Winona Ryder overcame bullying incident with acting

Nov 8, 2013 at 8:05 p.m. ET

Even though millions of girls looked up to Winona Ryder in the '80s, she had the same problems many kids had in school. She was bullied.

Winona Ryder

Even though Winona Ryder was one of the coolest teens on the Hollywood scene in the '80s, she had a rough time when it came to school. In fact, it was acting that saved her.

Her adorable pixie cut, which she had in middle school and made famous in the film Lucas, was the catalyst for schoolyard teasing.

In a new interview with V Magazine, Ryder reveals, "I remember the halls were empty and these kids started shouting 'f****t,' and I didn't think they were talking to me."

Winona Ryder's red-carpet comeback >>

She was subsequently beaten up by a group of boys who were mistaken about her gender due to the short haircut.

"Walking home after leaving the nurse's office — and I've never talked about this — I remember pressing on the bandage because I wanted it to look more dramatic. I had this inner monologue going of Humphrey Bogart, like, 'being roughed up!' I was pretending I was in some gangster movie. It was oddly my way of dealing with it, because if I didn't, I probably would have been really scared," said the 42-year-old actress.

Winona Ryder exposes more Mel Gibson loathsomeness >>

The incident changed the entire course of her career because she dropped out of public school to focus on homeschooling and her classes at the American Conservatory Theater in San Francisco.

She shared, "Had I not been homeschooled, I would not have been able to go. It's almost weird fate that it happened that way."

It was in her classes at ACT that she was discovered for her role in Lucas. She went on to win a Golden Globe Award for her role in The Age of Innocence in 1993, and she earned three Oscar nominations. Ryder will next be seen in the film Homefront.

Photo credit: FayesVision/