"I found myself in a hotel lobby in London a few months ago," she says, breaking her silence in the November issue of W magazine, "thinking, all of a sudden, 'So this is what it feels like to be the Scarlet Woman. Oh! I'm having that experience now!"
No kidding. But the 37-year-old actress and tabloid topic du jour says there's a few things she'd like to clear up about her now-dissolved nine-year marriage to Dennis Quaid.
In her first--and supposedly last--interview addressing the dicey subject, Ryan tells the magazine (out on newsstands October 20) that her marriage splintered long before the public got wind of it, that Quaid never cheated on her, and that their breakup didn't occur because of a third party (namely, current Aussie squeeze and upcoming Proof of Life costar Russell Crowe).
"My marriage and the dissolution of my marriage...well, the real reasons for it will always be speculation, because I'll never talk about what went down, and neither will Dennis," she says. "It dissolved before it became sport for the press. The public and the press tuned in way after."
By the way, if you're looking for juicy details about her oft-talked-about relationship with Crowe, it ain't here. (Her publicist put the kabosh on any of those questions.)
But what Ryan does say is that she and Quaid have tried to protect their 8-year-old son, Jack, from the subsequent media whirlwind, and that--while she admits to reading about celebrity lives just like everyone else--"it is wild when it happens to you!"
It happened to her, big time, this summer. News of her split with Quaid, 46, went public in June, and just as he was filing divorce papers, the You've Got Mail star was spotted cozying up in public to Crowe, which continued recently at the Summer Games in Sydney. Ryan filed her own divorce papers in August.
"Neither of us, me nor Dennis, is cavalier about a breakup," she says. "We both behaved very honorably--in our marriage and in our breakup. He never cheated on me. I can't believe they're saying that about him.
"The guy is an honorable man," she adds. "And the reasons we broke up have nothing to do with another person. My marriage was broken--nobody else broke it up. That's true. I know it to be true, and Dennis knows it to be true. What anybody else thinks, I have no control over."