Depp began taking more interesting roles than those he thought would be successful at the box office after becoming disillusioned by his experience as a teen idol in 21 Jump Street. The musical comedy Cry-Baby, directed by John Waters and released in 1990, was his first film. It was unsuccessful at the box office when it was released, but it has become a classic cult movie.
Being unable to save Lily-Rose Depp in 2007 after contracting E. coli made Johnny Depp even more protective of her and motivated him to make sick children’s families smile.
Johnny and Vanessa Paradis spent nine days at his daughter’s hospital bedside when she was desperate for lifesaving treatment at the Great Ormond Street Hospital. Although he had already visited sick children in hospitals at the time, this pain and fear made Johnny understand the pain parents of sick children feel, and he began to see them more often and with greater passion.
As much as he wanted to make them forget about their situation, seeing the children smile inspired him. The position of the children and the parents also inspired him. According to Graham Norton:
I’m grateful. Thank you. I remember the darkest time in my daughter’s life when she was ill at Great Ormond Street. Even though I had always made these visits, after that experience, the holidays became more meaningful to me.
Children are so courageous, but I love it when I can make their parents smile or giggle.
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Early life and career
To pursue a music career, Depp dropped out of high school when he was 16. He spent most of his time in Florida during his childhood, where his band, the Kids, moved to Los Angeles. Depp married Lori Anne Allison in 1983, who worked as a makeup artist while also struggling as a musician. Allison arranged for Depp to audition with director Wes Craven through her friend Nicolas Cage, and Depp then made his film debut as a teenager eaten by his bed in A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984). The following year, Depp divorced Allison.
The Mad Hatter, John Dillinger, and Tonto
In Public Enemies (2009), Depp played John Dillinger, a notorious bank robber during the Great Depression who became legendary for robbing multiple banks. Colin Farrell and Jude Law later added Depp to their alternate portrayal of Heath Ledger’s character for The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus (2009), a concept designed to salvage Ledger’s incomplete final performance made plausible by the fantasy premise of the film.
A Burton adaptation of Lewis Carroll’s classic Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland (1865) starred Depp as the Mad Hatter in Alice in Wonderland (2010). In the same year, he starred in The Tourist thriller opposite Angelina Jolie. Additionally, Depp provided the title character’s voice in the animated western Rango (2011), a chameleon who becomes the sheriff of a colorful desert town. In Dark Shadows (2012), Burton’s comedy adaptation of the cult soap opera of the same name plays an 18th-century vampire awakening in the 1970s. As Tonto, the lawman’s laconic Native American sidekick, Depp donned a headdress and war paint in The Lone Ranger (2013).
Personal life and music
The actor maintained his early interest in music by playing acoustic guitar in the movie Chocolat (2000) and on the soundtrack to Once Upon a Time in Mexico (2003). Additionally, he played guitar on albums by the Pogues and Oasis. His long-term relationship (1998–2012) and two children with Vanessa Paradis began while working on The Ninth Gate. In 2015 he married the actress Amber Heard, resulting in a tumultuous marriage that became tabloid fodder. In particular, she claimed he physically assaulted her and had substance abuse problems. He sued for libel, and in 2020, the judge ruled against Depp, stating, “I accept that Mr. Depp put [Heard] in fear of her life.” The divorce was finalized in 2016, and two years later, The Sun referred to Depp as a “wife-beater.” Depp sued for libel again, and the trial ended with a verdict of “I accept that Mr. Depp put [Heard] in fear of her life.”