“Hi, my name is Lindsay Lohan, and I live my life in the public eye.” Those are the first words the actress/tabloid magnet utters on her new MTV reality show Lohan Beach House, premiering on Jan. 8. But the ‘Lindsay in the Public Eye’ that we all remember has long since given up life in the spotlight and retreated away from America and our prying ways. In Lohan Beach House, we see Lindsay resurface to build a life and a business for herself overseas, but if you’re curious about how she got there, don’t worry. You’re not the only one. So, why exactly did Lindsay disappear from the spotlight?

Anyone who remembers the Lindsay of yesteryear and her incredible come up into the world of fame definitely remembers her potential. She was an incredible actress and captured the hearts of millions through her films. But as she started to hit a peak in her career, she also was coming of age. “It gets really bad sometimes, what people say,” Lindsay told Rolling Stone back in 2004, after a stint in the hospital for exhaustion after being hounded by paparazzi just as she turned 18. “Also, you know, when you come into this business, you aspire to have that recognition and be in those tabloids. If you’re not, it’s like nobody cares. Yeah. Then you’re wondering why they’re not writing about you.”

Inadvertently, Lindsay had invited the world to witness her spiral as she began the road to adulthood, despite probably knowing it would eventually destroy why she wanted to be in the limelight in the first place.

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In the same interview, Lindsay also told Rolling Stone she would never drink out at the clubs she was seen at (they had a “red bull” deal with her since she was underage) and that she didn’t do drugs, but fast forward to 2007, and Lindsay was looking at her first DUI arrest at age 21.

From there on, her laundry list of legal and sobriety issues became infamous, only to be peppered with the big promises of what were ultimately lifeless projects. Her work as a stripper in 2007’s I Know Who Killed Me, the 2009 ABC Family movie that was supposed to be a wide release called Labor Pains, her turn as Elizabeth Taylor in the disappointing Lifetime biopic Liz & Dick, and the 2013 film The Canyon, co-starring porn actor James Deen, were all projects the world was hoping she’d make her comeback on. Ultimately, however, Lindsay was unable to find that perfect project that allowed her to shine again.

The child star opened up in Aug. 2013 and said that she was “ready to get the thing that’s made me the happiest my whole life back, which is just work really hard and stay focused and prove myself in the way that I did before in the past that I lost. I have to regain the trust of people in my career that have their doubts and I fully respect that on their behalf.” She also said she had done cocaine “10 to 15 times” and that alcohol was her “drug of choice.

“I know the ups and downs of being in the spotlight,” Lindsay says in the introduction of Lohan Beach House, and if anyone does, it’s her. “People judge me every second. It’s so easy to keep going, going, going, but sometimes you have to stop. So I disappeared.” And disappear, she did — from America, anyway.

Fast forward once again to 2015, and Lindsay had decided to try her hand at acting again, this time in London. Before her turn in the play Speed The Plow on the West End, she spoke to the BBC about her past. “There are certain things that I would change — I’ve put myself in bad situations — but I don’t regret anything that’s happened because I wouldn’t be who I am today, I wouldn’t have learned the things that I know, I wouldn’t be here doing this right now.” The reviews for the show were pretty good and Lindsay supposedly kept herself in check, as there were no reports of her usual unpredictable behaviors backstage.

After hitting the US one more time to finish out a community service sentence for a 2013 reckless driving charge, Lindsay was finally a totally free woman for the first time in multiple years. So, instead of doing more acting, she latched onto causes she cared about. In Oct. 2016, she visited with Syrian refugees in Turkey and discussed her growing interest in Islam and how it helped her find her zen.

“I took the time to kind of take out and weed out the bad, and only keep the good. Then I moved to London because New York was too fast for me, because I slowed down and it kept going, and I couldn’t keep up and I wasn’t meant to,” she told a Turkish news outlet when she made her visit. “Moving to London was the best thing I’ve done for myself. I think as you grow up, life changes and you experience new things.”

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In 2016, she licensed her name to a nightclub in Athens, which made her interested in having her own businesses. By 2017, she was planning to open another club on Rhodes, a Greek island, and envisioned having her own island paradise in Dubai. Plus, Lohan Beach House was given the green light and production began.

Lindsay has been “out of the public eye,” as she says, for years, but the truth is, she never really left. She’s made such an imprint on the world that it’s clear we will always wonder and worry about her. So, we’re glad she’s back so we can keep an eye on one of our original faves.

Lohan Beach House premieres on Jan. 8, on MTV.

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