For decades, Johnny Depp was one of the highest-paid and most sought-after stars in Tinsel Town.
That is until his ex-wife Amber Heard penned a scathing December 2018 op-ed for The Washington Post accusing him of sexual violence and abuse. Johnny ended up successfully suing Heard in a 2022 trial in Virginia in which a seven-member jury ruled that Heard’s allegations were false and thus constituted as defamation under US law.
Once a beloved Hollywood icon, Depp’s name was effectively ran through the mud. Sure, he ended up coming out of that Virginia courtroom victorious, but it’s pretty evident that his career will never fully recover.
The Amber Heard accusations, regardless of their veracity, resulted in Depp sustaining a tremendous blow to his reputation. No one gets accused of the kinds of things he was without receiving significant consequences. Not only did large swathes of people take to condemning him online, but Heard’s accusations also led to him losing out on several major film deals as well. In fact, just days after Heard’s op-ed was published, Disney announced that they would no longer be working with Depp on future projects, including their highly-anticipated sixth installment of the Pirates of the Caribbean film franchise.
Though the Depp v. Heard trial proved to be one of the biggest controversies of Johnny’s career thus far, it wasn’t the only time that he’s found himself at the center of a scandal. In fact, throughout his four decades in the spotlight, Depp has regularly been the focus of tabloid fodder and less-than-flattering news reports.
Join us as we take a look back at Johnny Depp’s many controversies while presenting the case for why we think his acting career is pretty much dead in the water.
Facts Verse Presents: Johnny Depp’s Career is Officially Dead After the Latest News
Depp’s Rocky Arrest Record
In 1989, Johnny Depp was arrested in Vancouver, Canada, for assaulting a security guard after the cops were called in to put the kibosh on a loud party at his hotel room, but that’s not the last time that Johnny would wind up getting into legal trouble over a hotel stay.
In the early 90s, actress Kate Moss met Johnny Depp at an LA bar. The two rising stars were reportedly introduced by Vanity Fair journalist George Wayne.
Apparently, it was love – or perhaps lust – at first sight, and the two immediately started dating. Months later, the couple announced their engagement at a charity gala. Right around this time, however, the nature of Depp and Moss’s relationship began to be dissected and speculated about in the media.
In her book Champagne Supernova, journalist Maureen Callahan noted how both Kate and Johnny’s lives seemed to be constantly filled with parties, booze, cigarettes, sex, and copious quantities of illicit drugs.
One of the most controversial moments of their relationship revolved around a stay at the New York hotel The Mark in September 1994, in which Depp and Moss destroyed their room. Roger Daltry, a member of the rock band The Who, was actually the one who called the cops on the out-of-control lovers. After the police arrived at the hotel, a photograph of Depp being arrested while wearing glasses and a wool hat made the rounds in all the major newspapers and gossip rags. Not long after that, rumors began to surface that alleged that Depp had assaulted Moss.
Depp vehemently denied these accusations but the explanations that he gave for what had actually happened at The Mark were nothing short of outlandish. At one point, he claimed that the incident was the fault of a rogue armadillo, on a separate occasion, he claimed that the hotel room got wrecked when he was chasing a giant cockroach. Regardless of what really happened, Depp ended up covering the Hotel’s damages.
Five years after the incident at The Mark Hotel, Depp was arrested again for brawling with paparazzi outside of a London restaurant. This time, however, thankfully, no armadillos or cockroaches were involved.
The American Film Awards
In 2014, Depp made headlines once again after taking the stage at the Hollywood Film Award to present an award for the documentary Supermensch: The Legend of Shep Gordon. During that presentation, the winning film didn’t get the attention it deserved as Depp appeared onstage looking disheveled, wobbly, and unable to speak clearly.
While delivering a mostly incoherent speech, Depp tossed in a few choice curse words that prompted the network broadcasting the event to censor him. After fumbling around awkwardly for several minutes while babbling sometimes inaudibly, Depp excused himself and stepped off stage. At that point, all focus was placed firmly on Depp leaving many to wonder whether he was drunk or under the influence of another substance. Others speculated that he may have been channeling his Jack Sparrow character, albeit in a very ill-defined manner. Regardless, it’s well known that Depp has struggled with alcoholism and substance abuse for much of his life.
In the past, he has stated that he began using drugs at age 11 when he started stealing his mother’s nerve pills. At 12, Depp began smoking, and by age 14, he says that he had already used “every kind of drugs there were”.
In a 1997 interview, Depp acknowledged that he was drinking heavily during the production of 1993s What’s Eating Gilbert Grape. Again in 2008, he was quoted in an interview as saying that he had ‘poisoned’ himself with alcohol for many years.
In 2013, Depp announced that he had ceased drinking, stating that he had gotten pretty much everything he could get out it.
The Amber Heard Saga
Following the end of his tumultous relationship with Vanessa Paradis in2012, Depp began dating his Rum Diaries co-star Amber Heard. In February 2015, the two were married in a civil ceremony. A little over a year later, Heard filed for divorce and obtained a temporary restraining order against Depp, claiming that he had been verbally and physically abusive throughout their marriage. She also alleged that he was frequently under the influence of drugs and alcohol during his most abusive episodes.
Depp denied these claims and opined that she had a financial motive for making such shocking allegations. A settlement was reached in August of 2016, and the divorce was made final in January 2017.
In 2018, Depp unsuccessfully sued the British tabloid paper The Sun for defamation. In that case, a judge ruled that the publication’s labeling of him as a wife-beater was “substantially true”. Depp went on to successfully sue Heard in the US over that aformentioned op-ed that he she penned for The Washington Post.
Heard appealed the verdict, but in December 2022, she settled the case against Depp. After reaching the settlement, she has maintained that it wasn’t an “act of concession”.
Johnny’s Contentious Relationship With Disney
After Amber Heard made her abuse allegations against Depp, Disney promptly fired him and announced that they would no longer be working with Johnny on future projects.
In 2018, Depp gave a candid – and unabashedly unfiltered – interview with GQ describing his contentious relationship with the Mouse House. According to him, when he first introduced his interpretation of Jack Sparrow on set, Disney had a fair bit of criticism over his delivery.
Depp told GQ that Disney hated him right out of the gate. He even claims that they were actively trying to figure out how to get rid of him. A few of the criticisms that Depp recalls include producers complaining that they couldn’t understand his slurred speech and that they’d have to subtitle him. Depp was apparently also criticized for the way he physically presented himself in character, with Disney execs questioning whether he was drunk, mentally deficient, or even gay.
Despite his controversial performance, Depp went on to help make the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise one of the most valuable IPs in Disney’s repertoire, earning the company
an estimated $4.5 billion in global revenue.
The Future Of ‘Pirates’
The untitled sixth installment of the Pirates of the Caribbean film series has reportedly been in the works since 2017. Originally the last film in the series, Dead Men Tell No Tales, was supposed to be only the beginning of the final ‘Pirates’ adventure.
In May 2020, producer Jerry Bruckheimer commented that the first draft of the sixth film’s screenplay was close to being completed. That same year, however, Disney announced that they would be cutting ties with Depp, thus calling into question the future of the ‘Pirates’ franchise.
On April 20, 2022, at his defamation trial against Amber Heard, Depp stated that he was not interested in working on another Pirates film even if Disney wanted him to. To him, there was no going back after the studio removed him from the franchise before a verdict had been reached in his case. By then, the damage had already been done.
So, as of right now, it’s unclear what will become of Pirates 6. We do, however, know that a currently untitled spin-off film starring a female lead has been in the works since June 2020. In November 2022, Margot Robbie, one of the writers of the film’s screenplay, announced that the project was no longer going forward. Jerry Bruckheimer then chimed in to clarify that the project wasn’t officially dead, but it had been postponed to prioritize Pirates 6. He later reiterated that the spin-off was still going to be made but that it’s story needed a little work.
Only time will tell what the future of Johnny Depp’s career is going to look like, but as of right now, it’s not looking good. Depp’s most recent films have failed to perform very well at the box-office, and after the whole Amber Heard debacle, it’s obvious that the public’s perception of him has been permanently tarnished.
While it doesn’t seem like he’s been completely ‘canceled’ as of yet, it no longer looks like Depp is going to be handed the same sort of high-paying Blockbuster roles that he used to.
Do you think that Johnny Depp will be able to recover from his recent scandals, or do you think that his film career is all but over? Let us know in the comments, and as always, thanks for watching!