The famously private Stranger Things actress, cover star of Harper's BAZAAR's July 2022 digital issue, looked back at her highly-publicized relationship with Depp, which began in 1989 and ended in 1993 after a whirlwind engagement. "That was my Girl, Interrupted real life," Ryder said, referencing the 1999 film she starred in and executive produced about a woman's stay at a mental institution for troubled young women.
Ryder told the outlet she credits "an incredible therapist" for helping her practice self-care by imagining herself as a child. "I remember, I was playing this character who ends up getting tortured in a Chilean prison [in the 1994 film The House of the Spirits]," Ryder explained. "I would look at these fake bruises and cuts on my face [from filming], and I would struggle to see myself as this little girl. 'Would you be treating this girl like you're treating yourself?'"
Ke.Mazur/WireImage Winona Ryder and Johnny Depp
Ryder continued, "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." Ryder told the outlet that Michelle Pfeiffer, her costar in The Age of Innocence, supported her during that difficult time. "I remember Michelle being like, 'This is going to pass,'" Ryder said. "But I couldn't hear it. I've never talked about it. There's this part of me that's very private."
That privacy was fortified when Ryder took a hiatus from Hollywood following her infamous arrest for shoplifting at a Saks Fifth Avenue in 2001. "I definitely retreated," Ryder said. "I was in San Francisco. 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 L.A. and it was a rough time. And I didn't know if that part of my life was over."
Ryder has called Depp her "first real break up" and "first real heartbreak" in past interviews, while Depp has suggested that the media frenzy caused the split. "It's very hard to have a personal life in this town," he told Los Angeles Times in 1993. "My relationship with Winona, it was my mistake to be as open as we were, but I thought if we were honest it would destroy that curiosity monster. Instead it fed it, gave people license to feel they were part of it."