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Winona Ryder Recalls 2001 Shoplifting Arrest: ‘It Wasn’t Like the Crime of the Century’

Winona Ryder
Winona Ryder arrives at the premiere of Netflix's 'Stranger Things' at Mack Sennett Studios on July 11, 2016, in Los Angeles.

She’s over it. Fifteen years after she was infamously arrested for shoplifting at Saks Fifth Avenue, Winona Ryder looked back at her headline-making incident during a new interview.

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“Psychologically, I must have been at a place where I just wanted to stop,” the Stranger Things actress, now 44, said in the fall 2016 issue of Porter magazine. “I won’t get into what happened, but it wasn’t what people think. And it wasn’t like the crime of the century! But it allowed me time that I really needed, where I went back to San Francisco and got back into things that … I just had other interests, frankly.”

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Winona Ryder reacts in court during her sentencing hearing for shoplifting at the Beverly Hills Municipal Court on Dec. 6, 2002, in Beverly Hills.

Ryder was arrested in December 2001 after she allegedly stole more than $5,000 worth of designer clothes and accessories from Saks Fifth Avenue in Beverly Hills. Ryder was convicted of grand theft and vandalism. She was acquitted on a burglary charge but was sentenced to three years’ probation, 480 hours of community service, $3,700 in fines and $6,355 in restitution to the department store. She was also ordered to attend psychological and drug counseling.

Following the arrest and much speculation about her mental health, the Golden Globe winner says she decided to take a break from Hollywood. “People would tell me, ‘Oh, you should be doing this, or that, and you have to keep working otherwise people will forget about you,’” she recounted to Porter. “But I learned to stop listening to those voices.”

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When Ryder finally returned to the acting world, filmmakers associated her with the 1990s. “I wasn’t that anymore,” the Heathers star explained. “And they didn’t really buy me as my age. It’s that line in First Wives Club — ‘There are three ages for women: babe, district attorney and Driving Miss Daisy!’ I just never got to play that district attorney.”

As for her new role in Netflix’s buzzed-about new show Stranger Things? “You know, what’s great about getting older is you realize that other things are more important than this business,” she told Porter magazine. “Time is just more precious now.”

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