Inside Amanda Bynes' Private World: See How She's Staging Her Return to Hollywood

Amanda Bynes
As tweets go, they were #basic. When Amanda Bynes logged onto her social media page in August of 2016 after a six-month hiatus, the messages she shared bordered on banal.
She was swamped with classes at L.A.'s Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising, she said, and had just made it through midterms. "I am really loving school and I feel that I am learning a lot," she detailed in her first tweets since showing off a fresh haircut that February. "I enjoy all of my classes and my teachers are excellent." In fact she was so focused on her studies, she said, "I don't have time to tweet."
Requesting that Drake you-know-what her vagina this was not. Bynes, who marks her 32nd birthday today, has come a long way since she rushed to share every thought that crossed her mind with her 3.2 million followers. (For the record, she's said she was trying to be funny with her Drake missive, "but I was also on drugs.") Nearly four years sober since her lowest point saw her placed on an involuntary psychiatric hold, the Thousand Oaks, California native is focused on working with a life coach—a source tells E! News their relationship "is productive and helpful,"—and completing her studies this fall. Explains the source, "She really wants to finish what she started at FIDM."
And then, should all go to plan, return to her roots. Despite announcing her retirement in 2010 with—what else—a tweet declaring "I don't love acting anymore, so I've stopped doing it," the former child star revealed in an interview last June that she misses performing. "I have something surprising to tell you," she teased in her chat with The Lowdown host Diana Madison, "I'm going to start acting again."
Discovered at a Los Angeles children's comedy camp as a grade-schooler, Bynes showed a natural gift for physical comedy when she began her six-year run on the Nickelodeon sketch show All That in 1996. "She is fearless," former costar Kel Mitchell assessed of her skills in a February appearance on E!'s Daily Pop. As she scored her own spinoff, The Amanda Show, and collected roles in everything from What a Girl Wants to Hairspray, industry insiders praised both her comedic timing and her ability to avoid the Hollywood club scene that had waylaid other young stars.
"I've seen kids in her position experiment with drugs and be too promiscuous, but Amanda has avoided all that," producer Dan Schneider asserted of the then-16-year-old in a 2002 New York Times profile that touted Bynes as a "proud product" of the Nick pipeline. "My wife, who knows her, says she's almost like Marcia Brady in that she's so clean-cut and wholesome."
Turns out it was a part she played just a bit too well. As she was continuously cast as the uptight best friend (Hairspray) or the bubbly, somewhat goofy teen (What I Like About You) she reportedly grew resentful that she wasn't scoring the more mature roles being offered to the likes of, say, Lindsay Lohan. "Everybody had her as a goody-goody. She couldn't break out of that genre," an unnamed executive explained to The Hollywood Reporter. "Her frustration was, 'I could have played this role; I could have played that role. I'm not getting the Lindsay Lohan roles.'"
With any luck, her next update will come with a tune-in. In his Daily Pop appearance, Mitchell indicated he'd be up for hosting a reunion on his Nickelodeon comedy series Game Shakers. "That would be awesome!" he said. "I love Amanda." And the role would fit right in with her current plan. Bynes' focus, she said, is to start on the small screen: "maybe a few guests spots on some shows that I'm a fan of," she explained, "and maybe another TV show that I'm the star of it."
For now, she's keyed in on being the leading lady of her own successful existence. Having scrubbed her twitter clean of remnants from her toughest days, only 38 missives remain with perhaps the most telling coming in late 2014. "Stay true to who you are," she wrote that November, adding a month later, "If you aren't my friend at my worst, then you aren't my friend at my best."