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She made her fourth Olympic team in 2008, although she finished 18th in Beijing.
Still plagued by her history of negative feelings about her body, Beard nonetheless parlayed her California surfer girl looks into sexy magazine shoots, including a Playboy spread in 2007.
But even that wasn't much of a refuge after she burst on the international scene by winning two silver medals in the breaststroke events and gold in the relay at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics.
Beard hit puberty soon after, going through a growth spurt that added 6 inches and 30 pounds to her slender frame.
Not long after their relationship ended, Beard began dating NASCAR driver Carl Edwards, who comes off as controlling and jealous in the book.
She writes that while their sex life sizzled, Edwards tried to control her, ordering her not to talk to other drivers at his races.
She was still cutting herself and the unhappiness that Beard had pushed deep inside frequently surfaced in fits of smashing dishes and expensive sunglasses around their house.
It wasn't until Brown confronted Beard and encouraged her to seek therapy that she began addressing the issues that had made her miserable for years.
"It was definitely a snowball effect," she said Thursday from New York where she was promoting the book.
Her mother moved out and Amanda lived with her father in their Irvine, Calif., home.
Her two older sisters were already out of the house.
Those things just kind of built off each other." Beard started drinking in high school, when she hated her looks and felt unlovable.
Adding to her burden was a case of mild dyslexia that made her cry daily and led to grades of Cs and Ds.(AP) Amanda Beard is happily married and a proud mom, finally at peace after years of struggling at various times with depression, bulimia, drug abuse and toxic relationships with famous men while feeling unworthy of the swimming success that made her an Olympic medalist at 14.