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Winona Ryder Says Christian Slater "Broke Her Heart" After Two-Week Fling

The pair briefly dated after co-starring in the teen classic, Heathers.

In the 1989 dark comedy Heathers, Winona Ryder and Christian Slater play two high school students: Veronica, who joins the popular "Heathers" clique, and J.D., a new student who turns out to be a serial killer. The two teens date in the movie—until Veronica learns the truth about J.D.—but you may not have known that the actors also had a real-life romance. Unfortunately, it didn't last much longer than their characters' doomed relationship, and Ryder later said that Slater "broke [her] heart." Read on to find out more.

RELATED: Christina Applegate Dumped Brad Pitt Mid-Date for Another Star in the '80s.

Ryder and Slater were both rising young stars.

By the time Ryder and Slater starred in Heathers, both had already being working as young actors. She starred in the films Lucas and Beetlejuice, while he had a number of guest roles in TV shows including All My Children and L.A. Law and was in the movie The Legends of Billie Jean. When Heathers was released in theaters, Ryder was 17 and Slater was 19.

Ryder said Slater broke her heart.

Christian Slater and Winona Ryder in "Heathers"
New World Pictures

In a 1993 interview with Vogue (via The List), Ryder revealed that she and Slater were an item for two weeks and she was left heartbroken by their split. While addressing rumors that she had dated multiple co-stars in her early career, the then-21-year-old said, "None of that was true. None of the co-stars except for [Heathers's] Christian Slater, who I went out with for two weeks, and he broke my heart. Or I thought he did at the time."

When the interview took place, Ryder was dating Soul Asylum frontman Dave Pirner. She added of the musician in the Vogue interview (via, "Dave is only like my second boyfriend." Around this time, Ryder also dated Johnny Depp, her co-star from 1990's Edward Scissorhands. She said of this relationship, "He's a special guy. I was just really young. I don't know what his excuse is, but that's mine!"

Slater said he "never got over" his crush on her.

Christian Slater at the 2018 Hollywood Film Awards
DFree / Shutterstock

In 2007, Slater told the Belfast Telegraph about his status with his ex and Heathers co-star.

"We crossed paths briefly in Sundance, but we don't speak on a regular basis," the actor said of Ryder. "But I love her. I've never gotten over the crush I had on her then. She is still the woman of my dreams."

RELATED: Why Denzel Washington Refused to Film Love Scenes With Julia Roberts.

They looked back on their brief relationship years later.

Winona Ryder and Christian Slater at the 1989 Oscars
Darlene Hammond/Hulton Archive/Getty Images

In 2014, Slater and Ryder both took part in an oral history of Heathers for Entertainment Weekly. Ryder said that she had "such a big crush" on her leading man but that he was dating another Heathers star, Kim Walker, during filming.

"There were a couple of times where we tried to go out, but there was always some sort of drama," Ryder said. "Nothing happened until after the movie. Then I do remember, like, making out with him a few times after he broke up with Kim." Slater added, "It's one of those early lessons. It's better to keep things professional than to try to mix them as far as emotions go."

Ryder explained that she was naive at the time and couldn't figure out if she and Slater were actually dating. "I remember when we were on the college [publicity] tour, he told the audience we were getting married, which of course sent me into this giggling thing," she recalled. "But I remember always thinking, 'What's going on? Like are we…?' And he never really answered me."

Slater told EW, "I definitely love her today. She's a great actress. And that was a unique time for both of us."

They've continued supporting each other.

While Ryder and Slater were not meant to be romantically, they remain on good terms and have shown support for one another's careers. At the 2017 Golden Globe Awards, Ryder was nominated for Best Actress in a Television Series – Drama for Stranger Things and Slater was up for the award for Best Supporting Actor in a Series, Limited Series, or Motion Picture Made for Television for Mr. Robot.

On the red carpet, Ryder told E!, "I have not seen him in a long time, but I adore him. I'm so happy for him. I could not be more happy for him. I love him so much. We started out together at 16 years old—or I was—in Heathers, and I've just always loved him. I'm so happy to see him doing so well. He's just the best."

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Lia Beck
Lia Beck is a writer living in Richmond, Virginia. In addition to Best Life, she has written for Refinery29, Bustle, Hello Giggles, InStyle, and more. Read more
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