The Heartbreaking Downfall of a Hollywood Golden Girl: Amanda Peterson's Troubled Past Before Her Death at Age 43

Can't Buy Me Love '80s Star Arrested four times between 2000 and 2012

Photo: Weld County Sheriff's Office (4)

Since the sudden death of actress Amanda Peterson, best known for her role in Can't Buy Me Love, PEOPLE has confirmed that the '80s star struggled after falling out of the spotlight and was arrested numerous times between 2000 and 2012.

According to the Weld County Sheriff's Office in Greeley, Colorado, she was most recently arrested for a DUI and possessing narcotic equipment on May 3, 2012.

On March 10. 2010, Peterson was arrested for third-degree assault following a fight with another woman in Fort Collins, Colorado, according to a police report. Peterson "appeared intoxicated" and "was slurring her speech," the officer wrote and had been drinking earlier at a bar with her young daughter and then-boyfriend. Her boyfriend told police that Peterson was taking medication for bipolar disorder and ADD and was not supposed to drink.

The troubled starlet was also arrested in 2000, 2003 and 2005. Her mugshots show the actress almost unrecognizable, and in one picture, she has a black eye.

According to Sheriff's Office records obtained by PEOPLE, she spent nearly three months in jail in 2005. She was arrested in September and released in December.

On Sunday, she was found dead at 43 in her Greeley, Colorado, home, but her cause of death has yet to be determined, pending an autopsy report.

Her mother, Sylvia Peterson, tells Entertainment Tonight that her daughter struggled with drugs when she was younger but had been clean for a long time and this "this was not, in any way, a drug thing."

Sylvia also spoke with PEOPLE and said she suspects her daughter's sleep apnea may have contributed to her death.

She also shared some of her daughter's final moments.

"She was in bed, and she'd had a wonderful day, and we were planning on a dinner the next day," Sylvia says of her daughter, "so it was just a very, very big surprise."

She also remembers her daughter, who made her big-screen debut in Annie, as someone who "was just so much fun."

"She was so great," she says. "She had a cute sense of humor and a love of history – just a very, very cute person."

Fellow stars, including Patrick Dempsey, have paid a tribute to her.

The actor took to Twitter and wrote, "In my memory, she will always be vibrant and young. Gone too soon. Sending my thoughts and prayers to Amanda's family."

Photographer Ryan Hartsock, who worked with Peterson on a 2012 photo shoot, tells PEOPLE that she was "kindhearted."

They remained in touch and would often meet up at Starbucks.

"She had the greatest smile. I know it brightened her day when she got all the emails and fan mail from everybody," he says. "Really any time that we were together she was a kindhearted, great person."

Related Articles