|Olympic medalist Amanda Beard|
Now, she’s selling her new book; billed as a behind-the-scenes, no-holds-barred look at the real Amanda Beard. The details are not always pretty. She documents a life filled with depression, bulimia, self-mutilation and shattered relationships, in the hope – she says – of helping women who are facing similar struggles.
"I looked back on some of the things that I went through throughout my life, and I just know there are so many women and young women and athletes that are going through the same things that I went through," said Beard. “I felt like they could really take a lot from my story. You shouldn't be embarrassed of emotions and things that you're going through and dealing with. There is a way to work through things and come out on the other side and be successful and happy."
Unfortunately, Beard’s attempt at self-help quickly degenerates into sensationalism, name-dropping and serial buck passing.
Enter former beau Carl Edwards.
Beard dated the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver for less than a year in 2005 and 2006. During that brief period of time, they reigned as NASCAR’s most-photographed couple; the auto racing equivalent of Tom Brady and Giselle Bundchen. Edwards and Beard juggled their relationship and respective careers for a few months before things cooled, as relationships between career-oriented 20-somethings often do.
At the time of their split, Beard said only that Edwards was, “too intense” for her liking. Edwards said nothing. Now, however, the seven-time Olympic medalist paints Edwards as an egocentric, domineering straight-arrow who caused their relationship to end “severely and permanently.”
She says the Roush Fenway Racing driver was “adamant that his way was the only right one,” and that their relationship was based entirely on Edwards’ likes and needs. “He never asked me what I might like to do,” writes Beard. “He only wanted to be on Carl time. He couldn’t imagine any other kind of time.”
What’s that, you say? A relationship between two career-oriented young people broke apart half a decade ago, and one party still blames the other? Shocking.
You say the aggrieved party is dredging up old grudges to spice up her autobiography and boost sales? Unheard of.
Beard’s tell-all book is at times an interesting read, filled with first-hand warnings about the pitfalls of early fame. While not a talented writer, Beard charts an interesting course through the rigors of drug abuse, mental illness and broken relationships, giving hope to those who may be wandering the same unfortunate path she once followed.
However, an insistence on blaming others for her myriad mistakes removes much of the luster from her story. Unwittingly, Beard portrays herself as shallow, immature, self-centered and whiny. And by trashing people like Edwards, she succeeds only in demeaning herself.
"I did a really good job of… putting on such a fake face when I was out in public, or around certain people," writes Beard.
After reading her book, one wonders if that “fake face” remains.