Before Stranger Things made an unlikely hit out of Kate Bush’s “Running Up That Hill,” it resuscitated the career of another ’80s darling: Winona Ryder. She was once the coolest girl on the red carpet, but her image took a hit after a shoplifting scandal the tabloids covered with, let’s say, a less-than-sensitive touch. In an era when Britney Spears’s and Janet Jackson’s supposed misdeeds have been reconsidered, Ryder’s comeback is all but complete. As the fourth season of the hit show continues to break viewership records on Netflix, the Reality Bites star is opening up about the highs and lows of her rise to fame, including her difficult breakup with her controversial Edward Scissorhands costar Johnny Depp.
“That was my Girl, Interrupted real life,” she said in a recent interview in Harper’s Bazaar, referring to her post-Depp period. Though the pair were once engaged, they had a tumultuous split in 1993 that resulted in the Pirates star getting his “Winona Forever” tattoo changed to the sadly prophetic “Wino Forever.”
Ryder says that even as her career took off, her mental health suffered. “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…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.”
Her Age of Innocence costar Michelle Pfeiffer tried to be of support, says Ryder, recalling, “I remember Michelle being like, ‘This is going to pass.’ But I couldn’t hear it.”
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