Decades of Depp! Since the 1980s, Johnny Depp has made a name for himself as a leading man.
The actor got his start in 1984’s A Nightmare on Elm Street before scoring a regular role on Fox’s 21 Jump Street. The series launched him into the mainstream, solidifying his success as a teen idol. Depp went on to challenge himself in eccentric, independent films, frequently working with Tim Burton throughout the ‘90s.
“You don’t get that many times in your life where you just connect with somebody and it’s really simple … it’s just there,” Burton once told the Los Angeles Times of the Corpse Bride actor, whom he met at a coffee shop before making their first film together, Edward Scissorhands.
During a Comic Con appearance in 2009, Burton further detailed his friendship with Depp. “It’s very nice to have someone that you can have a completely abstract conversation with and leave the room, feel like everything’s fine, and then realize that if you pick it apart, you have absolutely no idea what either of you said,” the filmmaker said at the time.
Edward Scissorhands was a pivotal moment in Depp’s career — and not only for the way it shot him to stardom. He sparked a romance with costar Winona Ryder, and the twosome got engaged in 1990. Three years later, however, they called it quits.
“It’s very hard to have a personal life in this town,” the Black Mass actor told the Los Angeles Times after the breakup. “My relationship with Winona, it was my mistake to be as open as we were, but I thought if we were honest it would destroy that curiosity monster. Instead it fed it, gave people license to feel they were part of it.”
Depp was previously married to makeup artist Lori Anne Allison from 1983 until 1985 before his brief engagements to Jennifer Grey and Sherilyn Fenn. Following his split from Ryder, he dated Kate Moss from 1994 to 1998. The Dark Shadows star later moved on with French actress and singer Vanessa Paradis, with whom he shares daughter Lily-Rose (born 1999) and son Jack (born 2002). The pair broke up in 2012.
“We were just very truthful with them and they were just incredibly understanding, incredibly accepting,” Depp told CBS This Morning one year later, recalling how he and Paradis told their children about their separation. “I was extremely proud of them, the way they dealt with it. … 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.”
While filming 2011’s The Rum Diaries, Depp began a relationship with costar Amber Heard. The duo were married in a civil ceremony in February 2015, but they pulled the plug on their relationship less than two years later, finalizing their divorce in January 2017. In the aftermath of their split, Heard wrote an op-ed about allegedly surviving an abusive relationship — without mentioning Depp by name. He sued her for defamation.
The former spouses faced off in a Virginia trial in the spring of 2022, with a jury declaring Depp victorious that June. “From the very beginning, the goal of bringing this case was to reveal the truth, regardless of the outcome,” he noted in a statement after the verdict made headlines. “Speaking the truth was something that I owed to my children and to all those who have remained steadfast in their support of me. I feel at peace knowing I have finally accomplished that.”
Scroll down to see Depp’s career through the years, from teen idol to Oscar nominee: