Why Winona Ryder Was Severely Beaten in School: ‘I Had to Have Stitches’

How could anyone on earth disklike Winona Ryder? Despite the Stranger Things star being the “it” girl of the 80s and 90s, the actress bore the brunt of severe bullying while growing up. Winona was a target for mean girls back in middle school and high school because she was considered “different.”

After dressing like a boy in junior high, the girls at school beat her up. Despite her prosperous career in film and television, the Edward Scissorhands star admits she was incredibly unhappy during her schooling days.  

Winona Ryder and Johnny Depp
Winona Ryder and Johnny Depp. | Bill Nation/Getty Images

Winona Ryder got bullied by the popular girls

Winona may have been met with endless success in her acting career, but her days in school were unbearable. It’s hard to believe that the girl who would end up becoming the love of Johnny Depp’s life has faced such severe bullying. The actress got beaten so badly that she eventually needed to get stitches.

Winona Ryder
Winona Ryder | The LIFE Picture Collection via Getty Images

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You would think that after finding fame and fortune, the other kids at school would beg to be friends with the movie star. Yet Winona was unfortunately met with the opposite experience. After starring in Tim Burton’s Beetlejuice, her peers at school referred to Winona as a “witch.”

She tells Marie Claire, “I remember thinking, ‘Ooh, it’s, like, the number-one movie. This is going to make things great at school.’ But it made things worse. They called me a witch.”

Johnny Depp and Winona Ryder
Johnny Depp and Winona Ryder | The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images

During her school days, Winona would experiment with eccentric styles of clothing. She never attempted to fit in with the popular crowd, which her tormentors didn’t appreciate. In a 1990 interview with The New York Times, Winona says the mean girls would “throw Cheetos” at her because of the unconventional interests she possessed. “I had a crew cut and I liked the Sex Pistols,” she admits.

The ‘Heathers’ actress was beaten up in school

Winona Ryder
Winona Ryder | The LIFE Images Collection/Getty Images

But getting Cheetos hurled at her was nothing compared to the rest of the torment she endured. The bullying escalated when Winona showed up to school sporting clothes intended to be worn by boys. Winona recalls the incident, saying,  

“I was wearing an old Salvation Army shop boy’s suit. I had a hall pass, so I went to the (girls’) bathroom. I heard people saying ‘hey f****t.’ They slammed my head into a locker. I fell to the ground, and they started to kick the sh*t out of me. I had to have stitches. The school kicked me out, not the bullies.”

Winona Ryder got revenge on her school bully

Winona Ryder
Winona Ryder | Ron Galella Collection/ Getty Images

Luckily, justice was served when Winona confronted her childhood bully. The Stranger Things star recalls the moment when she ran into her school tormentor in a coffee shop years after the incident. According to Winona, she asked for the actress’s autograph. That’s when the Girl Interrupted star had the chance to tell her off. 

She tells Harper’s Bazaar, 

“Years later, I went to a coffee shop in Petaluma, and I ran into one of the girls who’d kicked me… She said, ‘Winona, Winona, can I have your autograph?’ and I said, ‘Do you remember me? I went to Kenilworth. Remember how, in seventh grade, you beat up that kid?’ and she said, ‘Kind of,’ and I said, ‘That was me. Go f- yourself!”