Winona Ryder: I Struggled to ‘Take Care of Myself’ After Johnny Depp Split
A difficult time. Winona Ryder revealed that she was in a lot of “pain” following her 1993 split from former fiancé Johnny Depp.
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“That was my Girl, Interrupted real life,” the Stranger Things star, 50, told Harper’s Bazaar in an article published on Tuesday, June 28, comparing her mental state at the time to her 1999 film, which chronicled the lives of several girls in a psychiatric hospital in the late 1960s. In the movie, Ryder played Susanna, who was admitted to the hospital after having a nervous breakdown and attempting to take her own life.
While the Edward Scissorhands star didn’t go into detail about her struggles, she did reveal that her Age of Innocence costar Michelle Pfeiffer was a source of support during her hard time. “I remember Michelle being like, ‘This is going to pass.’ But I couldn’t hear it,” Ryder recalled. “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.”
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Eventually, with the help of “an incredible therapist,” Ryder was able to heal by imagining being gentle to a younger version of herself. “I remember, I was playing this character who ends up getting tortured in a Chilean prison [in The House of Spirits],” the Little Women star recalled. “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.”
All of the pressure and scrutiny came to a head in 2001, when Ryder was arrested for shoplifting at Saks Fifth Avenue in Beverly Hills. “I definitely retreated,” she said. “I was in San Francisco. But I also wasn’t getting offers. I think it was a very mutual break.”
She continued: “It’s so interesting when you look at the early aughts. It was a kind of a cruel time. There was a lot of meanness out there…. And then I remember coming back to L.A. and — it was a rough time. And I didn’t know if that part of my life was over.”
Ryder previously opened up about the impact the arrest had on her career. “Psychologically, I must have been at a place where I just wanted to stop,” she told Porter magazine in August 2016. “I won’t get into what happened, but it wasn’t what people think. And it wasn’t like the crime of the century! But it allowed me time that I really needed, where I went back to San Francisco and got back into things that … I just had other interests, frankly.”
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The Heathers star was discouraged from taking time away from Hollywood, although she ultimately realized that it was the best choice for her at that time. “People would tell me, ‘Oh, you should be doing this, or that, and you have to keep working otherwise people will forget about you,’” Ryder recalled. “But I learned to stop listening to those voices.”
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