The Unexpected Reason Winona Ryder Was Arrested In 2001

In December 2001, Winona Ryder was arrested at a Saks Fifth Avenue for shoplifting over $5,000 worth of clothes and accessories (via New York Daily News). She was also found to be in illegal possession of an antidepressant. In a case that saw obsessive media coverage, Ryder was found guilty and sentenced to probation, community service, and required to pay a fine and receive counseling, according to The Guardian.

Ryder faced mental health struggles in the preceding years, even spending time in a psychiatric hospital (via New York Daily News). She spoke about depression, anxiety, loneliness, and stress openly in interviews. She described herself as longing for “someone to talk to” and “in so much pain” to Diane Sawyer in 1999 (via YouTube). In another interview, she described her anxiety attacks: “My breathing would get labored, everything would start speeding up, and I’d get very scared,” (via Literary Hub). Ryder pushed to get “Girl, Interrupted” made to examine women’s mental health.

Ryder has connected her mental health issues with the shoplifting incident. “​​Psychologically, I must have been at a place where I just wanted to stop,” she said in 2016, per Entertainment Tonight. “It allowed me time that I really needed.” That is, time away from acting. After 2001, Ryder kept a low profile for a number of years, until her return to both starring roles and advocacy for mental health.