Amanda Bynes last month in NYC. (Splash News)
Amanda looking fresh-faced in 2001. (Wire Image)
Over the past year, Amanda Bynes has quickly gone from beloved teen star to troubled Hollywood has-been. After announcing in 2012 that she was retiring from acting, claiming she wanted privacy, her life became anything but private.
The former Nickelodeon darling's fall from grace started in April 2012, when she was arrested for suspicion of driving under the influence. Things went from bad to worse after she was involved in two hit-and-run accidents, one of which included her rear-ending a police cruiser. She's currently facing charges for two cases: one for driving with a suspended license and another for hit-and-run. The next hearing has been set for May 9.
But Bynes's bad driving record isn't the only thing that has given her fans cause for concern. Long gone is her girl-next-door image. She's dyed her formerly shiny tresses pink, added two facial piercings, and has supplied her fans (and pundits) with an endless stream of bizarre Twitter rants, which most recently took an R-rated turn.
On April 3, she turns 27. Let's hope that when Bynes blows out her birthday candles today she wishes to get her life back on track.
The teenage star bustin' a move in 2004. (Wire Image)
She has killer comedic timing: Before her actual life became, well, laughable, the "What I Like About You" star was an ace at delivering a punch line. In her younger years she competed for TV time with Disney teen queens, Hilary Duff and Lindsay Lohan, but there was one thing Bynes had that they didn't: a funny bone.
She's a triple threat: The girl can cut a rug, carry a tune, and act, which is no easy feat. From day one Bynes has been a star, single-handedly delivering laughs for four years on her live-action comedy and variety show, "The Amanda Show." Yeah – that's right, she did live-action comedy at the ripe age of 14 years old. Later, she wowed us with her dancing and singing skills as lollipop-loving Penny Pingleton in "Hairspray." She's talented – there's no doubt about it.
Her feel-good chick flicks were awesome: We're not ashamed to admit that crashing on the couch with a bowl of popcorn and the latest Amanda Bynes flick was the perfect recipe for a fun Friday night in high school. Sure, she wasn't going to win an Oscar for her work, but her movies always had us squealing with delight. Who can forget her transformation from New York City teen without a father to belle of the London ball opposite Colin Firth in "What a Girl Wants," or how she empowered nerds by standing up to the b**chy sorority girls during her stint as a modern-day Snow White in "Sydney White"?
Amanda and Channing Tatum posing in 2008. (Wire Image)
Secretly – you wanted to be Amanda's best friend when you were 15: Don't deny it. You loved her cool-girl style, glowing California tan, funny faces, and ability to crack jokes about herself. As a teen, she radiated confidence. Had she been your bestie, you knew that silly things like breakups and mean girls wouldn't matter. "I'm not trying to be a model. I'm an actress, a comedian – I can look goofy. That's my thing," she said to Seventeen magazine in May 2008. "I've met other actresses who were beautiful and who glided through adolescence. They had fame and money and beauty – and they knew it. I don't like those types of people. I can't relate to them." And yet, we related to Bynes.
She discovered Channing Tatum: We'll throw our support behind anyone who can sniff Channing Tatum out of an audition lineup! Okay, so she didn't really "discover" Channing Tatum, but the then-21-year-old did bring him (and his drool-worthy abs) to our attention when she starred alongside him in his first major role in "She's the Man." After playing the hottie soccer player, Tatum's star has continued to rise and he's since been dubbed the "Sexiest Man Alive." That's reason enough to love Bynes.
Happy 27th birthday, Amanda! We miss you – come back!
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