009 in New York, New York. (Photo by Astrid Stawiarz/Getty Images for BCBG Max Azria)
NEW YORK - SEPTEMBER 12: Actress Hilary Duff and Actress Amanda Bynes are seen around Bryant Park on September 12, 2009 in New York City. (Photo by John Parra/WireImage)
NEW YORK - SEPTEMBER 12: Amanda Bynes and Kelly Rutherford attend the QVC Style Live celebration during Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Spring 2010 at Bryant Park on September 12, 2009 in New York City. (Photo by Johnny Nunez/WireImage)
UNIVERSAL CITY, CA - AUGUST 09: Actress Amanda Bynes arrives at the Teen Choice Awards 2009 held at the Gibson Amphitheatre on August 9, 2009 in Universal City, California. (Photo by Steve Granitz/WireImage)
June 6, 2009 Brentwood, Ca.; Amanda Bynes; 8th Annual Chrysalis Butterfly Ball; Held at a Private Residence (Photo by Gregg DeGuire/FilmMagic)
CENTURY CITY, CA - MAY 08: Actresses Angie Harmon and Amanda Bynes attend the 16th Annual Race To Erase MS cocktail reception co-chaired by Nancy Davis and Tommy Hilfiger at the Hyatt Regency Century Plaza on May 8, 2009 in Century City, California. (Photo by Kevin Winter/WireImage)
CENTURY CITY, CA - MAY 08: Actress Amanda Bynes attends the 16th Annual Race To Erase MS cocktail reception co-chaired by Nancy Davis and Tommy Hilfiger at the Hyatt Regency Century Plaza on May 8, 2009 in Century City, California. (Photo by Kevin Winter/WireImage)
CENTURY CITY, CA - MAY 08: Actress Amanda Bynes arrives at the 16th Annual Race to Erase MS event co-chaired by Nancy Davis and Tommy Hilfiger at Hyatt Regency Century Plaza on May 8, 2009 in Century City, California. (Photo by Steve Granitz/WireImage)
NEW YORK, NY - JULY 10: Amanda Bynes as seen on July 10, 2013 in New York City. (Photo by NCP/Star Max/FilmMagic)
NEW YORK, NY - JULY 10: Amanda Bynes is seen in Chelsea on July 10, 2013 in New York City. (Photo by Alo Ceballos/FilmMagic)
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Bynes suddenly found herself with too much time on her hands, so she would “‘wake and bake’ and literally be stoned all day long.”

“I just had no purpose in life. I’d been working my whole life and [now] I was doing nothing,” she explained. Bynes also started hanging out with a “seedier crowd.”

“I got really into my drug usage and it became a really dark, sad world for me,” she said. The Hairspray star summed up her life back then as one in which she “was just stuck at home, getting high, watching TV and tweeting.”

“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,” continued the actress. “Everything I worked my whole life to achieve, I kind of ruined it all through Twitter.” But, she added, “it’s definitely not Twitter’s fault — it’s my own fault.”

Bynes has been sober for “almost four years now,” crediting her parents with “really helping me get back on track.” However, she dismisses reports years ago that claimed she was battling severe mental health issues.

“It definitely isn’t fun when people diagnose you with what they think you are,” Bynes said, referring to the countless media reports that circulated about her state of mind. “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 conceded. Now, the former child star is ready to get back into the entertainment industry “kind of the same way I did as a kid, which is with excitement and hope for the best.”

“I have no fear of the future,” she declared. “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.”

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Style Throwback: Amanda Bynes
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Style Throwback: Amanda Bynes
12-year-old Amanda is too cute for words in a striped top and purple overalls at a Nickelodeon event. 
Amanda shows up to the premiere of tween hit (and cult favorite), "Snow Day", sporting an age appropriate dress and jean jacket combo. 
14-year-old Amanda goes for the Abercrombie Kids look in a graphic tank at the Teen Choice Awards. 
Remember when crop tops and chain belts were all the rage? 
At 16, Amanda's got her personal style down pat, and can usually be seen sporting classic separates. 
Amanda sports an Louis Vuitton logo back at a movie premiere. 
With blonde highlights and a pinstripe blazer, Amanda looks all grown up at the Nickelodeon Kids' Choice Awards. 
Amanda is a vision in red at the Teen Choice Awards.
In a rare printed number, Amanda attends the premiere of "She's the Man".     
We love the mini-skirt look Amanda's rocking at the premiere of "The Break-Up". 
Amanda shows off her sartorial know-how in this gorgeous fringe dress and heels. 
Amanda rocks an LBD at the premiere of "Penelope". 
In one of our favorite looks yet, Amanda attends the Teen Choice Awards in a neon cutout bandage dress. 
Amanda sticks to the bandage dress but gets funky with fringe platforms at the MTV Movie Awards. 
Sporting a totally new vibe, Amanda is seen recently with platinum locks and a relaxed and casual street style look in New York City. 
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