Blast from the past! Johnny Depp and Winona Ryder were one of the biggest couples of the early ‘90s — and their love story still captivates fans despite their split.
The Pirates of the Caribbean actor and the Beetlejuice star met at a New York City film premiere in 1989, and according to Depp, it was love at first sight.
“I was getting a Coke,” Depp recalled to the Rolling Stone in January 1991 of their first encounter. “It was a classic glance, like, the zoom lenses in West Side Story, and everything else gets foggy.”
Within months, the actors were engaged and costarring in 1990’s Edward Scissorhands, which helped boost both of their careers. While Ryder was only 17 when she met Depp, she knew he was something special.
“I had my first real relationship with Johnny, a fiercely deep love that I don’t know that I’ll ever [have again],” the Heathers star told Cinema.com in 2001. “The first love is like that isn’t it? I don’t know today. It was a real wild time back then.”
The twosome called off their engagement after three years. Following their breakup, Depp famously switched his “Winona forever” tattoo to “Wino forever.” He didn’t, however, regret getting his ex’s name inked on his body.
“It’s no longer there. We’ve split up,” the 21 Jump Street actor said during a 1993 appearance on Australia Tonight. “I think these things, to me — these tattoos, for me — are a journal. I wear my journal. Even though we’re not together anymore, it doesn’t take away the honesty of the moment when I got the tattoo. I don’t regret that tattoo at all, in fact, it’s a part of my past.”
The Stranger Things star and the Kentucky native each moved on since their split, but Ryder has never made it down the aisle.
“I’m a serial monogamist,” the Girl, Interrupted actress told Net-a-Porter’s The Edit in July 2016. “I was single for a while and dating and … I just didn’t know how to do it! I’ve always been like that. … But marriage? I don’t know.”
Ryder revealed that she’d “rather never have been married than been divorced a few times,” noting that her parents’ long marriage set a “really high standard.” The Minnesota native has been in a relationship with fashion designer Scott Mackinlay Hahn since 2011.
Depp, for his part, was with Vanessa Paradis for 14 years before their 2012 split. The exes share two children: Lily-Rose and Jack. He went on to marry Amber Heard in 2015, but they split less than two years later.
Heard accused Depp of domestic abuse in 2016, obtaining a temporary restraining order against him. After their divorce was finalized, she wrote an op-ed piece for The Washington Post in 2018 detailing her experience as a survivor — without using Depp’s name in he article. (The Sweeney Todd actor then sued his ex-wife in for defamation related to the piece and the trial began in April 2022.)
“I can only speak from my own experience, which was wildly different than what is being said,” Ryder told Time magazine in June 2016. “He was never, never that way toward me. Never abusive at all toward me. I only know him as a really good, loving, caring guy who is very, very protective of the people that he loves.”
During Depp’s libel trial in July 2020 — he unsuccessfully sued The Sun for slander amid abuse claims — Ryder again spoke out in favor of her ex-fiancé.
“I truly and honestly only know him as a really good man — an incredibly loving, extremely caring guy who was so very protective of me and the people that he loves, and I felt so very, very safe with him,” she said in a statement read in court at the time. “I do not want to call anyone a liar but from my experience of Johnny, it is impossible to believe that such horrific allegations are true. I find it extremely upsetting, knowing him as I do.”
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