Amanda Peterson’s sudden death at the age of 43 stunned fans nationwide. Although her cause of death was determined to be an accidental drug overdose, her family revealed she also suffered from mental illness — as she was raped when she was 15-years-old.
As reported by People, the Can’t Buy Me Love actress underwent a painful hysterectomy in the months prior to her death. According to reports, Amanda self-medicated with morphine, which she got from an unnamed friend.
Although the autopsy lists morphine overdose as the official cause of death, a toxicology screening confirmed the actress also had a variety of other medications in her system.
Dr. Micheal Burson, who wrote and signed the autopsy, noted Amanda Peterson was also taking medication “to treat depression, anxiety, pain and insomnia.” The toxicology screening also detected trace amounts of marijuana.
Burson concluded the actress was not a habitual drug abuser. In his opinion, “the decedent was attempting to self-medicate her pain at the time of death.”
A native of Greeley, Colorado, Amanda Peterson made her acting debut at the age of 9 in the hit film Annie. According to IMDb, the talented young actress was one of more than 8,000 girls who auditioned for the role.
Throughout the early 1980s, Amanda appeared in more than 50 commercials. She also made guest appearances on several television series, including Father Murphy and Silver Spoons.
In 1985, she was cast alongside Ethan Hawke and River Phoenix in the hit fantasy film Explorers. However, Amanda Peterson will always be remembered for her starring role in the 1987 comedy Can’t Buy Me Love.
Although she had great success as a teen actress, Amanda was hiding a painful secret.
According to her mother, Sylvia, the young actress was raped at the age of 15 by a 42-year-old man. Unfortunately, Amanda did not discuss the incident until two years later.
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Sylvia said she “engaged an attorney and was ready to go full-press.” However, the young actress “absolutely refused” to cooperate.
“She just felt so ashamed. She didn’t want people to know… I think it affected her forever.”
During a recent interview, Dr. James Peterson said the rape made a profound impact on his daughter’s emotional and mental health.
“After that she became so defensive, less trusting. Some of the sparkle was gone… she did have significant bipolar problems.”
Between 2000 and 2012, Amanda Peterson was arrested numerous times on charges of assault, driving under the influence, and drug possession. However, her family insists she was clean at the time of her death.
[Image via Cinemagia]