PLAYBOY: We haven’t seen many naked hotel guests in our travels. Has it actually happened to you?
RITTER: There are times when maybe I have a little nightie on and I’ll push the room-service tray out really quick. Something could happen. Really.
PLAYBOY: Everything written about you talks about how striking you are. Do you wish you were a little less easy to spot?
RITTER: On some days I do. I think my friends and my boyfriend wish that. My boyfriend [Brian Geraghty, who starred in The Hurt Locker and has appeared on True Blood] is a character actor. He can hide. But I’m a cartoon character. I have black bangs. I can’t hide. People are mostly respectful and kind. But at one in the morning in Vegas, when everyone’s wasted and yelling at you, you wish you could just kind of disappear, and you can’t.
PLAYBOY: It doesn’t help that, unlike other actors, you’re actually taller than you appear on TV.
RITTER: A lot of people think I’m going to be shorter when they meet me. When I was starting out, I would get called in for auditions off of my tape. When I’d show up in person, they’d be like, “Oh my God, you’re much taller than we thought.” They think it’s because I’m petite. It reads as a normal-size person. I mean, I think I’m normal size, but everyone is always like, “Oh my God, you’re so tall. What are you, six feet?” I’m five-foot-nine. Relax, everyone. All the other actresses are so little that they get to wear heels. I can’t wear heels on set because the set is too small. If they put me in heels, you’d be able to see lighting in the shot. When I met my boyfriend he knew me only from watching me on Breaking Bad. I was wearing heels when I met him, and he was like, “Oh, wow. You’re really tall.” We have a thing: If we’re going to a party for me, I can wear big heels. And if we’re going to a party for him, I wear the small heels.
PLAYBOY: You played a particularly haunted drug addict named Jane on Breaking Bad. Were you able to draw on first-person experience?
RITTER: Oh my God, no. But in New York I knew some people who did drugs. I remember seeing them on drugs and thinking, Oh, it’s not what I thought. You’d see people on heroin nodding off and falling over, and you’d see people on heroin buzzing around clubs.
PLAYBOY: Jane was a recovering heroin addict who fell off the wagon when she fell in love with Jesse, the character played by Aaron Paul. In your swan song, you choke on vomit in bed and are given CPR by Jesse when he wakes to find you dead. Which is more awful, an extended choking-on-your-own-vomit scene or lying still while someone pounds on your chest and sobs?
RITTER: Those were both pretty intense things. I’ll go with playing dead. You have to basically suck out of your body and just lie there. I was basically like, Don’t move, don’t move, don’t move, don’t move. You have to zone out.
PLAYBOY: You spent your summers modeling in Tokyo and the rest of the year as a regular high school student. Were you worshipped or hated at school?
RITTER: I was always picked on. When I became a model, it got even worse because the girls became meaner—“Oh my God, I can’t believe she’s a model. She’s not even pretty.” At some slumber party they tape-recorded their night, and it was about me getting bashed. And these were some of my best friends! Not anymore. Someone gave my high school boyfriend the tape. You know, high school is all subterfuge and scandal. I was just counting down the minutes until I turned 18.
PLAYBOY: At least you had a boyfriend. What was he like?
RITTER: He was so angsty and bad. He was a real bad boy. He gave me a school picture that year that said, “Okay, Krysten, I love you. You give me a boner.” That’s how we started dating. His name was Damian, but my parents called him “Demon.” Our first time was in his parents’ van before basketball practice. I don’t remember it being very pleasant.
PLAYBOY: Your parents divorced when you were young. Did that sour you on marriage?
RITTER: I was never the little girl who dreamed about a wedding or a big white dress. It was never my thing, but I don’t think I’m sour on marriage. I just don’t know if I’m the type. Marriage seems scary to me. I’m in a serious relationship. We have a dog together. We live five minutes from each other. It’s heaven. I think that might be the key: separate houses, separate bank accounts. Why mess with that?
PLAYBOY: How does a TV star live without owning a working television?
RITTER: I did it to spite Time Warner. They said my house was wired for cable, then when they came out—late—they said, “Oh, we can’t. You’re not wired.” They were supposed to come back, but no one showed up. I said, “Forget it. I don’t want anything to do with your company.” Now I wish I did have TV because I end up watching stuff on iTunes. I’m cheap. I thought, Oh, I can save $150 a month by not having cable. But now I think I’m spending that anyway on reruns of Friends.
PLAYBOY: What’s the difference between being on a hit network show and being on a basic cable show?
RITTER: More people see you on a network. And the network people know where you are at all times. I’ve been around so long I approach every job exactly the same whether it’s big or small. For me it didn’t feel different until I heard on the walkie-talkie, “Krysten is at craft service,” “Krysten is around the corner,” “Krysten is there.” They’re always keeping tabs on you. They always know where you are. You say you’re going to the bathroom, and someone comes with you. I’m like, “Dude, I promise you I’m going to come back. Don’t come with me to the bathroom.”