In October of 2002, things were looking very good for Amanda Bynes. The then 16-year-old actress was coming off of her first starring role in a feature film, Big Fat Liar; her new WB show, What I Like About You, had just premiered; The Amanda Show, a showcase spin-off of All That, was Nickelodeon’s most popular Saturday night show, even though it had been airing reruns for the last two years. As a child actress, Bynes had dominated her peer demographic, and was setting her sights on a larger, more mature audience. The only direction to go was up, in her and her mentors’ eyes. “Many a ‘True Hollywood Story’ has been told about show-business kids going bad,” the New York Times wrote then, “but Ms. Bynes seems remarkably self-possessed and far more sedate than the highly caffeinated characters she plays on television.” In the same article, Dan Schneider, who produced nearly everything Bynes had starred in up to that point, reinforced the Times' confident assertion: “I’ve seen kids in her position experiment with drugs and be too promiscuous, but Amanda has avoided all that. My wife, who knows her, says she’s almost like Marcia Brady in that she’s so clean-cut and wholesome.”

For the following decade, those statements read like an appropriate assessment. Now they’re the most foreboding and ominous sentences ever written about Amanda Bynes.

From 2012 to 2015, Bynes’ public status was a compressed roller coaster, valleys in which Bynes would run into serious legal trouble or rant about Hitler on Twitter and subsequent peaks in which reports would claim she was “recovering” and “doing better again.” And though attention on Bynes was perhaps at an all-time high during that period, the chaotic coverage of her personal life overshadowed what we were really witnessing: the flame-out of a promising actress.