“I have beds, tables, chairs, a TV set. And they’re mine, and I have Winona. That’s all I need.”

Winona Ryder and Johnny Depp first set eyes on each other in June 1989, at the premiere of the film Great Balls of Fire in New York. Ryder was drinking a coke, underage at seventeen at the time. Depp described the first glance as “classic, like the zoom lens in West Side Story when everything else gets foggy.” They never talked that day, but only months later a relationship started that would not only help to define the early 90s, but cement a young love that is still talked about today.

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The pair at the premiere; the first time they saw one another.

The two dated from 1989 to 1993, sharing an engagement, a film, a tattoo and countless public declarations of love. Johnny even inked the words ‘Winona Forever’ onto his right arm, his third tattoo. Ryder has said before that while he was getting the tattoo she was crying and he was laughing, and that she just “couldn’t stop thanking him for it.” He’d even told his mother and sister before he’d got it done.

“I thought it was so cool. Like, I never knew a guy who would do that for me. He looked like he enjoyed it. I started crying, he started laughing, I just couldn’t stop thanking him for it. But I gave him a bigger thank you when we got home that night!”

Both of them would be close with the director Tim Burton at times of their lives. In fact, Beetlejuice, 1988 (of which Ryder was essentially the star) was her break through role. The two starred in Edward Scissorhands together, arguably Burton’s best work, as Edward Scissorhands and Kim Boggs. Edward is an artificial man with scissor blades for hands, while Kim is a surburban teenager who Edward becomes more and more infatuated with every day. After the film, the two were reportedly offered dozens of roles where they played alongside one another.

”They offered us a gagster movie together. Like, I’m a mobster and Winona’s my moll.”
--Johnny in The Face, 1991.

Their relationship lasted three years, allegedly stopped by a pairing of the paparazzi’s clawing, and Winona’s father, who believed she was too young to marry at the time. The love they felt was not snuffed out so easily and quickly, however. There was no clean break.

Months after their breakup, Winona began to smoke very heavily, and on one particular occasion, alone at night. She fell asleep, still with a lit cigarette, and almost set her home on fire. Fairly shortly afterwards, she began to date Matt Damon.

At this point, Johnny was playing the part of Ed Wood in Tim Burton’s film of the same name. Burton and Depp had become incredibly close (Depp is actually the godfather to Burton’s children.) Tim recounted a time during production where “there were days he would come in crying, I felt so bad. I asked him why it happened, but all he said was, ‘it wasn’t her fault, it was mine.’”

Johnny met the anti-supermodel Kate Moss in the January of 1994. His closest friend, Burton, had more to say about this time in his life. Their relationship was often referred to as ‘cocaine love’.

“When he met Kate in ’94, it wasn’t the same as Winona. I felt weird to be around him, like he wasn’t acting like Johnny anymore. It’s almost like Winona took Johnny’s soul, Johnny’s love.”

Kate and Johnny went out through the millennial together, although their relationship was a rocky one. It was reported that they trashed a hotel room during an argument, which they had to pay $10,000 to repay. There was also a fight between the two where Johnny got drunk. He was shouting “Winona! Winona! Winona!” while Kate stood right there. Burton added that, “he was so desperately in love with Winona, that he wouldn’t admit it was over for the longest time.”

During the 00s, Depp and Ryder spent a dinner together, as friends. They’d both broken up with the people they’d been dating; and as far as their friends went, they still ran in fairly close circles. In fact, when Ryder was arrested for shoplifting in 2001, Depp sent her a dozen pink roses to make her feel better and wrote a letter himself, saying, “Don’t worry hon, it happens to the best of us. Good luck in court! I got faith in you!”

”I want our kids to watch Edward Scissorhands, and go, ‘wow dad, you and mom were cool back then,’ you know? I think that would be really neat.”