Winona Ryder Opens Up About Johnny Depp Break-Up And Her Subsequent Spiral In Hollywood

There are some celebrities who share about their Hollywood struggles, no matter how deeply upsetting they may be. Then, there are others who prefer to be private with their past lives. Winona Ryder would be an example of one of those people who lived a storied life in Hollywood but made some good comebacks going forward. The Generation X actress has decided to open up about moments of her past such as her past breakup with Johnny Depp and her subsequent spiral in Hollywood.

Winona Ryder’s least favorite subject is talking about herself. Considering the trouble she has experienced under the spotlight, it’s understandable. But she spoke to Harper’s Bazaar about coming to terms with her past such as what her life was like after her very public break-up with Johnny Depp. As she put it,

That was my Girl, Interrupted real life. 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.

In 1989, the Stranger Things star fell in love with Johnny Depp. They shared the same dark moodiness that you would appreciate in a Tim Burton movie. Hence, why it was perfect that the two of them were cast in Tim Burton’s Edward Scissorhands, one of Winona Ryder’s best movies where she played a young girl who sees the person beyond the misunderstood scissor-handed protagonist. The ‘90s pair were engaged after five months of dating but broke up after four years. Even though things didn’t work out between the two of them, the 50-year-old actress still defended Depp in court during the Depp Vs. Heard trial when he was accused of being a “wife beater.” Despite not being present at the trial, her statement said that the idea of the Pirates of the Caribbean star being violent was the “farthest thing” from the truth.

Winona Ryder had her share of mental health problems after a broken arm led her to overprescribe on painkillers which rendered her disoriented. Luckily when she was dealing with her mental health issues, she had the support of one of her former co-stars. Michelle Pfieffer, who starred with Ryder in 1993’s The Age of Innocence, offered this iconic actress some sage advice that really helped her through her struggles.

I remember Michelle [Pfeiffer] being like, ‘This is going to pass.’ But I couldn’t hear it. 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.

This Oscar-nominated woman had a very successful career in Hollywood. She made her film debut as the love-lorn outsider Rina in 1986’s Lucas. But, the film that launched her career was playing the “strange and unusual” teenager Lydia who can see ghosts in Beetlejuice. She continued playing “outsider” roles in films like Heathers, Little Women, The Crucible, and Girl, Interrupted. Unfortunately, her career came to a halt in 2001 after Ryder was arrested for shoplifting at Saks Fifth Avenue in Beverly Hills. This made her disappear from the Hollywood spotlight and remained in San Francisco. At the same time, she wasn’t getting any offers.

While Winona Ryder’s comeback was not with the sequel to Beetlejuice which was shelved at the time, she ended up heading to TV with Stranger Things. She plays Joyce Byers who is the devoted mother of Will Byers who went missing in the first season. Ryder made the character not just your typical worried mother, but a force of nature who uses her out-of-the-box thinking to save her children. In real life, she did the same thing to her young co-stars as she advised them not to let the press or the anxiety of having a Hollywood career get them down. 

You can continue to follow Joyce Byers battling the unusual forces of Hawkins, Indiana in Stranger Things: Season 4 Volume 2 premiering this Friday on your Netflix subscription.

Carly Levy
Entertainment Writer

Just your average South Floridian cinephile who believes the pen is mightier than the sword.