Johnny Depp Names Beach After Heath Ledger

In July's Vanity Fair, Johnny Depp shows off his 45-acre private Bahamian island, Little Hall's Pond Cay, which he calls his "decompression." Says Depp, "It's my way of trying to return to normalcy. Escapism is survival to me."

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Little Hall's Pond Cay features six different beaches, named after Depp's partner, Vanessa Paradis, and their children, Lily Rose, 10, and Jack, 7, as well as his mentors Hunter S. Thompson and Marlon Brando. He also deemed one patch of water "Heath's Place" after the late actor Heath Ledger. (Depp plays an incarnation of Ledger in the fantasy movie, The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus, due later this year.)

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The island features several small residences, all solar-powered, and transportation consists of a fleet of green golf carts. "I don't think I'd ever seen any place so pure and beautiful," says Depp, who headlines the July thriller Public Enemies. "You can feel your pulse rate drop about 20 beats. It's instant freedom. And that rare beast-simplicity-can be had. And a little morsel of anonymity. Whenever I was getting frustrated about being 'novelty boy' and making movies, I told myself, 'Calm down. I can come down here and disappear.' I spent the Christmas season here with Vanessa and the kids. You can feed hot dogs to the nurse sharks in the Exumas-but it's best to not swim when doing it."

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He says he looks forward to his kids growing up on the island, "spending months out of the year here ... learning about sea life and how to protect sea life ... and their kids growing up here, and so on. Theoretically, this place can add years to your life."

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Then, quoting an old adage, Depp says: "Money doesn't buy you happiness. But it buys you a big enough yacht to sail right up to it."