15 years ago, actress Winona Ryder made headlines when she was arrested for shoplifting. Upon reflection 15 years later, Ryder says she sees the whole episode as an opportunity to take the break she “really needed”.
The Academy Award nominated actress, was convicted of shoplifting $5,500 worth of designer clothes from the Saks Fifth Avenue department store in Beverly Hills in December 2001. She was sentenced to three years’ probation, fined $3,700, ordered to do 480 hours of community service, pay $6,355 in restitution to the store and undergo counselling.
In the fall issue of Porter magazine, Ryder opens up about the incident and what followed:
“Psychologically, I must have been at a place where I just wanted to stop. 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.”
So after years of success with films like Beetlejuice, Little Women, Edward Scissorhands, Heathers, Reality Bites and Girl, Interrupted Ryder decided to take a hiatus from acting.
“A lot of people had the perception that I just disappeared in the 2000s. And I did, but only from that world,” she told Porter. “I appeared elsewhere, I promise you. I was transformed into doing stuff I really wanted to do – it was a great awakening. It just wasn’t in the public eye.”
When Ryder did return to acting in in her late 30's she says she struggled to lose the 1990s association and find roles playing women her own age.
"People associated me with the 1990s and I wasn’t that anymore. And they didn’t really buy me as my age," she explained. "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!”
But the Golden Globe winner continued to search, eventually finding the perfect role as a mother searching for her son in the Netflix supernatural thriller Stranger Things.
“I know actresses have a tough time because of their age – they’re just not getting hired. I know it exists. You’re the girlfriend, then you’re the mother. But I don’t see it as a bad thing – it can be just as interesting, if not more so, than the leading-lady, ingénue phase.”
Ryder says she is now in a much better place psychologically.
"You know, what's great about getting older is you realize that other things are more important than this business!" she told Porter. "Time is just more precious now."