Johnny Depp is many things to many people. He’s a late ’80s heartthrob, thanks to 21 Jump Street. He’s a GenX icon thanks to Edward Scissorhands, Cry-Baby, Benny and Joon, and other era films. Johnny’s a box-office smash, courtesy of the Pirates of the Caribbean movies. He a rockstar with his bands, most prominently the Hollywood Vampires. But, to three people on this planet, Johnny is a brother. The Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas star has a trio of siblings who have seen him grow into the man he is today. Here’s what you need to know about them.
Daniel Depp, born on Nov. 14, 1953, is Johnny’s older half-brother. The two have the same mother, Betsy Sue Palmer.
Daniel is a published author, and his Simon & Schuster profile describes him as a man “born in Kentucky and read Classics at university there. He has been a journalist, bookseller, and a teacher. There have been several exhibitions of his photographs, and he has also taught scriptwriting. He divides his time between California and France, where he writes and produces screenplays. Loser’s Town is his first novel.”
This isn’t to say that Daniel didn’t dip his toes into Hollywood. For a decade, the elder Depp taught English literature and history to middle school kids in San Jose, California. While out west, he set up a production company called Scaramanga Bros with Johnny. Daniel also co-wrote the script for The Brave, a movie that was directed and starred Johnny. (The younger Depp brother got the movie’s logo tattooed on his arm.)
But Daniel grew disillusioned by Hollywood, and he wrote Loser’s Town. “He said he liked it,” Daniel told The Guardian about the book in 2009. “You never quite know. When I first said this was what I wanted to do, I spoke to John and said, ‘People are going to say it’s about you.’ And he said, ‘Don’t worry about it, just go and do it.’ He was my biggest supporter.”
“To say that I am proud is a monumental understatement,” Johnny told USA Today. “I’ve been proud for a long, long time, having been well aware of my brother’s great talent for the majority of my life. That he and his work are finally being recognized by readers and serious book-heads alike is, of course, spectacular, but not all that surprising.”
Daniel also shrugged off criticism that he got the book deal because of his last name. “Oh yeah, of course, they were going to say that,” he told The Guardian. “That’s fine. It’s going to happen. My perspective is, you know, read the book, then if you don’t like it, you’re entitled to your opinion.”
As of 2022, Daniel has published three books: Loser’s Town, Babylon Nights, and Devil’s Dance.
Christi Dembrowski was born Elisa Christi Depp on Dec. 21, 1960. She and Johnny share a close bond, and since 1994, she has worked as his assistant on a handful of films. She has also managed his career. Christi’s IMDb profile also lists her as a producer on a handful of Johnny’s movies, including Dark Shadows, Mortdecai, and The Rum Diary – the film where Johnny first met Amber Heard.
“I want her replaced on the WB film,” Johnny wrote to Christi following his and Amber’s divorce drama, according to The Hollywood Reporter. Christi “previously had a deal with the studio and was influential there,” per THR, and Johnny later admitted this was a reference to Aquaman.
Christi had a prominent role in Johnny’s $50 million defamation lawsuit against Amber. Johnny’s sister was the first witness to take the stand, and Christi said she was “devastated” when Johnny married Amber. She testified she was “scared” when Johnny decided to wed Amber. “I actually tried to talk him into talking waiting a bit longer.”
Christi described a volatile relationship and recounted one instance when Dior’s fashion line was interested in a campaign with Johnny. “‘Dior, why would Dior want to do business with you?'” Amber allegedly said, according to Christi. Amber supposedly told Johnny that Dior “‘ [are] about class and style, and you don’t have style.'”
During her testimony, Christi also said that her and Johnny’s mother was physically and emotionally abusive. She also said that Johnny never hit their mother during these instances and that he would often leave the room.
Christi was snared in a 2017 legal drama between Johnny and The Management Group. Johnny first went after TMG in a $25 million fraud suit, with began a legal back and forth between him and his former business managers. TMG filed an “action for judicial foreclosure,” trying to force a sale of five Los Angeles properties owned by Depp-run trusts, per Deadline. TMG loaned Johnny $5 million in 2012 when he was strapped for cash.
“At least at the time, Depp and his sister, personal manager, and the president of his production company, (Elisa Christi) Dembrowski, were very grateful to TMG for coming to Depp’s aid and helping him to avoid a public financial collapse,” TMG’s lawyer said. Variety reported in 2018 that Johnny settled with TMG.
Unlike Johnny’s brother and sister, Christi, not much is known about Debbi Depp. Johnny’s other sister has shied away from the limelight, keeping her life private. She reportedly lives in Kentucky, where the Depp clan is from.