Winona Ryder and Johnny Depp fell in love immediately. After five months of acquaintance, they were engaged. They believed that they would be together forever. After they broke up, she became depressed and addicted, and he had a serious breakdown. He never came back to himself again. Winona stole his soul, commented Tim Burton.
It was love at first sight, so claimed Depp. He was 26 when he saw Winona for the first time in 1989, she was just under 18. They met in New York at the premiere of “Big Fireballs,” starring Ryder. I went to get a Coke during a banquet – she recalled. – And suddenly our eyes met. It was like a scene from “West Side Story” – said Depp. – A close-up only on her, everything else seems to blur. Soon after, they agreed on a first date.
Winona told reporters that Johnny had taken her with shyness, gentleness. She thought he was a “conceited asshole,” but he turned out to be a lonely romantic. And he was so handsome.
They quickly became one of the hottest couples of the ’90s – a time of ripped jeans, washed-out T-shirts, pulled-out sweaters, Nirvana and grunge‘u. They were considered rebels in Hollywood. And after the film “Edward Scissorhands” by Tim Burton, in which they played together – they were seen as contemporary Romeo and Juliet. It is said that Tom Cruise, who was at the height of his fame at the time, was supposed to get the title role, but Ryder, who was cast as Julia, forced the producers to hire Depp. They were already engaged – the actor asked his beloved to marry him five months after the first date. Of course, Winona agreed immediately.
Johnny tattooed on his arm: “Winona Forever”
Depp was Ryder’s first love. He had a wife and two fiancées before. In 1983, he married make-up artist Lori Anne Allison. The marriage lasted two years, but it was thanks to Lori and her acquaintances in the film community that Johnny got to the first casting. Shortly after his divorce, he became engaged to “Dirty Dancing” star Jennifer Gray; this sudden love quickly burned out. The actor’s next fiancée was Sherilyn Fenn, known from the TV hit “Twin Peaks Town”, they were together for almost four years.
I’ve never felt for anyone what I feel for Winona – he spoke as her partner. They chose New York as their home because, they claimed, it suited their personality and lifestyle the best. They probably also expected to be more anonymous there than in Los Angeles. Thanks to the many texts written about them at that time, we can imagine how quickly Winona and Johnnye’s apartment filled up with CDs, videotapes, books. For days they watched movies or read beatniks and JD Salinger, raved about The Catcher in the Rye. They liked to wander around bookstores looking for the first copies of their favorite novels. But they could also spend the whole day lying snuggled against each other and listening to Madonna’s “Crazy for You.” It was their song.
Back in 1990 on Johnny’s right shoulder‘Depp’s ego has a tattoo: “Winona Forever”. I was totally shocked – said Ryder on The Rolling Stone. – I kept telling myself it was only a moment, that it would wash off in the bath. I couldn’t believe he was real. After all, such a tattoo is something for ever!
– I could die for her – confessed the actor in one of the interviews. And she said she had to have something to do with Johnny at all times – his jacket, necklace, bracelet, or picture. Their mutual adoration was bordering on obsession. Winona once accompanied her fiancé when he was giving an interview. She smoked every cigarette after it, even though she didn’t smoke herself.
And there were still paparazzi around them, they drove after the couple even to gas stations. The journalist, author of books, Bill Zehme, wrote about the media interest in Winona and Johnny, among others in “The Rolling Stone”. But Depp and Ryder weren’t hiding at all. They attended premieres, festivals and galas, gave interviews together and posed for photos. And as soon as they appeared on the red carpet, the audience went wild. Because in the early 90s, almost every teenager had a poster of Winona, or Johnny, or both of them in their room.
Ryder and Depp split up after four years
Johnny couldn’t cope with the fact that their private lives were talked about more than their roles. And they played a lot, they were one of the most cast actors of their generation. Soon after “Edward Scorses”, Winona starred in Cher’s Sirens, Francis Ford Coppola’s “Dracula,” then Martin Scorsese’s “Age of Innocence,” for which May Welland received her first Oscar nomination. Johnny starred in Emir Kusturica and in “What’s Eating Gilbert Grape,” where he was partnered by teenage Leonardo DiCaprio.
Three years after their engagement, the press was still wondering when they were going to get married, the paparazzi were haunting them, they were more and more aggressive, and the fans wanted even more Johnny‘ego and Winony. Ryder was then starting work on “Little Women,” one of the most important films in her career, and Depp was setting up The Viper Room music club on the Sunset Strip. There, on Halloween 1993, the body of actor River Phoenix was found. He was 23, he overdosed. It was a dramatic end to a difficult time for Johnny‘ego and Winony. This year they broke up.
Winona fell into a self-destructive spiral. She spent her days alone in the house she once shared with Johnny, or in the hotel room, drinking, taking tranquillizers, listening to Tom Waits, and smoking. One night she fell asleep on the sofa with a lit cigarette in her hand. She woke up surrounded by flames. Then she decided to pull herself together. But she never stopped mentioning Johnny‘ego with tenderness. Years later, she said: When I met him, I was a virgin in every way. Johnny changed that. He was my first. A boyfriend. The fiancée. A lover. It was the first time I kissed him. Therefore, it will always be in my heart.
Johnny was struggling to break up with his soul mate, as he often called Winona. At the time, he was working on the set of Tim Burton’s “Ed Wood”. The director recalled that Depp often stood in front of the camera in tears. When he asked Johnny why he broke up with Ryder, the actor replied: It’s not her fault, it’s mine. According to Burton, with the loss of Winona, the actor lost part of himself. – It wasn’t the Johnny I knew anymore. As if Winona had stolen his soul Burton said.
Winona and Johnny are still friends
What about the famous tattoo? Depp still has it on his shoulder, only in a changed form – he shortened the name of his former beloved to “wine”, which colloquially means drunkard. If I just deleted it, it would be like I wanted to erase the past. As if I wanted to pretend it all didn’t happen. It wouldn’t be fair – confessed in an interview with the magazine “GQ”.
While the specific reason for their breakup is unknown, Johnny Depp suggested in an interview with the Los Angeles Times that the media was to blame for the breakdown of their relationship. In an interview in late 1993, he said: – Privacy is hard in Hollywood. Regarding my relationship with Winona, I made a fundamental mistake. I let the media into our lives. We were honest, open, we didn’t hide. I thought that this would weaken interest in our relationship. On the contrary, the more we were available, the more willingly our affairs were involved.
Despite the intensity of the feelings that first felt in a relationship and then in breakup, Winona Ryder and Johnny Depp remained friends. In the following years, the actress met, among others with David Duchovny and Matt Damon. He has been in a relationship with designer Scott Mackinlay Hahn since 2011.
A year after breaking up with Ryder, Depp began dating model Kate Moss, they formed a rock and roll relationship. His next love was Vanessa Paradis – they have two children – a daughter, Lily-Rose, and a son, Jack. However, after 14 years together, Depp left Paradis for actress Amber Heard, with whom he married in 2015. They broke up a year later. When Heard accused Depp of using violence against her, Ryder stood up for him. – Johnny has never, ever been aggressive towards me in any way – she told Time magazine in 2016. – I only know him as a good, loving, caring man who protects those he loves.