I couldn't not talk about the things that I felt with other people.Those are big chunks of my life." Adrift after Athens, Beard found herself inspired to continue swimming not by Edwards, but by his rivals Dale Jarrett and Mark Martin, who both won races in their late 40s.They began a volatile relationship that lasted through the 2004 Athens Olympics.Beard writes how the couple had "loud screaming mean fights" and she started cutting herself to escape the pain. "I was trying to figure out how to live in a bad relationship." Beard's star eventually eclipsed Neethling's, something she said he couldn't accept even though she was supporting him financially after turning pro.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.Swimming was the only area in which Beard rarely wavered.
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.
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.