Johnny Depp Immediately Fell in Love with Vanessa Paradis's Back
#TBT: Check in every Thursday as we throw it back to some of our favorite celebrity couples of all time.
Who: Three-time Oscar-nominated actor Johnny Depp, 56, and French singer, model, and actress Vanessa Paradis, 46.
How They Met: As the story goes, Depp and Paradis met briefly in 1994 while he was attached to Kate Moss. Years later, in 1998, they had an encounter in the lobby of the Hotel Costes in Paris. As Depp has described many, many times, he was struck by the sight of Paradis’s back: “Whammo, man, across the room, amazing, incredible, awesome. The Back, the Back,” he told Rolling Stone.
“She was wearing a dress with an exposed back and I saw that back and that neck, and then she turned around and I saw those eyes, and — boom! My life as a single man was done,” Depp explained to The Daily Mail.
About a year after the aforementioned "Back" sighting, Depp and Paradis welcomed their first child, daughter Lily-Rose Depp, now 20 (she's now reportedly dating a Hollywood heartthrob of her own). Three years later they welcomed a son, John Christopher Depp III, now 17.
Why We Loved Them: Have you ever seen a more stylish, cultured couple? So many tasteful headpieces! So much time spent in the South of France!
When They Peaked: During an interview with Rolling Stone in 2005, Depp revealed that his decision to purchase a $3 million Bahamian island did not go unquestioned by his longtime girlfriend. She asked, “Why do we need an island?” To which he gave the logical response, “No, no, no, you don’t understand. It’s an island!” This is essentially the extremely wealthy people’s version of “So why do we need a 70-inch TV again?” Stars, they’re just like us!
The Breakup: Rumors of Depp and Paradis’s breakup swirled through 2011 and were buoyed in 2012 when the former arrived stag at the Golden Globes that January. By June of 2012, the couple announced that they had “amicably separated.”
Paradis was reluctant to discuss the split in the press, explicitly telling French Elle, “I don't want to talk about him. Who said that artists should sell their soul, expose everything about themselves?…It's my duty to promote this movie, and my albums, but can you imagine what it feels like to see people making a business out of your pain." But in an interview with Harper’s Bazaar that was published later that same month, she alluded to her and Depp’s relationship, telling the outlet, "Nothing is ever for sure, but when something in love doesn't work from the beginning, it's never going to work. Don't push it. Sometimes you could be in an unhappy relationship; you are very much in love with someone, but it's making you unhappy and you think things can change and you can work it out." Hmm.
Just two years ahead of their official split, Paradis had told Marie Claire U.K. that their conflicting schedules kept her and Depp’s relationship healthy. “The fact that we’re not together every day plays a big part in keeping our relationship stable,” she said. “We understand that, if we want our relationship to continue, we must give each other space, allow each other to go off on our own, and trust each other. Not everyone is lucky enough to be given space and trust. You’re really lucky if you find someone you can trust when you spend time apart.”
However, it seems the secret to their relationship may have also aided in its downfall. In 2013, Depp told Rolling Stone, “Relationships are very difficult. Especially in the racket that I’m in because you’re constantly away or they’re away and so it’s hard. It wasn’t easy on her. It wasn’t easy on me. It wasn’t easy on the kids. So, yeah. The trajectory of that relationship – you play it out until it goes, one thing leads to another. So for whatever reason that ceases, it doesn’t stop the fact that you care for that person, and they’re the mother of your kids, and you’ll always know each other, and you’re always gonna be in each other’s lives because of those kids. You might as well make the best of it.”
Where They Are Now: Depp wed actress Amber Heard in 2015. Following their split in 2016, Heard accused Depp of domestic abuse. Soon after, Paradis reportedly penned a letter on his behalf, writing, “Johnny Depp is the father of my two children. He is a sensitive, loving and loved person, and I believe with all my heart, that these recent allegations being made are outrageous. In all the years I have known Johnny, he has never been physically abusive with me and this looks nothing like the man I lived with for 14 wonderful years.”
The actor has kept a low profile in the years following allegations, but is starring in the upcoming Waiting for the Barbarians, which opens internationally this fall.
Paradis wed French writer Samuel Benchetrit in the summer of 2018.