Winona Ryder reflects on her breakup from Johnny Depp during the '90s: ‘My ‘Girl, Interrupted’ real life’

Winona Ryder reflects on her breakup from Johnny Depp during the '90s: ‘My ‘Girl, Interrupted’ real life’

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Winona Ryder is looking back at her relationship with Johnny Depp.

The pair 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. Then five months after the first date, the two Hollywood stars got engaged. They appeared in the 1990 film “Edward Scissorhands” and Depp even got a tattoo that read “Winona Forever.”

But in June 1993, the couple called it quits. Depp famously altered his body art to “Wino Forever.”

Ryder, who is on the cover of Harper’s Bazaar’s July 2022 digital issue, called their breakup and the Hollywood culture at the time “my ‘Girl, interrupted’ real life,” referring to her 1999 movie about mental health struggles.


Winona Ryder is on the cover of Harper's Bazaar July 2022 digital issue.

Winona Ryder is on the cover of Harper’s Bazaar July 2022 digital issue. (Dan Martensen)

The 50-year-old told the outlet that an “incredible” therapist suggested she try picturing her younger self and being kinder to her.

“I remember, I was playing this character who ends up getting tortured in a Chilean prison [for the 1994 film ‘The House of the Spirits’],” she 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.”

“I’ve never talked about it,” Ryder admitted. “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.”

Ryder also noted that she “definitely retreated” from the tabloids in the early 2000s.


Winona Ryder and Johnny Depp called it quits in June 1993.

Winona Ryder and Johnny Depp called it quits in June 1993. (Barry King/WireImage)

“I was in San Francisco,” she told the outlet. “But I also wasn’t getting offers. I think it was a very mutual break. It’s so interesting when you look at the early aughts. It was a kind of cruel time. There was a lot of meanness out there… And then I remember coming back to LA and – it was a rough time. And I didn’t know if that part of my life was over.”

In 2016, Depp’s ex-wife Amber Heard got a domestic violence restraining order against the actor amid their divorce. Ryder, who is known for keeping mum about her personal life, told Time magazine that Depp was never abusive toward her during their relationship, which had ended decades prior. Depp, now 59, has long denied the allegations.

“I can only speak from my own experience, which was wildly different than what is being said,” Ryder explained at the time. “He was never, never that way toward me. Never abusive at all toward me. I only know him as a really good, loving, caring guy who is very, very protective of the people that he loves.”

“I wasn’t there. I don’t know what happened. I’m not calling anyone a liar,” Ryder continued. “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.”


Winona Ryder detailed to Harper's Bazaar how her breakup from Johnny Depp impacted her in the '90s.

Winona Ryder detailed to Harper’s Bazaar how her breakup from Johnny Depp impacted her in the ’90s. (Dan Martensen)

Ryder also described being “depressed” and “going through something” during the 1990s, around the time that she and Depp broke up.

“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.”