Amanda Laura Bynes (born April 3, 1986) is an American actress. She is best known for her work in television and film throughout the 1990s and 2000s. She has received several accolades, including winning seven Kids' Choice Awards and a Critics' Choice Award.
Amanda Laura Bynes was born in Thousand Oaks, California, on April 3, 1986, the youngest of three children born to Lynn (née Organ), a dental assistant and office manager, and Rick Bynes, a dentist. Her father is Catholic and is of Irish, Lithuanian, and Polish descent. Her mother is Jewish, and was born to a Canadian couple whose families were from Poland, Russia, and Romania.
Bynes began professionally acting at the age of 7, appearing in a television advertisement for Buncha Crunch candies. During her childhood, she also appeared on stage in versions of Annie, The Secret Garden, The Music Man, and The Sound of Music. Later, she attended a comedy camp at the Los Angeles Laugh Factory and was spotted by a Nickelodeon producer before being cast by the network on the sketch comedy series All That, where she played various roles from 1996 to 2000. The show brought Bynes much recognition, and she won a Kids' Choice Award in 2000. Bynes was also a regular member of the series Figure It Out from 1997 to 1999.
In 2002, Bynes made her feature film debut in Big Fat Liar, where she starred as Kaylee, best friend of co-star Frankie Muniz's character. Although the film had a mixed reception, it was a commercial success, and she won a Kids' Choice Award for her performance. Also in 2002, she landed a starring role in the WB sitcom What I Like About You from 2002 to 2006, where she co-starred with Jennie Garth; the series gained positive reviews, and Bynes received a number of nominations from the Teen Choice Awards and the Young Artist Awards. In 2003, Bynes appeared on the cover of Vanity Fair's July 2003 edition. She had a voice role in the direct-to-video film Charlotte's Web 2: Wilbur's Great Adventure, which was panned by critics. She also had a voice role as Piper Pinwheeler in the 2005 animated film Robots, which was a commercial success. Also in 2005, she starred the romantic comedy Love Wrecked.
Bynes was named one of Teen People's "25 Hottest Stars Under 25" in 2006. In 2006, Bynes starred in the sport comedy film She's the Man, based on William Shakespeare's Twelfth Night. She portrays Viola Hastings, a girl who pretends to be a boy to play with the boys' soccer team after her team gets cut at her school. Critic Roger Ebert wrote "Of Amanda Bynes let us say that she is sunny and plucky and somehow finds a way to play her impossible role without clearing her throat more than six or eight times. More importantly, we like her." Magazine Bustle wrote in 2018: "She's The Man was hot and hilarious and anxiety-inducing. It was perfect, and Bynes was a revelation in it."
In 2007, Bynes described herself as Jewish, and also stated: "As far as religion, I was raised both. I learned about both Judaism and Catholicism. My parents said it was up to me to decide (which faith to adhere to) when I grew up. I'm sort of a spiritual person anyway. I haven't decided yet on a religion. I don't know yet exactly what I believe." Since childhood, Bynes has been interested in illustration and fashion design.
In 2007, Bynes starred as Penny Pingleton, a sheltered young girl, in the musical comedy film Hairspray. The film was a critical and commercial success, and premiered in over 3,000 theaters, the largest debut for any musical film. It went on to become Bynes' most successful film at the time, and she, along with the rest of the cast were acclaimed for their performances, and she won the Critics' Choice Award for Best Acting Ensemble and received a Screen Actors Guild Award nomination in 2008, among others. She was also featured on the Hairspray soundtrack, which went on to get a Grammy nomination. It was announced Bynes would reprise her role in Hairspray 2, however the project was canceled.
In August 2007, Bynes teamed up with Steve & Barry's to create her own fashion line called Dear, consisting of apparel and accessories. The line was cut short when Steve & Barry's filed Chapter 11 bankruptcy in 2008. Bynes' next role was in another comedy, Sydney White, released in 2007. The film was a flop, although Bynes' performance was praised, with review aggregator site Rotten Tomatoes writing "Amanda Bynes is charming, but Sydney White is a poorly adapted take on Snow White, relying on tired ethnic stereotypes laughs."
In 2008, Bynes appeared in the Lifetime Television movie Living Proof as the student assistant of Harry Connick, Jr.'s character. The film and the cast were praised. In 2009, she was set to star in the comedy Post Grad, but dropped out with no reason revealed and was replaced by Alexis Bledel, aggravating rumors that she was in personal trouble. In 2010, she co-starred alongside the then-unknown Emma Stone in the comedy Easy A. She starred as Marianne Bryant, a popular and judgmental high school student. The film was a critical and commercial success, with Stone and Bynes receiving critical praise for their performances. That same year, Bynes started shooting the comedy film Hall Pass but dropped out of the film and was replaced by Alexandra Daddario. In July 2010 Bynes announced an indefinite hiatus from acting but later stated in 2018 that she intended to return to television acting.
In 2008, Bynes briefly dated Seth MacFarlane after voicing a character in an episode of MacFarlane's show Family Guy. In 2020, on her Instagram page, she announced her engagement to Paul Michael. Three weeks later, it was announced that they broke off the relationship, but this announcement was later revealed to be false. Michael stated that their Instagram accounts had been hacked. In March 2020, Bynes shared an ultrasound photo on her Instagram account, announcing that they were expecting their first child. She later deleted this post, and her lawyer confirmed that the couple were not expecting a child despite her initial claim.
In her highly publicized personal life, Bynes has struggled with substance abuse and has faced legal issues. She announced an indefinite hiatus from acting in 2010 as she struggled with various personal problems. Eight years later, in 2018, Bynes announced her intention to return to television acting.
In 2012, Bynes was charged with driving under the influence (DUI) in West Hollywood. Two years later, the charge was dropped and she received a three-year probation. In May 2013, Bynes was charged with reckless endangerment and marijuana possession after she was found smoking in the lobby of her Manhattan apartment building. When officers entered her 36th-floor apartment, she allegedly threw a bong out the window. A New York County judge dismissed the case against her in June 2014.
In July 2013, Ventura County sheriff's deputies detained her after she allegedly started a small fire in the driveway of a stranger in Thousand Oaks. She was hospitalized under a 72-hour mental-health evaluation hold. Bynes' parents filed for conservatorship of their daughter shortly after her hospitalization began. In August, Bynes' mother was granted a temporary conservatorship over Bynes' affairs.
In December 2013, Bynes enrolled at the Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising in Irvine for 2014. In 2018, she received her Associate's of Art degree in Merchandise Product Development and announced her intentions to start a bachelor's degree program. In 2019, Bynes graduated from FIDM.
In October 2014, Bynes accused her father of emotional and sexual abuse in a series of tweets; when her parents protested their innocence, Bynes tweeted that her father had never abused her, but "The microchip in my brain made me say those things but he's the one that ordered them to microchip me". Days later, Bynes' mother again received conservatorship. Soon afterward, Bynes announced that she had been diagnosed with bipolar disorder. In August 2018, paperwork was filed to continue said conservatorship until August 2020.
In 2018, Bynes stated she had been sober for four years with the help of her parents. She also apologized for what she said on Twitter during her years of substance abuse: "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." In an interview, Bynes stated that during her days of substance abuse she would experiment with cocaine and MDMA, but the drug she "abused the most" was the ADHD prescription medication Adderall.
In December 2019, Bynes revealed that she has received face tattoo of a heart underneath her left eye, and later in 2020 she revealed that she had gotten a second heart tattooed above her eyebrow as well.