The 44-year-old actress defended the 53-year-old actor in an interview with TIME following allegations Depp abused his estranged wife, Amber Heard. Ryder and Depp dated in the early 1990s and were engaged when they split in 1993.
“I can only speak from my own experience, which was wildly different than what is being said,” the star said. “He was never, never that was towards me. Never abusive at all towards me. I only know him as a really good, loving, caring guy who is very, very protective of the people that he loves.”
“I wasn’t there. I don’t know what happened. I’m not calling anyone a liar,” she qualified. “I’m just saying, it’s difficult and upsetting for me to wrap my head around it … It’s just shocking. I have never seen him be violent toward a person before.”
Heard filed for divorce from Depp in May after 15 months of marriage and subsequently accused the actor of domestic violence while seeking a temporary restraining order. The order was reissued this month, while a hearing for the case has been pushed back to August.
Depp’s ex-partner, Vanessa Paradis, and 17-year-old daughter, Lily-Rose Depp, have also publicly voiced their support for the actor. Depp and Paradis were together from 1998 to 2012 and also share 14-year-old son Jack.
“My dad is the sweetest most loving person I know,” Lily-Rose wrote on Instagram in May. “He’s been nothing but a wonderful father to my little brother and I, and everyone who knows him would say the same.”
Ryder called Depp her “first real breakup” and “heartbreak” in the July 2009 issue of Elle U.K. The actress will star in the new Netflix series Stranger Things, which is scheduled to premiere July 15.