Johnny Depp is a master at that fine line between darkness and humor. On set, that gives his Disney films a wider appeal that lures in adults who appreciate his waddling around like an eye-patched Keith Richards in Pirates of the Caribbean. Off set, it doesn’t exactly manifest in the healthiest image of a Hollywood star. One — arguably chaotic — Rolling Stone interview outlined Depp’s multi-million dollar lawsuits against his former management, but the real perplexing reveal was how Depp drank from goblets of wine. He reportedly spends over $30,000 on the stuff a month, truly embodying his Wino Forever cover-up tattoo.
It’s stuff like Depp’s wine goblets, his various tattoo cover-ups, and the litany of bad press surrounding the actor that makes him so polarizing. With his blistering divorce from Amber Heard — and all the allegations of abuse — the actor has added a few names to his likely lengthy list of enemies. Whether it’s a former co-star or an entire city, Johnny Depp has definitely found himself on more than a couple of bad sides.
Amber Heard filed a restraining order against ex-husband Johnny Depp
Johnny Depp and Amber Heard met while filming The Rum Diary, but according to Variety, the pair didn’t start dating until 2012 — when Depp split from his partner of 24 years, Vanessa Paradis. By January 2014, the couple was engaged … but things quickly turned sour from there.
The two walked down the aisle in 2015, but reported text messages obtained by Entertainment Tonight dated Depp’s supposed abusive behavior as far back as a May 2014 incident, in which he allegedly kicked the Aquaman actress. More details came forward during the pair’s grueling divorce trial in 2016. Per Variety, Heard got a restraining order against the Pirates of the Caribbean star days after their separation went public. TMZ first got a hold of the gritty legal docs, in which Heard claimed her ex was “verbally and physically abusive” throughout the entirety of their relationship. This included an incident where Depp allegedly threw an iPhone at her face.
The pair’s divorce, finalized in 2017, may be the nastiest in Hollywood history, emphasized by a terrifying video obtained by TMZ that showed Depp slamming kitchen cabinets. Per BBC News, Depp has fiercely denied Heard’s accusations, claiming he was the victim and filing defamation suits against Heard and News Group Newspapers, who’s article in The Sun labeled him a “wife-beater” (the latter suit was dismissed in 2020). Heard ultimately filed her own $100 million defamation countersuit, which is still playing out in court, as of this writing, per The Hollywood Reporter.
Elon Musk wishes Johnny Depp left him out of it
Tesla co-founder Elon Musk was somehow dragged into Johnny Depp’s drama with Amber Heard — and he didn’t seem all that thrilled about it. In fact, he alleged that Depp was trying to frame him for adultery, even though he’d done nothing wrong.
According to E! News, Grimes’ baby daddy was brought into the mix in 2019, when Depp filed his $50 million defamation suit against Heard. This followed her op-ed in The Washington Post, in which she claimed she was a victim of domestic abuse, something Depp has fervently denied. In Depp’s filing, he alleged that Heard got involved with the SpaceX founder when Depp was out of the country “no later than one month” after their nuptials. Apparently, staff at the building that holds Depp’s penthouse saw Musk coming in “late at night” and leaving in the morning.
This is quite the contrary to what Musk’s camp says. Per E! News, a rep for the billionaire claimed Musk and Amber “didn’t start seeing each other until May 2016,” and things didn’t take a romantic turn until “some time later.” The relationship was short-lived, but they made their unofficial couple debut in 2017, when paps caught them walking arm-in-arm. Musk further defended himself in a Twitter post, claiming Depp’s team “put out ‘video evidence'” of the alleged affair “but conveniently excluded the date stamp.” At the time, he alleged Heard and Depp had already separated.
Johnny Depp vs. the city of Wichita
It’s rough when you get on an entire city’s bad side, but Johnny Depp probably should’ve thought about that when he threw Wichita, Kan. under the bus during his press rounds for The Rum Diaries. In an effort to defend the flick, which was widely regarded as one of the actor’s “bigger box office flops,” the star told The Guardian, “I believe that this film, regardless of what it makes in, you know, Wichita, Kansas, this week — which is probably about $13 — it doesn’t make any difference.” Depp added, “I think it’s an intelligent film … And a lot of times, outside the big cities in the States, they don’t want that.”
Residents of Wichita, which has a population just shy of 390,000, were rightly displeased with Depp’s assumption that they weren’t smart enough for the film. Local cinema owner Bill Warren even flatly told The Wichita Eagle (via The Guardian) what every other resident was probably thinking: “That’s just sour grapes. Last time I heard, it didn’t do well in New York, either … It wasn’t a very entertaining movie, period.” The feud was big enough that it garnered a headline in The Atlantic. Meanwhile, The Wichita Eagle later revealed that The Atlantic Wire had dubbed the city the war’s ultimate winner.
Considering The Rum Diaries has a 36 percent audience score on Rotten Tomatoes, it’s probably safe to admit that Wichita as a whole wasn’t the only one who thought it wasn’t very good.
Ezra Miller would’ve probably wingardium leviosa-ed Johnny Depp off the Fantastic Beasts set
Ezra Miller has had his own share of problematic headlines, and he certainly isn’t very happy about being dragged into someone else’s. The Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald star totally threw the production under the bus for keeping Johnny Depp in his prominent role after Amber Heard’s widespread domestic abuse allegations broke. JK Rowling adamantly defended the casting choice on her website, claiming both Heard and Depp “expressed the desire to get on with their lives.” Miller seemed a little less pleased with her decision.
In a 2018 interview with Playboy, journalist Ryan Gajewski described Miller as “uncharacteristically stymied by” questions about Depp’s involvement in Crimes of Grindelwald. He claimed none of the cast members “were consulted” and none of them knew about Depp’s involvement. Miller then threw out a very vague, “I would say that literally every single aspect of my reality, inclusive of a lot of things that are not fine with me, are fine with me.” So, he was fine with and not fine with Depp’s role? It’s unclear exactly what that means, but he sure doesn’t sound like the actor’s biggest fan.
Ultimately, Depp was ousted from the series in 2020 after losing his libel suit against The Sun.
Daniel Radcliffe doesn’t like the double standard
Harry Potter himself — the face of nearly everything JK Rowling touches — seemed to be just as annoyed as Ezra Miller about Johnny Depp’s Crimes of Grindelwald casting. Long before Depp’s eventual ouster from the series in 2020, Daniel Radcliffe didn’t hold back his frustrations, even though he thanked the film’s producers for giving him “a great start in life and an amazing job.” All that means is that Harry Potter’s smart enough to not bite the hand that feeds him, unless that hand is Voldermort.
In a 2018 Entertainment Weekly interview, Radcliffe compared the situation to the NFL, where some players are arrested for smoking weed, but others slide by with much worse behavior because of their fame. “I suppose the thing I was struck by was, we did have a guy who was reprimanded for weed on the [original Potter] film, essentially, so obviously what Johnny has been accused of is much greater than that,” he said.
As the media outlet points out, this was a reference to Jamie Waylett (i.e. Vincent Crabbe). After the actor was “arrested for growing 10 marijuana plants,” he was dropped from The Deathly Hallows. Radcliffe claimed the situation with Depp is “a very hard thing for [him],” but it should be noted that Waylett pleaded guilty to the pot offense. If that wasn’t enough, his subsequent arrest after carrying a petrol bomb in the 2011 London riots probably would’ve probably gotten him expelled from Hogwarts anyway.
Michael Mann and Johnny Depp were private enemies on the set of Public Enemies
According to Vulture, Michael Mann and Johnny Depp are quite obviously “not the best of friends,” at least if you’re reading the tabloids. The pair worked together on the biographical crime drama, Public Enemies, which premiered in 2009. Though the film was met with rave reviews and shocking declarations that the true-life story was so jaw-droppingly gritty it had to be toned-down for audiences, one of the grittiest parts may have been what happened on set.
In a post by The Daily Beast (via Vulture), reporter Kim Masters alleged that things were so bad between Depp and Mann on set that, at one point, Depp refused to talk to the director. During an interview with The Baltimore Sun, Mann downplayed their tensions, though he didn’t write them off completely. “I will tell you there were scenes and moments it was complete and total rapport, and other times I’m seeing it one way and we’re butting heads a little bit,” he said, adding, “Johnny said to me the other night, ‘When things are wonderful and blissful on set, it’s usually not a good movie.’ I want actors to have an interpretation.”
Apparently, a feud is all just part of the artistic process. Does their HR department agree?
The Sun’s Dan Wootton was so critical of Johnny Depp that he got sued
Dan Wootton, executive editor of British newspaper The Sun, definitely wasn’t quiet about his distaste for Johnny Depp. In fact, he was so vocal that it actually got him in legal trouble. In a 2018 headline, Wootton dubbed Depp a “wife-beater” and criticized JK Rowling for casting him in Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald. That headline has since been amended to remove the “wife beater” claims, but Wootton still asked why Rowling was “hellbent on backing her famous pal — despite his clearly inexcusable behavior towards ex-wife Amber Heard.”
Depp, who’s loudly denied Heard’s claims of abuse, was not happy to be dubbed a “wife beater,” and according to Deadline, he sued Wootton and News Group Newspapers, The Sun’s parent company, for libel. The pre-trial included character witness statements from his former partners, Vanessa Paradis and Winona Ryder, who both supported the Pirates of the Caribbean actor. At the time, Depp’s lawyer told Deadline that Wootton refused to testify about his article’s validity.
As of this writing, a lot has changed. According to reports from The Guardian and the BBC, the case was postponed because of the novel coronavirus pandemic, but did eventually go to trial later in 2020. After The Sun managed to prove that “12 of the 14 alleged incidents” outlined in the article actually happened, a judge dismissed the case, claiming The Sun’s assertions were “substantially true.”
Angelina Jolie was allegedly fed up with her The Tourist co-star
Angelina Jolie and Johnny Depp may have starred in some of the most highly revered films in Hollywood, but The Tourist wasn’t one of them. The film holds an abysmal 20 percent critic rating on Rotten Tomatoes, and perhaps some of this can be attributed to the pair’s onscreen chemistry. According to a report from InTouch’s print issue, captured by the gossip blog Celeb**chy, Jolie and Depp apparently couldn’t stand each other on set.
Now, let’s be clear: InTouch isn’t exactly known for being an arbiter of truth. In fact, Jolie told The Hollywood Reporter that the pair “really enjoyed working with each other,” which also happens to be exactly the kind of thing a person would say who doesn’t want people knowing they really didn’t enjoy working together. Anyway, according to InTouch, Jolie and Depp were “not getting along.” The Pirates of the Caribbean star allegedly believed Brad Pitt’s ex was “uptight and self-involved.” Jolie allegedly believed Depp partied too much and was annoyed by his “late nights and time spent practicing with the band Babybird” and his late arrivals to set. Jolie was also reportedly “disappointed that he didn’t get in better shape for the role and that he didn’t want to cut his hair.”
Personally, we have a hard time believing that Jolie would care that much about Depp’s hairstyle. He’s kind of known for having long disheveled hair. It’s not exactly a shock.
Johnny Depp vs. the White House
Kathy Griffin was nearly blacklisted from Hollywood for her ill-advised joke about Donald Trump, but Johnny Depp somehow managed to skirt the same fate. Maybe he had other indiscretions that clouded the headlines, but in case you forgot, the star joked about killing the president at the Glastonbury arts festival in 2017. According to The New York Times, Depp — referencing actor John Wilkes Booth, who assassinated Abraham Lincoln — announced, “Can you bring Trump here? … When was the last time an actor assassinated a president? I want to clarify: I’m not an actor. I lie for a living. However, it’s been awhile, and maybe it’s time.”
This may be shocking, but the White House wasn’t happy with Depp’s comments. It’s unclear if he warranted an FBI investigation like Griffin’s photo — we’re guessing not — but the Trump administration still publicly admonished him. “The president’s made it clear that we should denounce violence in all of its forms,” said then-press secretary Sean Spicer (via The New York Times).
Depp walked back on his comments in an interview with People and chalked it up to a “bad joke” that was in “poor taste,” but this wasn’t the first time the White House had beef with the actor. According to TMZ, Depp was kicked out of an HIV/AIDS benefit in January 1988 for showing “disrespect,” and that’s what you get for smoking in the Rose Garden.
Is it even possible to fill Gene Wilder’s shoes?
When Johnny Depp signed on to play Willy Wonka in Tim Burton’s Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, he had some pretty big shoes to fill — we’re talking Violet Beauregarde after turning into a giant blueberry kind of big. Did he succeed? According to the OG Willy Wonka, not in the slightest. It needed a bit more than Wonka’s glass elevator to take the production to the next level.
Gene Wilder, who portrayed the lead in the iconic 1971 flick, didn’t have a problem with Depp’s acting, per say. He took issue with the entire remake. In an interview with Turner Classic Movies (via People), Wilder claimed the 2005 movie was “an insult,” adding, “Johnny Depp, I think, is a good actor, but I don’t care for that director. He’s a talented man, but I don’t care for him doing stuff like he did.”
It doesn’t look like critics agreed with the late star. Depp’s Charlie and the Chocolate Factory has an 83 percent critical rating on Rotten Tomatoes, while Wilder’s Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory is just a few points higher at 91 percent. Then again, Wilder’s opinion should probably override it all.
NPR’s Celeste Headlee is totally over Tonto
Johnny Depp has had an enormously long career since first appearing in 1984’s A Nightmare on Elm Street. Some would argue that along the way, he’s made some movies that really didn’t need to be made. If anything, we could point to 2011’s Jack and Jill. Depp only had a small uncredited role playing himself and was awarded with the nearly impossible achievement of a three percent critical rating on Rotten Tomatoes. For former PBS World Channel host Celeste Headlee, Jack and Jill was less of an issue. Instead, Headlee argued that Depp’s character in The Lone Ranger, the 2013 film adaptation of the same-named 1950s TV show, was best left in the past.
“Tonto is a stereotype and that stereotype was so popular during the 1950’s TV show that, for many white Americans, the false image of Tonto became the only image of native Americans that they had,” she argued in a blog post. ” … Portrayals of American Indians on film have improved: Last of the Mohicans, The Black Robe, Dances With Wolves are among dozens of good examples. Tonto should have remained a relic of our ignorant, stereotypical past.”
Headlee, who revealed on an NPR podcast that she’s part Native American, isn’t alone in her criticism. The film garnered a low 31 percent critical rating on Rotten Tomatoes, with one journalist for The Reader claiming Depp’s character beat the Washington Redskins for the “most grotesque pop culture representation of Native Americans.”