Winona Ryder has gone through a lot in her life, but for the first time, she opened up about a life-altering incident that happened to her as a teenager.
As a junior high school student in Petaluma, Calif., Ryder, who had a short haircut at the time, was bullied by a group of boys who thought she was a boy.
“I remember the halls were empty and these kids started shouting ‘faggot,’ and I didn’t think they were talking to me,” the “Homefront” actress, 42, told V Magazine. “Walking home after leaving the nurse’s office — and I’ve never talked about this — I remember pressing on the bandage because I wanted it to look more dramatic. I had this inner monologue going of Humphrey Bogart, like, ‘being roughed up!’ I was pretending I was in some gangster movie. It was oddly my way of dealing with it, because if I didn’t, I probably would have been really scared.”
Ultimately the experience proved to be life-changing for the actress, who would nevertheless go on to win a Golden Globe in 1994, and has two Oscar nominations under her belt. (After getting arrested for shoplifting in 2001, Ryder’s career stalled for a few years, until she made a comeback in the 2010 film “Black Swan.”)
After the bullying incident, Ryder dropped out of school and was home-schooled, which gave her time to take classes at the American Conservatory Theater in San Francisco. It was there that she was discovered.
“Had I not been homeschooled, I would not have been able to go,” she said. “It’s almost weird fate that it happened that way.”