The Truth About Johnny Depp’s Relationship With His Children

The following contains references to child abuse, domestic abuse, addiction, and a suicide attempt. 

Johnny Depp has been a hot topic in the media following his tumultuous divorce from Amber Heard and their subsequent mutual allegations of domestic abuse. He sued The Sun for dubbing him a “wife beater,” per Vanity Fair, and then sued Heard for defamation after she wrote a 2018 op-ed in The Washington Post detailing her alleged experience, though she did not mention Depp by name. Heard then countersued for $100 million.

The extremely public court proceedings have brought to light all facets of their personal lives again in 2022. We never thought we’d learn so much about Depp’s financial situation, for one thing, and how he’s lost so much money over the years. Even Depp’s bodyguards got involved, with claims about Heard’s treatment of the actor. Part of the court proceedings also brought up Depp’s romantic history, with many of his former partners providing statements about their own experiences with the actor. 

Depp’s most long-term relationship on the list was with French model and actor Vanessa Paradis, with whom he shares two children, Lily-Rose and Jack Depp. While Johnny Depp might be great at portraying the wild, rocker type in movies, when it comes to his children, he’s pure mush. “With my kids, they’re told 75 times a day that they’re loved,” he told Rolling Stone in 2013. “One thing I know is they feel loved and secure and happy and needed and necessary and a part of something.” Clearly, Johnny Depp’s children are everything to him. Let’s take a deep dive into their relationship.

If you or someone you know is dealing with domestic abuse, you can call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1−800−799−7233. You can also find more information, resources, and support at their website.

Having children meant the world to Johnny Depp

For Johnny Depp, having children wasn’t just life changing — they gave his life new meaning. He said that his children provided him with a “real foundation, a real strong place to stand in life, in work, in everything,” he told ABC12 in 2006. For the actor, his booming career and his financial success meant nothing compared to becoming a father. When Lily-Rose Depp was born, Johnny told the Daily Mail that it “was not only the greatest thing that’s ever happened — it’s the only thing that’s ever happened to me.” He said that Lily-Rose gave him life and her existence was a renewal for him. “Suddenly, you meet your reason to live, meet the future,” Johnny went on. “It was like my birth in a way. I was born that day.” 

His history with addiction and substance abuse has come up frequently over his career and garnered considerable interest in the court proceedings between himself and Amber Heard. So welcoming Lily-Rose and Jack Depp into the world also functioned as a motivation to get sober for the actor. Johnny admitted to the Daily Mail that he had a problem with alcohol and couldn’t stop drinking. “I would just keep going until a black screen came down, where you can’t see anything any more,” he explained, noting that he didn’t drink for fun; rather, he drank to numb his feelings. But his children took away that need to escape. “Now I have a solid foundation to stand on,” Johnny Depp reiterated.

If you or anyone you know is struggling with addiction issues, help is available. Visit the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration website or contact SAMHSA’s National Helpline at 1-800-662-HELP (4357).

Who are Lily-Rose Depp and Jack Depp?

Lily-Rose Depp was born in May 1999, while her younger brother, Jack Depp, was welcomed into the world in April 2002 — and from the sound of it, their childhoods were pretty idyllic. Dad Johnny Depp explained how having children around brought joy back to the simple things. “They make me happy,” he told the Daily Mail about his kids. “Simple, fun things, me and my son zooming around in little cars or making up absurd stories about Barbie dolls who get obsessed about peanut butter.”

Lily-Rose has followed both of her parents’ career paths. She got her first acting part in the 2014 film “Tusk” and has since gone on to take on more prominent roles in “The King,” “Voyagers,” and “The Idol.” Her mother, Vanessa Paradis, the French singer and model, was a long-time ambassador for Chanel and starred in some of the brand’s iconic films. “‘Chanel girl,’ Jean-Paul Goude’s film for Coco was a key moment in my career. … I remember hesitating, so I’m happy that my agent and parents decided for me!” Paradis told Vogue. Not unlike her mother, Lily-Rose has also become the feature face for Chanel. In 2022, she starred in the Chanel short film by photographers Inez van Lamsweerde and Vinoodh Matadin.

So what does Paradis think of her daughter’s global fame? “I would rather it hadn’t happened so quickly, but I’m in no position to stop it,” Paradis told Vogue. “She is made for this.” Meanwhile, Jack has remained extremely private.

Inside the Depp kids’ lavish upbringing

Vanessa Paradis became pregnant with Lily-Rose Depp not long after she began dating Johnny Depp, and so the couple established roots near Saint-Tropez in the star’s $2 million home, according to Vanity Fair. Once they had both children, they split their time between France and the United States, cozying up in Johnny’s Hollywood mansion.

He’d purchased the $2.3 million Californian house in 1995, per the New York Post, and the structure looks more like a castle than a typical family home. It sits on four acres of land and boasts seven bedrooms and nine bathrooms. There certainly would have been no shortage of anything for the Depp children, as their father earned over $650 million throughout his career. However, because of his opulent taste and admittedly reckless financial habits, he’s worth $100 million at the time of this writing, according to Celebrity Net Worth. He also purchased a luxury yacht for Paradis and named it the Vajoliroja, per Us Weekly, with an insider saying that though it was a gift for his then-girlfriend, “Johnny loved that yacht.”

While Lily-Rose and Jack Depp had everything material that they could want, they also had no shortage of love. “You can’t plan the kind of deep love that results in children,” Johnny Depp told the Daily Mail. “Fatherhood was not a conscious decision. It was part of the wonderful ride I was on. It was destiny; kismet. All the math finally worked.” Basically, it seems like they were wrapped in love and every material comfort imaginable. Not a bad way to live!

Johnny Depp was extremely protective of their privacy

With two massively famous parents, it’s no wonder that the Depp children were sought-after subjects for vigilant paparazzi. In fact, some of Johnny Depp’s more litigious altercations from his past had to do with protecting his privacy and that of his family. 

There was a famous incident in 1999, for example, when he was dining in London with Vanessa Paradis at the iconic Mirabelle restaurant. She was visibly pregnant with their first child, and therefore even more of an appealing subject for paparazzi — but Depp wasn’t having it. “I told them: ‘I know the photograph you want and you’re not going to get it! I don’t want to be a novelty tonight,'” he later said to the Daily Mail, noting that the photographers were rude and pushy, even after his request for privacy. “Vanessa got in the car and they were trying to pull the door open,” Depp explained, saying that, in response, he picked up a block of wood and hit the pap’s hand to stop him from opening the door. Police took Depp into custody, and he was released roughly four hours later.

The kerfuffle made headlines all over the world, but Depp’s publicist explained the actor’s actions in a statement made to the Chicago Tribune. “Johnny Depp is a person who guards his privacy,” they began. “He had asked photographers to abstain from photographing him. Unfortunately, they persisted and intentionally provoked him.” Clearly, there’s no getting past this movie star when he wants to protect his family.

He gave them the opposite childhood from the one he had

Johnny Depp’s childhood appeared to be anything but idyllic when he opened up about his abusive rearing during court proceedings in the 2022 defamation case against Amber Heard. Depp testified that his mother, Betty Sue Palmer, was allegedly both physically and emotionally abusive toward Depp and his siblings when they were kids.

“She could become quite violent, and … she was quite cruel,” Depp said during the trial, claiming that she threw ashtrays at them and hit them with a “high heeled shoe or a telephone or whatever was handy.” The rage was often unprompted, Depp said, admitting that he’d flinch instinctively when she’d walk by. Depp also told the court about Palmer’s suicide attempt when he was young. “Instantly, I knew that something was dreadfully wrong,” Depp recalled, revealing that his uncle was able to contact paramedics and so Palmer recovered. However, the experience clearly left a deep impression on Depp, enough so that it came up as significant detail in the trial decades later.

Depp’s tragic childhood informed the way that he was a father, meaning he chose to give his children the opposite experience from the one he had. “I didn’t have a real handle on what life was supposed to mean or be or anything like that,” he told Rolling Stone in 2013. “But as long as you have the opportunity to breathe, breathe. As long as you have the opportunity to make your kid smile and laugh, and move it forward.”

If you or someone you know may be the victim of child abuse, please contact the Childhelp National Child Abuse Hotline at 1-800-4-A-Child (1-800-422-4453) or contact their live chat services.

If you or anyone you know is having suicidal thoughts, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline​ at​ 1-800-273-TALK (8255)​.

Johnny Depp did Pirates of the Caribbean for his children

Johnny Depp first donned the pirate costume of Captain Jack Sparrow in 2003 and kicked off a highly lucrative venture in Disney’s “Pirates of the Caribbean” franchise. Depp got creative with his inspiration and said he fashioned Sparrow off of the Rolling Stones legend Keith Richards. “I sort of thought that pirates would be the rock and roll stars of the 18th century, you know?” he told IGN. “Then, when you think of rock and roll stars, the greatest rock and roll star of all time, the coolest rock and roll star of all time, in my opinion, is Keith Richards. Hands down.”

Any fan of the Disney series can tell that Depp had fun fleshing out Sparrow’s character, and he made major money while he was at it, with an estimated $55 million banked for the third film alone, according to Celebrity Net Worth. But the biggest motivation of all in doing “Pirates” was his children, as Depp told Vanity Fair that the films were “all for the kiddies.” 

But Lily-Rose and Jack Depp have been his larger motivation in his entire career. “I’m just an actor, and if I can leave something behind that my kids will be proud of, then that’s what I want,” Johnny said to the Daily Telegraph in 2009 (via StyleCaster). “… I don’t want my kids to be embarrassed by anything I’ve done.” Basically, his two children were a mental test as to the quality of a project.

How his split from Vanessa Paradis impacted their relationship

After 14 years together and welcoming their two children, Johnny Depp and Vanessa Paradis split up in 2012, according to The U.S. Sun. Part of the reason for their breakup was Depp’s rigorous filming schedule and how much it required him to be away from Paradis and their kids. “Relationships are very difficult,” he told Rolling Stone in 2013. “Especially in the racket that I’m in because you’re con­stantly away or they’re away and so it’s hard.” Depp added, “It wasn’t easy on her. It wasn’t easy on me. It wasn’t easy on the kids.” The star also stressed to Rolling Stone that they kept their children as the top priority in their split.

Depp later spoke with “CBS This Morning” on the challenges of navigating a breakup when kids are involved, saying (via the Daily Mail), “When you have children, there is no room for lies, no room for anything but the truth. Anything other than that is a bad example, I believe.” Depp went on to share his and Paradis’ strategy as co-parents, which came down to nothing more than being honest with their two kids. “We were just very truthful with Lily-Rose and Jack and they were just incredibly understanding, incredibly accepting,” he said. “I was extremely proud of them, the way they dealt with it.” 

Obviously, Depp’s children seemed to take the changes in stride and navigated their new lives as best they could.

Johnny Depp struggled with his kids getting older

For Johnny Depp, watching his children grow up was a disarming experience, especially daughter Lily-Rose Depp, who has become famous in her own right. “It’s such a funny thing when you see your daughter transitioning from your baby, your little girl, to suddenly being a young woman,” the proud dad told the Daily Mail in 2015.

Johnny went on to talk about how quickly she grew up and marveled at how similar her path was to that of her mother’s, Vanessa Paradis. Karl Lagerfeld discovered them both, though since Lily-Rose had such famous parents, “discover” might be the wrong term for her. Nevertheless, he capitalized on her charm as a Chanel ambassador. But Lily-Rose tapping into glam and looking every inch a model was jarring for her father. “When I see her with make-up and all that stuff, it’s really disturbing, because she’s a very beautiful girl, and it’s all happening so fast,” Johnny said, adding that he’ll never not be concerned about her.

While the movie star noted that his kids are on the right track in life, his own wild past gave him reason to be worried. He told “CBS This Morning” (via a later publication by the Daily Mail), “You know you start getting hit with some very interesting situations in life, you as a parent, when they approach that teenage era, which is frightening because you still have memories of that age and the things you were doing at that age. … Please don’t do what I did.” Welcome to parenting!

Their relationship with Amber Heard was nonexistent

When Johnny Depp started dating Amber Heard after splitting from Vanessa Paradis, his kids initially navigated the new relationship easily. In 2013, the new couple went to Tokyo with Lily-Rose and Jack Depp, according to Us Weekly, in what looked like a relaxing family vacation. In one photo, Heard put her arm around Jack’s shoulder. 

However, as her relationship with Johnny progressed, it appeared that Heard’s relationship with his children deteriorated, especially with Lily-Rose. When they married in 2015 on his island in the Bahamas, Lily-Rose was conspicuously absent. Years later, when Johnny was in court for his defamation lawsuit against Heard, he brought up Lily-Rose’s decision to opt out of attending the nuptials. “My daughter, Lily-Rose, did not come to the wedding,” he said (via People). “She and Ms. Heard were not on particularly great terms, for several reasons.”

When Heard’s allegations of abuse initially aired, Lily-Rose jumped on Instagram to defend her father and posted a throwback photo of the two of them. “My dad is the sweetest most loving person I know, he’s been nothing but a wonderful father to my little brother and I, and everyone who knows him would say the same,” she wrote (via The News International). Johnny Depp testified in court that Lily-Rose and Jack apparently disliked Heard much earlier than when their father saw problems in the relationship. “My kids are far more intelligent than I am,” he said, according to the outlet. “They refused to be around her.”

Amber Heard claimed he got drunk in front of his children

During the 2022 defamation trial between Johnny Depp and Amber Heard, Depp’s drinking came up. Heard spoke about an alleged incident on Johnny’s island in the Bahamas, in which he was apparently angry about selling his yacht, the Vajoliroja, to “Harry Potter” author J.K. Rowling, and was secretly drinking because Lily-Rose and Jack Depp were there. “He was upset, he was emotional, and that’s how he dealt with it — he’d drink,” Heard claimed (via CinemaBlend). Alleging that her ex couldn’t stop drinking once he started, she said that he then proceeded to get drunk in front of his children, before jumping off the boat in an erratic way.

Heard explained what allegedly happened next: “It looked a little scary, the way his body fell into the water and Lily-Rose started to cry and then the crying becomes like almost like a panic attack, rapid breathing, crying, lots of questions and I’m holding her, kind of comforting her and Johnny comes in and within a few seconds I realized he kind of shifted his attention on me and he seemed very angry.” She claimed that Johnny was upset with her because he thought she was talking about his drunken behavior with his children, which allegedly led to a violent altercation between the couple.

But this apparently wasn’t the only time that Johnny Depp’s children came up during their arguments, as his security guard, Travis McGivern, alleged in court that Heard once called Johnny a “f***ing deadbeat dad” (via Radar).

If you or anyone you know is struggling with addiction issues, help is available. Visit the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration website or contact SAMHSA’s National Helpline at 1-800-662-HELP (4357).

If you or someone you know is dealing with domestic abuse, you can call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1−800−799−7233. You can also find more information, resources, and support at their website.

Johnny Depp’s defamation case is partly to protect his kids

After Amber Heard wrote the abovementioned op-ed in The Washington Post — which was presumably about her alleged experience of domestic abuse with Johnny Depp, though she never directly stated his name — he sued her for $50 million in a defamation lawsuit. Meanwhile, Heard countersued for $100 million.

“My goal is the truth,” Depp explained during his 2022 testimony (via Hollywood Life), claiming that there was no truth to Heard’s claims of abuse. “There were arguments and things of that nature, but never did myself reach the point of striking Ms. Heard in anyway, nor have I struck anyone in my life,” he added. “It was my responsibility to not only clear my name. … I wanted to clear my children of this horrid thing they had to read about their father, that was untrue. … I don’t deserve this, neither my children nor the people who have loved me for all these years.”

His children came up several times during the court case and, in one instance, Heard spoke about how fond she was of Lily-Rose and Jack Depp. “I found them [to be] these beautiful, wildly intelligent little weirdos in the best way. You know? They were … I was falling in love with them,” she said while testifying (via PopCrush). While this seemed to be an attempt to express affection toward her ex’s kids, the outlet noted that some people in the Twittersphere were upset about Johnny Depp’s children being dragged into the trial.

If you or someone you know is dealing with domestic abuse, you can call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1−800−799−7233. You can also find more information, resources, and support at their website.

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