Nick Cannon knows about the pitfalls and tricky turns of fame. He knows how great success can whiplash into unreturned phone calls and loneliness, driving a young star into desperation.
He also knows that his friend, Amanda Bynes, is going through a tough time right now, which is why he posted a lengthy, emotional open letter to his "sister" on Wednesday offering his support and love.
"We need each other to in times of despair," he said. "No one can make it through anything alone. So I ask people who are quick to judge, tweet, report, or comment to ask yourself, 'What if that person was my sister? My brother? My Mother? Or me? What then would I say?' "
Cannon, who co-starred with Bynes on the fifth season of the Nickelodeon show "All That" in 1998-1999, explained that he's been asked a lot of questions about Amanda since the 27-year-old actress was involuntarily committed to a psychiatric ward in California last week after she set a small fire in a stranger's driveway.
"Lately I have been hit with an onslaught of questions about someone I consider family, someone I watched grow up, and someone I genuinely feel is one of the most pleasant human beings I have had the pleasure of meeting, Amanda Bynes," he wrote. Before Bynes' 5150 psychiatric hold, Cannon said he used to brush off the queries with a joke, but once she was hospitalized he said it was no laughing matter.
"I tweeted a few weeks about how the entertainment industry just consumes people and spits them out like flavorless bubblegum," he wrote. "A few chews of enjoyment then they're under a city bus bench ... Don't get me wrong this is not a pity for the popular statement. I am always the first to say that fame and entertainment is one of the best and easiest occupations to ever have, but one must know how to navigate through the matrix or you may find yourself in a very dark hole."
The problem, he said, is that when you are constantly told how great you are, expected to support your family before you can even drive and never told no, "at some point you are bound to self-destruct." Cannon said he's seen this "access to excess" take hold of many of his friends, and witnessed its destructive results.
"What do you do when you have no solid support system? When you feel like your friends are talking behind your back," he said. "When you feel your family has turned your back on you ... You find yourself alone in that dark hole. Then you have to rely on your own devices once again in this vulnerable state. You become paranoid, frantic, manic, irrational because you can't bounce your thoughts or ideas off of anyone anymore. Your reality no longer allows you to reason with the world."
Believing that no one can make it through the world alone and that no one should judge another, Cannon reached out a hand to Bynes. "We all end up alone in that dark hole at some point in our lives and if you don't have a foundation of friends and family to help bring you up and out it makes that journey long and detrimental," he wrote. "So I say to my sister Amanda Bynes you're not alone. I'm here for you. I understand. I care and I appreciate you, because that's what family does and that's what family is for."