It’s not beyond the realm of possibility that Johnny Depp might walk down the aisle again, someday. Yet, after how his first two marriages turned out, no one would blame the Dark Shadows star if he skipped matrimony for the rest of his days. Johnny’s first attempts at married life have not worked. His first marriage to Lori Depp ended right as his career was taking off, and his failed marriage to Amber Heard is the subject of headlines and legal briefs. Here’s what you need to know:
Lori Depp was born Lori Anne Allison on September 6, 1957, according to her IMDb profile. She grew up in South Florida and met Johnny through the local music scene. “Well, we all know he’s a talented actor and can pull off the pirate thing like nobody’s business, but he’s also an extremely talented guitar player,” Lori told the Miami Herald in 2015, “and started out in South Florida playing the local Hollywood/Fort Lauderdale club circuit.”
Johnny and Lori got married on December 20, 1983. After they got married, Johnny and Lori went west. After settling in Los Angeles, Lori reportedly introduced her husband to Nicolas Cage. Nic had just appeared in Fast Times at Ridgemont High and landed his starring role in Valley Girl (per Metro). Nic was able to get his new drinking friend a role on a horror film – A Nightmare On Elm Street. This would be Johnny’s first major leading part, and it would launch him as a 1980’s heartthrob.
“I was literally filling out job applications at the same time, any kind of job,” Johnny said in a 2004 interview with Playboy. “Nic Cage said, ‘You should try being an actor. Maybe you are one and don’t know it.’ I began acting, and I thought, well, this is an interesting road; maybe I should keep traveling on it.”
While Johnny’s career was taking off, Lori wanted to become “a recording engineer and became a regular fixture at Criteria Studios [now Hit Factory],” she told the Herald. However, while target shooting, she lost 80% of hearing in her left ear from not wearing proper ear protection.
Lori ultimately found a calling in the makeup chair. “I started doing makeup for up-and-coming photographers and then began getting paying jobs,” she told the Miami Herald. “I eventually got an agent at a high-profile artists’ agency in Los Angeles and started working nonstop.” However, their individual successes resulted in Lori and Johnny’s marriage falling apart. They divorced in 1985, citing irreconcilable differences.
In 2015, Lori launched her line of lip glosses called Serendeppity. That year, she also gave advice to Bustle. “If it doesn’t look good on you, don’t do it,” Lori said. “But if it looks good on you, no matter when it’s from, then do it.”
When Johnny’s issues with Amber began in 2016, Lori came to her ex-husband’s defense. She told TMZ that Johnny never got physical with her during their relationship, and described him as a “soft person” who is very kind to animals. They still talked to each other, with Johnny calling Lori in 2016 to offer condolences after her mother passed away.
Amber Heard first met Johnny Depp while filming The Rum Diary, the cinematic adaptation of Hunter S. Thompson’s novel. Johnny portrayed Hunter in the 1998 film adaptation of Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas and became close to the Gonzo journalist. Amber also had a fondness for the Hell’s Angels author.
“I loved Hunter S Thompson for a long time. I’ve got a soft spot for true individuals. You can say many things about him, but he was definitely an individual,” she said in a 2011 interview with Vogue, before adding jokingly. “Working with Johnny was torture. It was better than I ever imagined, which is really saying something.”
At the time, Amber was dating photographer and painter Tasya Van Ree, while Johnny was involved with French actress Vanessa Paradis. Johnny and Vanessa split in 2012 after 14 years together. Around that time, Johnny and Amber began dating. The couple got engaged in January 2014, announcing that they “couldn’t be happier to be engaged and that they were “excited to share the rest of their lives together.”
Amber and Johnny tied the knot on February 3, 2015, in a private ceremony at Johnny’s Los Angeles mansion. That year, Johnny and Amber were caught up in an international incident when they failed to declare the couple’s Yorkies Pistol and Boo when she visited Johnny on the Australian set of Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales. Sadly, getting scolded by Australia’s agriculture minister would not be the couple’s biggest legal drama.
In May 2016, Amber filed for divorce, ending their short marriage. That was just the beginning of a long, legal battle. Amber obtained a temporary restraining order against Johnny after accusing him of being physically and verbally abusive to her during their marriage. Johnny denied the allegations and fired back with some of his own. A back-and-forth played out in the press and the legal system, with the public taking sides. The divorce was finalized in 2017 with a joint statement from the two.
Johnny sued Amber in 2019 for defamation following a 2018 op-ed in the Washington Post over leaving an abusive relationship. “I became a public figure representing domestic abuse, and I felt the full force of our culture’s wrath for women who speak out,” she wrote, never naming Johnny as her abuser. Seven years after Amber first accused Johnny of assault, the two were scheduled to meet in a Virginia courtroom over the defamation. Johnny was seeking $50 million in damages.
“To harm someone you love? As some kind of bully? No, it didn’t, it couldn’t even sound like me,” Depp said in a 2018 interview with GQ. “Twenty-five feet away from her, how the fuck am I going to hit her? Which, by the way, is the last thing I would’ve done. I might look stupid, but I ain’t f-cking stupid.”
In Nov. 2020, Johnny lost his libel suit against The Sun for calling him a “wife-beater” (and an appeal was denied in 2021, per Deadline.)
Since splitting from Johnny, Amber has been romantically linked to people like Elon Musk to Cara Delevingne to Bianca Butti.