"I was completely lost," the actress says in an interview about her early struggles with fame

By Simon Perry
Updated May 27, 2009 02:20 PM

For the past seven years, Winona Ryder has lived mostly out of the spotlight.

Now, with a role in Star Trek and the release of another movie – The Private Lives of Pippa Lee – opening in Europe soon and in the U.S. in the fall, the actress, 37, is talking about the strain of being in the public eye.

Ryder, who was engaged to Johnny Depp after co-starring with him in 1990’s Edward Scissorhands (they split when she was 19), says one of her first big challenges was dealing heartache during the height of her fame.

“I had just done Dracula and Edward Scissorhands. I had just had my first real break-up, the first heartbreak,” she tells Pippa Lee director Rebecca Miller, who interviewed her for the U.K. edition of Elle, out Wednesday.

“And I think it was really ironic because, like, everybody else just thought I had everything in the world, you know, I had no reason to be depressed, everything was sort of at its peak, but inside I was completely lost.

“I remember feeling, ‘I can’t complain about anything, because I’m so lucky, I’m so lucky.’ After that I realized I needed to take time off more [regularly].”

These days, Ryder says, she has more balance in her life. In the last five years, she says, “I have really tried to develop a whole life so when I work I can come home to something [else].”

She adds, “I would freak out when I wasn’t working yet I was exhausted, so I had to learn to take care of myself.”

Ryder says she admires Kate Winslet for her ability to have it all. “During the Oscars, I was thinking about how she totally has that thing, she has her family and children and life and she seems really together and solid – and yet she can completely devastate you on the screen.”

Ryder hasn’t lost the edginess that made her the Generation X poster girl. She tells the magazine that she always thought it was “cooler to be interesting than to be pretty” and that, she “never wanted to be beautiful, I never wanted to be a cheerleader.”