12 Offbeat Facts We Just Learned About Winona Ryder

List Rules
Vote up the quirkiest Winona Ryder facts.

Winona Ryder has made a name for herself as the quintessential weird girl. From Beetlejuice and Heathers, to Girl, Interrupted and Stranger Things, she's pulled the pathos out of characters seen as a little off-kilter by the world around them. So it should be no surprise that there are some very interesting facts about Winona Ryder herself, a self-proclaimed outcast in real life, as well.

Born Winona Laura Horowitz and raised on a commune (that she swears wasn't a cult), she was destined for strangeness from the get-go. And although a much-publicized shoplifting incident nearly ended her career, she's managed to bounce back in recent years and is once again bringing her unique vibe on screen. So for everyone who's felt a little out of place, and all the "weird girls" out there who see her as an icon, here are some of the wildest Winona Ryder facts that make her even more endearing.


  • She Didn't Realize She Was Talking To Tim Burton When They First Met
    Photo: Featureflash Photo Agency /

    The first meeting between proud outcasts Ryder and director Tim Burton was just as quirky as their collaborations. 

    While waiting for her first meeting with Burton, Ryder occupied herself by chatting with a random guy she'd met on the studio lot. After 45 minutes of waiting, she finally said, "Where is this Tim Burton guy?" To which her conversation partner replied, "Oh, that's me." An iconic duo was born.

  • She Was Picked On In Middle School - And Expelled For It
    Photo: Lucas / 20th Century Fox
    581 VOTES

    She Was Picked On In Middle School - And Expelled For It

    Ryder's short time at Kenilworth Junior High School in Petaluma, CA, was less than stellar. Wearing an "old Salvation Army suit" and cropped hair, she became the target of bullying by other students until ultimately a group of girls cornered her in the bathroom and beat her up. After the incident, it was reportedly Ryder - not the bullies - who got kicked out of school. 

    Ryder did manage to get revenge years later. In a now-viral quote, she recounts how, once she was a mainstream success, one of the former schoolmates who hurt her asked her for an autograph:

    I ran into one of the girls who’d kicked me, and 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*ck yourself!”

  • She Might Have Accidentally Married Keanu Reeves (At Least In The Eyes Of The Greek Orthodox Church)
    Photo: Bram Stoker's Dracula / Columbia Pictures

    Ryder and Keanu Reeves played Mina Murray and Jonathan Harker, respectively, in 1992's Bram Stoker's Dracula. Ryder later dropped the bombshell that director Francis Ford Coppola's attention to detail might have led to the couple getting hitched in real life. For Mina and Jonathan's wedding, a real Greek Orthodox priest officiated a full wedding on the set.

    No documents were signed, meaning the marriage would be recognized only in the church. But when Ryder brought up the incident during the actors' press tour for the film Destination Wedding in 2018, Reeves looked at her and said, "Oh my gosh, we're married."

  • She's Naturally Blond
    Photo: Mr. Deeds / Sony Pictures Releasing
    420 VOTES

    She's Naturally Blond

    Her natural hair has darkened with age, but Ryder said it was "really blond" when she was younger. In her first film, Lucas, she needed to dye her hair black, and was told to keep it dark from then on. 

    She has, however, gone back to her "roots" in a few different roles. Her character Babe in Mr. Deeds is a blond, and Kim in Edward Scissorhands is a stereotypical blond cheerleader.

  • She Took An Active Role In The Polly Klaas Case
    Photo: Little Women / Columbia Pictures
    398 VOTES

    She Took An Active Role In The Polly Klaas Case

    In October 1993, 12-year-old Polly Klaas was kidnapped during a slumber party. Ryder heard of the case, as it was covered in the news, and felt a kinship with Polly, an aspiring actress living in Petaluma, CA, similar to Ryder when she was growing up. Ryder even offered a $200,000 reward to anyone who got Polly home safely. Unfortunately, Polly's body was discovered a few months later.

    Even after the case was closed and Polly's killer was imprisoned, Ryder was an active member of the Polly Klaas Foundation, which works to find missing children. She also dedicated 1994's Little Women to Polly, because it had been the girl's favorite book.

  • Veronica Sawyer, the precocious, accidentally murderous lead in Heathers, is now considered a quintessential Winona Ryder role. But when she wanted to audition for the part, her agent was convinced it would end her career. According to Ryder:

    My agent at the time ­literally got on her knees and begged me not to do [the movie]. She had her hands together, and she goes, “You will never. Work. Again.” 

    Needless to say, the agent was wrong, and they didn't work together after that.

    Ryder is still a big fan of Heathers and even quotes it sometimes. And like other fans of the film, she wants a sequel.