Dan Martensen/ Harpers Bazaar
Winona Ryder is offering rare insight into her personal life.
The actress, 50, is the cover star of Harper’s BAZAAR‘s July 2022 digital issue, looking back at her career and recent success on the Netflix hit Stranger Things. At one point in the profile, Ryder reflects on a difficult time she went through after she and Johnny Depp ended their engagement in the early 1990s.
Depp, now 59, and Ryder began dating after meeting at the New York premiere of Great Balls of Fire! in 1989. They went on their first date two months later. The pair (who costarred in the 1990 film Edward Scissorhands) got engaged five months after the first date, and Depp even got a tattoo that read “Winona Forever” — though, after their June 1993 breakup, he altered it to “Wino Forever.”
While speaking with Harper’s BazaarRyder called the breakup and the ’90s Hollywood culture at the time “my Girl, Interrupted real life,” referencing her 1999 movie about mental health struggles. She added, however, an “incredible” therapist suggested she try picturing her younger self and being kinder to that girl.
“I remember, I was playing this character who ends up getting tortured in a Chilean prison [in the 1994 drama The House of the Spirits]. I would look at these fake bruises and cuts on my face [from the shoot], and I would struggle to see myself as this little girl. ‘Would you be treating this girl like you’re treating yourself?’ I remember looking at myself and saying, ‘This is what I’m doing to myself inside.’ Because I just wasn’t taking care of myself,” she recalled.
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Dan Martensen/ Harpers Bazaar Winona Ryder on the cover of Harper’s BAZAAR’s July 2022 digital issue
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Ryder added, “I’ve never talked about it. There’s this part of me that’s very private. I have such, like, a place in my heart for those days. But for someone younger who grew up with social media, it’s hard to describe.”
Back in 2016, after Depp’s ex-wife Amber Heard got a domestic violence restraining order against the actor amid their divorce, Ryder told Time magazine that Depp was never abusive toward her in their relationship that had ended decades prior. (Depp has long denied the allegations, which Heard, 36, stands by.)
“I can only speak from my own experience, which was wildly different than what is being said,” Ryder said at the time. “He was never, never that way towards me. Never abusive at all towards me. I only know him as a really good, loving, caring guy who is very, very protective of the people that he loves.”
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“I wasn’t there. I don’t know what happened. I’m not calling anyone a liar. I’m just saying, it’s difficult and upsetting for me to wrap my head around it. Look, it was a long time ago, but we were together for four years, and it was a big relationship for me. Imagine if someone you dated when you were — I was 17 when I met him — was accused of that. It’s just shocking. I have never seen him be violent toward a person before.”
She also told Time about being “depressed” and “going through something” during the 1990s. She explained at the time, “You can’t look to the industry to validate you as a person because that can just lead to incredible disappointment. I will admit I was guilty of that when I was younger because you get caught up in it, surrounded by people that are telling you that it’s the most important thing, and you’re young and you believe it.”
Stranger Things is streaming on Netflix.