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Winona Ryder tends to keep her private life private, for good reason. She was the Hollywood It Girl of the 90s, which put her under a lot of scrutiny and judgment from the industry that historically is not good with young people. Now, she gets to protect the teens on Stranger Things both from demons in the show and in real life, as she has a first-hand experience of just how horrible tabloids can be to a person, specifically after a highly publicized breakup.
Ryder infamously dated her co-star Johnny Depp in 1989, when she was a teenager and he was nearly 26. She rarely discusses the relationship, just a few tidbits over the years about her “first real heartbreak” and a mention of being “very depressed” at the time.
“I’ve never talked about it,” Ryder recently told Harper’s Bazaar. “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 then called the relationship her Girl, Interrupted moment in real life, referencing her 1999 movie about a young woman living in a psych hospital.
The actress credits her “incredible therapist” for helping her get through the breakup. “I remember, I was playing this character who ends up getting tortured in a Chilean prison,” 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,” Ryder added, saying her therapist would ask her, “‘Would you be treating this girl like you’re treating yourself?’”
Since the breakup, Ryder has obviously led a quiet but successful life, recently having her Hollywood renaissance thanks to Stranger Things’ massive popularity. Maybe one of their many spinoffs can focus on Joyce? We need it.