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Breaking Down Johnny Depp’s Life 2 Years After Amber Heard Trial: He’s ‘In a Good Place’ (Exclusive)

It’s been two years since Johnny Depp’s highly publicized defamation trial with ex-wife Amber Heard.

On April 15, Depp, 60, stepped onto the red carpet outside the Curzon Mayfair theater in London to promote Jeanne du Barry, his first feature film since 2020. After posing for some photographs, the actor — showing off a new haircut and a slimmed-down physique in a black suit and a gray overcoat — happily signed autographs and took selfies with fans.

Sources exclusively share in the latest issue of Us Weekly that the star has moved on from that chapter of his life and feels hopeful about his future.

“Johnny is in a good place,” an insider says, noting that the father of two — he shares Lily-Rose, 24, and Jack, 22, with ex Vanessa Paradis — is spending most of his time in the U.K. these days. “He really feels at home in London. He’s happy and busy. There’s been a weight lifted.”

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While Depp has maintained a mostly low profile, sources tell Us he’s been working nonstop. After shooting Jeanne du Barry (he plays King Louis XV in the French-language film), he hit the road with his late friend, guitarist Jeff Beck. He attended Cannes last May (where he earned a seven-minute standing ovation for Jeanne) and toured with his band, the Hollywood Vampires.

“People forget that Johnny’s not just an actor,” the source says. “He’s an artist in many ways.”

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He went behind the camera to film Modì — his first time directing since his 1997 neo-western, The Brave — in Budapest. The upcoming film centers around a frantic 72 hours in the life of Italian Amedeo Modigliani and stars Depp’s Donnie Brasco castmate, acting legend Al Pacino.

“Being back in the director’s chair is great for him,” the insider adds, “There are a lot of things happening at once.”

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In his 2019 defamation suit against Heard, 38, Depp stated that he’d lost millions in career earnings — including a potential $22.5 million deal to star in the planned sixth Pirates of the Caribbean film — because of her 2018 Washington Post op-ed, in which she called herself “a public figure representing domestic abuse.”

In 2020, Depp was dropped from the Fantastic Beasts franchise after losing a separate 2020 libel trial against The Sun in the U.K. (The actor sued the British paper for calling him a “wife beater” in an article amid his contentious divorce from Heard.)

Between 2018 and 2020, with Depp’s career seemingly in limbo, the once-in-demand actor appeared in just three low-budget films with limited domestic releases.

Depp’s defamation court battle against Heard played out dramatically in the spring of 2022. The former couple spent six weeks slinging accusations of mental and physical abuse they claimed took place during their toxic 15-month marriage.

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Depp, who sued Heard for $50 million, was ultimately awarded $10 million in compensatory damages and $5 million in punitive damages. Heard was granted $2 million in compensatory damages as part of her $100 million counterclaim against Depp.

A second source says Depp felt vindicated by the verdict. “As far as Johnny is concerned, he has mostly cleared his name and won back a ton of public support through the events of the trial,” the insider explains. “Johnny has moved forward. It’s in the past.”

Now with Jeanne du Barry under his belt — and his performance earning positive reviews — Depp is ready to take on even more projects.

“The world is Johnny’s oyster,” says the first source, noting that Depp is interested in “whatever speaks to him,” adding, “There are no boundaries or limits — if something comes along that he’s passionate about, he’ll do it.”

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The second source says Depp remains close with his director pal Tim Burton — “Tim and Johnny are like brothers,” says the insider — and that despite Depp not being asked to return to the Pirates of the Caribbean film franchise after the fifth installment, he and producer Jerry Bruckheimer are “still friends.”

Bruckheimer announced in March that a Pirates reboot is in the works, and while he didn’t reveal casting, the first source notes that “people are interested — studios and audiences — in seeing more of Johnny.”

The second source adds, “[Johnny] is a born entertainer and loves giving fans what they want. He’s just so moved that all these people still care about him.”

In April, Jeanne du Barry director Maïwenn clarified earlier comments she’d made to a publication in which she said the crew was “afraid” of Depp on set.

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“When I made a remark about Johnny being ‘scary,’ I was talking about his charisma, his notoriety, his star status,” she explained, adding that she considers him “a huge genius.”

At the film’s April 15 U.K. premiere, Depp said he felt “perversely lucky” to have gotten the part.

With Modì in postproduction, the first source says Depp will soon get some downtime before he begins promoting the film (which is being produced by his production company In.2).

“Johnny’s going to take time to breathe a bit this summer,” the insider says. “He’s always playing music whether he’s touring or not, but he’s trying to take a break before everything picks up again.”

Both sources say Depp is surrounding himself with the right people. “Johnny has a great team,” says the first source. “They are supportive and have his best interests at heart.”

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The second insider says the actor is close with kids Lily-Rose, who’s followed in her father’s acting footsteps, and Jack.

“Johnny’s a great dad,” the second source says. “They both adore him, and the mess with Amber didn’t tarnish their image of him.”

Dating isn’t a priority, at least for now. “[Johnny’s] not asking anyone to set him up,” says the second source. (Depp was last romantically linked to a lawyer he previously worked with.) “He’s not going to dive into anything headfirst like he did with Amber. The lessons have been learned.”

The first source says Depp is “too busy to be dating,” adding, “He’s in a really good headspace. There’s a lot he’s excited about.”

Jeanne du Barry, which is No. 6 in Apple’s pre-order chart, is available On Demand beginning May 21st.

With reporting by Andrea Simpson

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