UPDATE (3/22/2022): Amanda Bynes is a free woman. Nearly nine years after the Easy A actor was placed in a court-ordered conservatorship that gave her mother decision-making power over her healthcare and security, a judge terminated the guardianship arrangement Tuesday.
“The court finds that petitioner has provided facts that the conservatorship is no longer needed or required, therefore the petition for termination is granted,” Ventura County Judge Roger Lund said at the morning hearing that Bynes did not attend.
“She’s done everything the court has asked over a long period of time,” the judge said.
“She’s excited. She was looking forward to a favorable result, and she got it,” Bynes lawyer, David Esquibias, told Rolling Stone immediately after the hearing. He later released a statement from his client.
“Words can’t even describe how I feel. Wonderful news. Following today’s decision by the judge to terminate my conservatorship, I would like to thank my fans for their love and well wishes during this time,” Bynes said in the written statement sent to Rolling Stone.
“I would also like to thank my lawyer and my parents for their support over the last nine years. In the last several years, I have been working hard to improve my health so that I can live and work independently, and I will continue to prioritize my well-being in this next chapter. I am excited about my upcoming endeavors, including my fragrance, and look forward to sharing more when I can,” she said.
Before the hearing ended, Judge Lund ordered a final accounting for the conservatorship be sent to Bynes and her lawyer. He said if Bynes had “any problems” with it, she could file a separate petition for something more comprehensive. “Nevertheless, let’s hope, well, I have no reason to believe, based on everything that’s happened in this case, that there’s anything wrong,” the judge said.
“Nor do I,” Esquibias answered.
The court previously approved the transfer of Bynes’ assets to a lifetime trust formed outside the conservatorship with Bynes’ father as the trustee.
Bynes’ case has drawn parallels with that of pop star Britney Spears, considering both women achieved fame early in their careers and ended up living under the strict supervision of parent conservators for most of their adult lives.
At least seven members of the #FreeBritney movement showed up for Bynes’ hearing to support her petition while pushing for new legislation that would codify a supportive decision-making alternative to California’s current conservatorship system.
“I’m thrilled for Amanda and for her freedom, and I’m really glad that her case is continuing to shed light on the issue on California’s problematic conservation system. I think there were a lot of similarities between Amanda’s and Britney’s cases. I think both were established at times when these women needed support without having their civil rights and liberties taken away,” #FreeBritney L.A. leader Kevin Wu told Rolling Stone after witnessing the hearing live in Oxnard, Calif.
Originally published 3/21/2022
Amanda Bynes is on track to exit her court-ordered conservatorship at a major hearing Tuesday. It marks an expected end to the arrangement that has managed her life since 2013 and drawn parallels to the recently terminated conservatorship of fellow former child star Britney Spears.
In a tentative order issued Monday, the Ventura County judge overseeing Bynes’ case found that the Easy A actor, 35, provided sufficient “facts” in a Feb. 22 filing to convince the court her “conservatorship is no longer needed.” The facts included her submission of a confidential capacity declaration from a Cedars Sinai psychiatrist that concluded Bynes “has capacity to give informed consent to any form of medical treatment,” Judge Roger Lund wrote in his tentative order obtained by Rolling Stone.
“The court determines that the conservatorship is no longer required and that grounds for establishment of a conservatorship of the person no longer exist. The court intends to grant the petition for termination and order the conservatorship of the person of Amanda Bynes be terminated,” the tentative order issued ahead of Tuesday’s hearing states.
Judge Lund wrote that he would be willing to discuss Bynes’ related request for an account of her trust assets, but he said his hands were tied after considering her money was transferred outside the conservatorship in 2017 and now resides in lifetime trust with her father as the trustee. The judge said Bynes would have to file a different petition in a separate trust case to force such an accounting, but “perhaps an accounting by the trustee can be arranged outside of a formal court case.”
Bynes was placed in her high-profile conservatorship after she allegedly set a small fire in a neighbor’s driveway near her parents’ home and was placed on an involuntary psychiatric hold in 2013.
She filed to end the conservatorship on Feb. 22, citing her success living in a “structured community for women,” her “above average grades” while pursuing her bachelor’s degree at the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising, and the confidential report from her psychiatrist that found she “has no apparent impairment in alertness and attention, information and processing or ability to modulate mood and effect and suffers no thought disorders.”
Her mom and conservator, Lynn Bynes, made clear in a March 10 response filing that she did not object to the termination. According to the filing signed by her lawyer, Tamar Arminak, Lynn Bynes said she “would be happy to provide a more current asset and liability audit through (Amanda’s) business management firm within a reasonable time.”
“In all honestly, her mom is so happy and excited. Amanda’s whole family is happy to restart a relationship with Amanda that has nothing to do with this conservatorship,” Arminak tells Rolling Stone. “Both parents and both siblings want the cloud of this conservatorship removed so that everyone can go back to the old relationship they had, which was loving, simple and peaceful in their family.”
Arminak says Amanda’s parents are proud of their daughter’s achievements and in favor of her previously announced engagement to boyfriend Paul Michael. “They really like her fiancée very much, so they’re happy to see the next chapter of her life,” Arminak says.
In her petition last month, Amanda Bynes informed the court she’s been living in a “structured community for women” since 2020. “Initially, Ms. Bynes lived in a transitional house where she practiced daily life skills, tended to her therapeutic needs, prepared for integration into a productive lifestyle and worked towards developing a sustainable routine,” her filing states.
“In 2021, Ms. Bynes transitioned into the apartment community, which offers an independent living environment for women poised to transition into an autonomous lifestyle. The independent living apartment provides continued accountability through ongoing random toxicology screenings, weekly apartment checks and a weekly case management session with her case manager,” her paperwork says. “The case manager in the community reports Ms. Bynes consistently tests negative for illicit substances in her system. Ms. Bynes desiers to live free of any constraint.”
Now retired, Bynes shot to fame on the Nickelodeon children’s show All That in the late 1990s and played Holly Tyler on the WB sitcom What I Like About You before transitioning to big screen roles including What a Girl Wants in 2003 and Hairspray in 2007.