Johnny Depp took the stand in April 2022 in his defamation trial against ex-wife Amber Heard, and the legal fracas is raising questions about Johnny’s previous relationships. The Charlie and the Chocolate Factory star dated a slew of famous women, including Dirty Dancing diva Jennifer Grey, his Edward Scissorhands co-star Winona Ryder, and supermodel Kate Moss, among others. But it was Johnny’s relationship with French actress, singer, and model Vanessa Paradis that ultimately captured his long-term attention and resulted in the births of his two children.
So how did Johnny and Vanessa meet, and what was it about her that kept him captivated for so long? We’re taking a look back at the couple’s 14-year relationship, from their very first meeting to their lives as parents and beyond.
Johnny met the beautiful Vanessa in Paris, of course!
The Ed Wood actor claims he fell in love with Vanessa at first sight, when the star was filming The Ninth Gate in 1998 with Roman Polanski in the iconic city of romance. He recounted in an October 2011 interview that he attended an outing at the Hotel Costes in Paris with Roman, and Vanessa was there. “She was wearing a dress with an exposed back and I saw that back and that neck, and then she turned around and I saw those eyes, and — boom!” Johnny told the Daily Mail. “My life as a single man was done.” The connection was strong, as he added, “You have this feeling — I can’t really explain what it was, but I had it when I met her. I saw her across a room and thought: ‘What’s happening to me?’”
Johnny & Vanessa never married.
The couple skipped the formalities and went straight to a quiet family life — something that seemed to have previously eluded the party-prone Johnny. And as the relationship survived year after year in a famously divorce-prone town, Johnny and Vanessa never seemed to need a marriage to solemnize their bond. The Rum Diary actor confided to Extra in a 2010 interview that he simply “never found myself needing that piece of paper.” Johnny added, “Marriage is really from soul to soul, heart to heart. You don’t need somebody to say, okay you’re married.”
The couple had a daughter and a son.
By May 27, 1999, the couple were already parents to Lily-Rose Depp, a development in their relationship that would bond them for life. John Christopher “Jack” Depp III was born on April 9, 2002, and the family continued on, with Johnny and Vanessa remaining a popular mainstay on the red carpets of Hollywood. Of fatherhood, Johnny said that having Jack and Lily-Rose provided him with a “real foundation, a real strong place to stand in life, in work, in everything. …You cannot plan the kind of deep love that results in children. Fatherhood was not a conscious decision. It was part of the wonderful ride I was on. It was destiny. All the math finally worked,” he said in a 2006 interview with ABC.
Vanessa & Johnny lived a lavish international lifestyle
During his years with Vanessa, Johnny went from doing quirky, arthouse-style film roles, to heading up one of Disney’s most famous franchises. As the legendary Captain Jack Sparrow in the Pirates of the Caribbean films, he rose to new heights of fame and wealth, and according to The Daily Mail, they spent the years following the debut of The Curse of the Black Pearl living opulently between their Hollywood Hills mansion, two places in France, their yacht, and Johnny’s private island in the Caribbean called Little Hall’s Pond Cay.
The longtime couple finally called it quits in 2012
In 2011, Johnny and Vanessa still seemed to be going strong at 13 years together. “I see that the children are happy, healthy and seem to be on the right path in life,” Johnny said the the Daily Mail interview. “And then I look at Vanessa, who’s incredibly supportive, loving and talented in all sorts of ways. She and I have been together for nearly 14 years, and, well, I can hardly believe it. It only seems like yesterday that we met.” He continued, elaborating on what made him happy about the relationship. “A glass or two of wine before dinner is my favorite thing, watching the sunset and the kiddies playing nearby. It’s perfection.’
But by June of 2012, the romance between the two had run its course. After not appearing together for some time, Johnny’s publicist told Entertainment Tonight that they were “amicably” going their separate ways. “Please respect their privacy and, more importantly, the privacy of their children,” the short public statement read. It’s worth noting that Johnny met his ex-wife, Amber Heard, on the set of The Rum Diary in 2011 — the year before his split with Vanessa was announced.
Vanessa became rich in the settlement
According to a June 2012 in The Sun, Johnny planned to just hand over a massive sum of $150 million in his split with Vanessa. At the time, lawyer Robert Nachshin told the outlet that “because they are not married, one partner would have to file a civil suit and go to court,” but Johnny preferred not to battle it out, and instead agreed to the sum.