Johnny Depp’s Ex Vanessa Paradis Was ‘Unhappy’ Before Their Split—Here’s If Amber Heard Was to Blame

Johnny Depp, Vanessa Paradis
Photo: AP Images.

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Ever since his defamation trial against Amber Heard started making headlines, many who have followed the case have wanted to know why Johnny Depp and Vanessa Paradis split before his romance with the Aquaman actress began. The Pirates of the Caribbean actor and the French model dated for 14 years and welcomed two children together before calling it quits. So, what caused their breakup in the first place?

Depp and Paradis started dating in 1998, after the Alice in Wonderland actor ran into the model at a hotel lobby in Paris. It wasn’t the first time that Depp and Paradis met—the pair were briefly acquainted years earlier, but Depp was dating British supermodel Kate Moss at the time. “The thing is, I loved him before I was with him, but we had met,” Paradis once shared in an interview with the London Times, revealing that the actor introduced himself to her for the first time at a nightclub in Los Angeles. “I remember perfectly the first time. He just shook my hand and I thought, ‘OK, that’s it’… He didn’t only look good, everything was good. He was so sweet, so different. He just seemed like a good person. I just knew… there was no one better.”

When Depp and Paradis met again for the second time, sparks were free to fly. In an interview with The Daily Mail in 2011, Depp recalled recognizing Paradis from behind: “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,” he told the publication at the time.

Soon enough, the pair started dating and welcomed their first child together, daughter Lily-Rose Depp. Their daughter was born in May 1999, just one year after her parents were first linked. Her little brother, John “Jack” Christopher Depp III, was born three years after her in 2002. Depp and Paradis continued their relationship until 2012, when the pair confirmed that they were no longer an item. In a statement shared with Entertainment Tonight at the time, Depp’s publicist revealed that he had “amicably separated” from Paradis. “Please respect their privacy and, more importantly, the privacy of their children,” the statement continued.

Years after Depp and Paradis split, however, fans continue to wonder what really caused their breakup after over a decade of romance and two children together—especially after Depp quickly moved on with his now ex-wife, Amber Heard. The What’s Eating Gilbert Grape actor and the Zombieland actress got married in 2015 after several years of dating. In 2016, Heard filed for divorce and obtained a restraining order against the actor, accusing him of verbal and physical abuse during their relationship. Depp, for his part, went on to file a defamation lawsuit against Heard, repeatedly insisting that her allegations against him are untrue.

Testimony from Depp and Heard’s trial has spawned a barrage of headlines—along with some surprising details about what really caused Depp and Paradis’ split. Keep on reading ahead for what we know about the real cause behind Johnny Depp and Vanessa Paradis’ breakup years ago.

Why did Johnny Depp and Vanessa Paradis break up?

Johnny Depp, Vanessa Paradis

Image: Everett Collection.

So, why did Johnny Depp and Vanessa Paradis break up? In an interview with Rolling Stone years ago, Depp hinted about the reason for his breakup with the model. He opened up about their relationship, noting at first that he was having a hard time after their split. “The last couple of years have been a bit bumpy,” Depp shared with the magazine in 2005. “At times, certainly unpleasant, but that’s the nature of breakups, I guess, especially when there are kiddies involved.”

“Relationships are very difficult,” he went on to note at the time, before alluding to distance and work schedules playing a factor in their split. “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.”

Speaking to Rolling Stone, Depp admitted that he had a messy past with drugs and alcohol, but insisted that he wasn’t using substances following his split from Paradis. “In terms of the breakup, I definitely wasn’t going to rely on the drink to ease things or cushion the blow or cushion the situation,” the star shared. “‘Cause that could have been fatal. I felt it was my duty to be real clear throughout that. I had something pretty serious to focus on, really, which was making sure that my kids were gonna be cool.”

Paradis, for her part, never commented directly on the reason behind their split, but she did seem to suggest that she was “unhappy” in their relationship for a time. “Nothing is ever for sure, but when something in love doesn’t work from the beginning, it’s never going to work,” she said in an interview with Harper’s Bazaar. “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.”

Years later, however, new details emerged about Vanessa Paradis and Johnny Depp’s relationship during the actor’s defamation trial with Amber Heard—and they may contain the answer as to why Depp and Paradis truly split in the first place. Read on ahead for those details.

What really caused Johnny Depp and Vanessa Paradis’ split?

Johnny Depp, Vanessa Paradis

Image: AP Images.

While the real reason behind Depp and Paradis’ breakup was never clearly elucidated in the past, the Black Mass actor appears to have officially revealed one of the deciding factors behind their split during his defamation trial against ex-wife Amber Heard in April 2022. During a hearing on April 19, 2022, Depp seemingly confirmed that he cheated on Paradis with Heard.

Depp and Heard met for the first time in 2009 while working on the film The Rum Diary, but it wasn’t until 2012 that the pair were first linked publicly following Depp’s breakup with Paradis. However, during his testimony, Depp revealed that he first started to develop feelings for Heard after filming a steamy shower scene for their 2011 film. “During the scene in the shower, where we kissed. I felt something I shouldn’t have, because at that time she had her partner and I had Vanessa. It all started with that kiss in the shower,” Depp revealed.

The actor went on to drop one of the biggest bombshells yet. According to Depp, their onscreen kiss wasn’t the only one to take place during his relationship with Paradis. “We shared a glass of wine and kisses,” Depp revealed, recalling a moment when they spent an evening together in his dressing room. “Amber wanted to stay, but I realized it was best to leave it at that.” As we know, the pair would rekindle their romance years later. While it’s unclear if Paradis was aware of Depp’s kiss with Heard during their relationship, knowing this would certainly explain why Depp and Paradis broke up all those years ago.

If you or someone you know is experiencing domestic violence, help is available. Call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 800-799-SAFE (7233) for confidential support.

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