Home » Blogs » Celebrity Psychings » Amanda Peterson Struggled with Addiction Before Death

Amanda Peterson Struggled with Addiction Before Death

The 1980s was a magical time for teen movies. Along with the big titles such as The Breakfast Club a nd Ferris Bueller’s Day Off was a film called, Can’t Buy Me Love, which helped launch Patrick Dempsey’s lengthy career. His co-star, Amanda Peterson, was a big reason for the flick’s success – boys wanted to date her and girls wanted to look like her. Unfortunately, the good times didn’t last.

Sudden Death

Last week, reports emerged that Peterson had unexpectedly passed away at the age of 43 at her home in Greeley, Colorado. No official cause of death has been released but her family have already held a memorial service honoring the actress. A photo and video montage from Peterson’s younger years and career was shown to mourners as they listened to Eddie Vedder’s “Rise.” Rather than being a completely somber occasion, it sounds as though they chose to celebrate Peterson’s life.

Signs of Trouble

After completing the 1994 film, Windrunner, things began to unravel for the actress. Her mother has said that she struggled with drug addiction later in life and had repeated run-ins with the law. Between 2000 and 2012, Peterson was arrested five times, most recently for both a DUI and possession of narcotic equipment.


Peterson made her debut in the 1982 film, Annie, and went on to appear on numerous television shows before landing the lead in Can’t Buy Me Love. Her career never reached the height of Dempsey’s or other young stars from that decade but her performance was impactful. She portrayed a popular, beautiful, rich high school girl who makes a deal with a male classmate who feels invisible. He paid her to pretend to befriend him and help him gain acceptance with their peers but, in the end, the unlikely pair developed real feelings for each other.  The film was remade in 2007 with Christina Milian and Nick Cannon but it never fully recaptured the charm of the original.  It will live on as a true classic.

Family Support

We may not ever know what claimed the life of Amanda Peterson but her friends and family have made it clear that she will be missed. Her longtime friend, Tawnya Bowie, told People: “She was our Mandy and I loved her no matter what. People always have a past; no one is ever perfect.”

Everyone deserves that kind of unconditional love and support, regardless of what difficulties they are facing. It’s clear that Amanda Peterson struggled in her later years but, hopefully, she is now at peace.

Amanda Peterson Struggled with Addiction Before Death

Jeanne Croteau

Jeanne has been a celebrity blogger for eight years and also teaches psychology at the college level. In addition to her passion for mental health, she is an avid reader, hockey fan and mother of four.

No comments yet... View Comments / Leave a Comment



APA Reference
Croteau, J. (2015). Amanda Peterson Struggled with Addiction Before Death. Psych Central. Retrieved on June 2, 2020, from


Last updated: 14 Jul 2015
Statement of review: Psych Central does not review the content that appears in our blog network ( prior to publication. All opinions expressed herein are exclusively those of the author alone, and do not reflect the views of the editorial staff or management of Psych Central. Published on All rights reserved.