I remember when Amanda Bynes was that perky kid with her own sketch comedy show. What's happened to her?
—Monique M., via the inbox
The onetime Nickelodeon darling certainly has had her share of drama, including not one, not two, but four car-related disasters this year alone. We're talking one DUI arrest, one investigation for an alleged hit-and-run, and two collisions. Bynes has denied drinking and driving, demanding legal aid from President Obama of all people.
She's also mysteriously stripped her Twitter account. So what might be happening in Bynes's world...other than a need for a chauffeur?
Well, it could be anything, of course—a bad breakup, or just a bad handle on the wheel.
But know this: Former child actors have unique problems and stresses, so if this pattern looks a bit familiar (AHEMLindsayLohan) it's not your imagination. According to psychologists who work with former child actors, many of them have trouble adjusting to the decline of a once thriving career, and they act out subconsciously, in ways such as, yes, car accidents.
Now, this may not be what's going on with Bynes. I know plenty of non-famous people who really need to get a bike. But there is that possibility. After all, Bynes has not had a film gig in two years. She has not headlined a movie in five. And she has not starred in a genuine money-maker since 2006's She's The Man, which grossed a modest $13-ish million more at the box office than it cost to make.
Do not think that those facts have been lost on the 26-year-old, says Dr. Gilda Carle, who has worked with some very famous kid stars who have, yes, spiraled out of control.
"A lot of child actors just don't want to to give up" the biz even if their career is flagging, Carle says. "The enticement of the fame, and all that glitter and glamour, is so great and strong, they figure that they can get a piece of that pie again...by getting their names out there.
"Unconsciously, I am absolutely certain that's what's going on. There has to be an element of that going on here."
Whatever is going on here, there's one thing Bynes should know: There's nothing wrong with a bus pass.