Winona Ryder Finally Speaks Out About Her Arrest

"I didn't have this tremendous sense of guilt, because I hadn't hurt anyone," the actress says

With her career getting back on track after several years of self-imposed exile, Winona Ryder is talking for the first time about her December 2001 arrest after she’d been videotaped trying to make off with merchandise from the Beverly Hills Saks Fifth Avenue.

“I didn’t have this tremendous sense of guilt, because I hadn’t hurt anyone,” Ryder tells Vogue magazine for its August cover story. “Had I physically harmed someone or caused harm to a human being, I think it would have been an entirely different experience.”

Her personal reaction, she says, was “I never said a word. I didn’t release a statement. I didn’t do anything. I just waited for it to be over.”

Still, she says, “The attention was what was embarrassing.” She also expresses dismay that one day the news of her arrest topped stories on the supposed capture of Osama bin Laden.

Ryder – who was convicted of grand theft – explains that life had been bumpy for her just before the arrest. “Two months prior to that, I broke my arm in two places, and the doctor, a sort of quack doctor, was giving me a lot of stuff and I was taking it at first to get through the pain. And then there was this weird point when you don’t know if you are in pain but you’re taking it.”

She said painkillers of the type she was on – such as Oxycodone, which should not be confused with OxyContin – left her in a state of “confusion,” but that her arrest “in a very weird way, was a blessing, because I couldn’t do that [painkillers] anymore.”

Once her court issues were resolved, Ryder moved to San Francisco to live near her parents (she also has a house in West L.A.), and made “a very conscious decision not to work,” she says.

Her family was supportive. “No one ever got angry with me. Concerned, yes, but not concerned with a drug problem or anything. Because after that night I pretty much didn’t ever. … If you are ever arrested, you can’t ever do that again,” she says.

Ryder has returned to work with three new movies due out this year, including The Ten, Sex and Death 101 and The Last Word.

Though single, Ryder would like to have children. “I think I assumed I would be married and have a kid by the age I am now,” says the 35-year-old. “It kind of occurred to me for the first time last year: I actually want to go on and have kids.”

And while her past boyfriends have included such famous men as Matt Damon, Dave Pirner of Soul Asylum and Johnny Depp, Ryder says she’s still looking for the right man for her. “You know how people ask, ‘Who is the love of your life?’ God, I hope I haven’t met that person yet, in a way, because I’m single,” she says. “I hope I haven’t had that, since that would be sad.”

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