Verne Troyer

AP Photo/Matt Sayles

Mini-Me has been having some major problems.

Verne Troyer gave E! News an exclusive interview on Tuesday afternoon about the recent drama over the unauthorized release of a sex tape with his ex-girlfriend Ranae Shrider, as well as the death of his costar and friend Heath Ledger.

“I feel like I have no privacy," Troyer said. "Just because people are seeing something that was meant to be between me and her. That's the biggest reason that I'm, you know, trying to stop the tape from being released.”

The diminutive actor said he feels "betrayed and hurt" by the release of the tape, and he denied all involvement in its release. Troyer and his attorney, Edwin McPherson, succeeded last week in upholding an injunction to prevent the sale of the tape while they try to shelve the issue entirely.

“I’ve been, for the past two weeks, three weeks probably, spending a lot of money to fight this. I have my lawyer, and he’s doing a great job,” Troyer said.

According to Troyer, the couple had been dating about six months when the actor decided he wanted to break up with Shrider. He said this is what motivated her to give the footage to the website TMZ.

“I broke up with her in the middle of June; it was something probably to do with that. It was basically when she decided to give the tape away. I highly doubt that she thought that would get me back with her. Ransom or something,” Troyer said.

And what of claims made by Shrider, like that she nearly drowned the Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me star in a romantic bubble bath?

“There’s no incident like that. She’s coming up with things and telling media anything to make it interesting. I haven’t seen everything she’s done...The things she says just aren’t true,” he added.

Must be awkward, then, considering the former couple still live together.

“She's still in the house,” Troyer said, noting that he’s taking legal action to force her out, but their situation “makes it even harder, to, you know, not strangle her.”

According to the actor, his brunette ex has been taunting him.

“I saw her when I left today, and she was calling me names and I can't get away from it,” he said, choking back tears.

Troyer said friends, family and attorney are helping him pull through the mess, but that the embarrassment “has already started affecting [work opportunities].”

Inconvenient timing when you consider that Troyer had a major role in Mike Myers' recent comedy, The Love Guru. Troyer also landed a role last year in The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus, where he worked alongside Ledger in the late actor’s final onscreen performance.

Heath Ledger, The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus


“I don’t believe that he was troubled,” Troyer said of Ledger's final days working on the movie. “Everyone knew that he had a hard time sleeping and from working in the cold weather in London—we were out in the rain and things like that—so everybody got sick, to a certain extent.”

Troyer did say, however, that Ledger was in the throes of a thespian hangover from his portrayal of the demented Joker in Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight.

“He couldn’t sleep because he was so wrapped up in the character of Joker in Batman,” Troyer said. “He was still going through not sleeping because he was so involved in that. Throughout our shoot it was the same way.”

Troyer insisted that despite sleeplessness, Ledger was still “upbeat” about his work on Parnassus—playful even, as Troyer recalls the last time he and Ledger were together: On the cast’s final night of shooting before they departed London for hiatus, the pair shot a scene at a bar where paparazzi loomed out front. Ledger made his way into the crowd unseen to tease the shutterbugs.

“Heath snuck his way out into the crowd without anybody noticing and came right up next to one of the photographers and asked him, ‘Who are you trying to shoot? Who are you trying to get?’ ”

The photog said he wanted a snap of Ledger, to which Ledger responded, “’Oh, really? That’s cool,’” according to Troyer. By the time the pap could realize it was Heath himself, the actor had disappeared.

“I thought that was classic, just classic and hilarious,” Troyer said.

Troyer, who was visibly choked up during our sit-down with him, said he valued Heath’s confidence in him.

“There were things in his life going on...I don’t want to say anything about it, because it was personal and he trusted me...anybody would have been a little bit depressed [in Heath’s existing situation],” Troyer said

Troyer maintains, however, Ledger would never commit suicide.

“He wasn’t, for me, depressed enough to even think about taking his own life. It was an accident, it happened and it’s very unfortunate.”

On a brighter note, Verne and other castmates like Lily Cole were able to pay homage to their costar and friend: They tattooed themselves with replicas of a heart Ledger drew on a piece of paper. Troyer, who got his on his right hand, considers it a memorial.

“A lot of people from the cast and crew got a tattoo of it somewhere, of that heart, just thinking of Heath and respecting him.”

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