Rum binges. Partying with SEVEN girls in tow. Is Johnny Depp turning his back on the woman who tamed him
With its 13 bedrooms, 12 bathrooms and elegant facade, the 7 million stately home near Burnham Market in Norfolk is described as ‘a study in harmony’.
All of which bodes well for the rumoured new owner — actor Johnny Depp — who is in need of all the harmony he can get.
Though the estate agents denied the sale — saying only that the house has been ‘taken off the market’ — what can be said is that Hollywood is ablaze with speculation that all is not well in Depp’s relationship with long-term girlfriend, French singer and actress Vanessa Paradis.
This week, U.S. website RadarOnline suggested Johnny Depp and Vanessa Paradis were bickering non-stop
Though the couple have never married, they have been together for nearly 14 years and have two children, Lily-Rose, 12, and Jack, nine, and their relationship had been described as gloriously happy.
Add to that the fact Depp is said to have earned 200 million from the Pirates Of The Caribbean films.
But this week, U.S. website RadarOnline suggested the couple were bickering non-stop and he had consulted lawyers on how to extricate himself from the relationship.
‘Johnny doesn’t seem to be handling anything well right now,’ a friend was quoted as saying. There was talk of a ‘mini mid-life crisis’ and the pair were said to be ‘fractured’.
'Vanessa is not her normal self. She is soul-searching,' said a source
The French magazine Voici started the rumours last April, when a picture emerged of Depp apparently kissing his publicist, Robin Baum.
‘Are Johnny and Vanessa heading for a split’ was the headline.
Baum, a divorcee and mother of two in her late 30s, has dated a client before. Two years ago, she had a romance with actor Stephen Dorff.
The Baum rumour evaporated, but at the end of last year, Depp and Paradis gave publicity interviews in which they didn’t mention each other.
Alone in the 9,000-a-night
presidential suite of the Park Hyatt hotel in Paris just before
Christmas, Vanessa cut a solemn figure, according to an interviewer.
if she might play Simone de Beauvoir in a film about the feminist’s
troubled affair with the writer Nelson Algren, to be played by Depp, she
said: ‘If the film was to come out, it would have a particular
‘It was a typical Vanessa comment,’ says a confidante. ‘She never talks openly about Johnny, but she drops hints.
‘Vanessa is not her normal self. She
is soul-searching. Normally, she is a doer — someone who gets on with
her busy life with a big smile on her face.
have joked that her sadness is all to do with turning 40 this year and
she will get over it, but there may be deeper problems. Vanessa is in
Paris by herself too often.’
It was Vanessa who insisted Johnny clean up his act, ordering him to cut down on the drinking, smoking and late nights, and to take better care of himself
The couple travel between their many homes around the world — from a Disney-style house with turrets in West Hollywood to a private island in the Bahamas — but they were said to be happiest at a hamlet in Plan de la Tour, near St Tropez, where Johnny banned phones, grew tomatoes and took the children on picnics.
But neighbours say they haven’t seen the couple there for months.
In part, of course, work pressures have been to blame. Depp’s workaholic streak means he is often away filming or promoting his projects for weeks on end.
It is no secret that during the times when Depp and Paradis have been apart, his behaviour has not always been above reproach.
Johnny has never pretended to be an easy-going character
few weeks before Vanessa’s Paris trip, he had been spotted in Los
Angeles, falling over while signing autographs, apparently drunk.
in November it was reported he’d turned up at a New York nightclub
with seven women in tow. That night he was drinking, dancing with models
and generally acting like a bachelor.
before that, a Vanity Fair interview described how he insisted on going
gambling at the Ritz casino in London and ended up with the interviewer
finding him asleep in one of the hotel’s toilets.
Depp has never pretended to be an
easy-going character. The youngest of four children, his parents were an
itinerant engineer and a waitress from Kentucky, who split up when he
He has said he self-harmed as a teenager and experimented with drugs after his father left.
Two things seem to have kicked off the troubles between Depp and Paradis: alcohol and women.
Despite his success as Captain Jack Sparrow in the Pirates Of The Caribbean blockbusters, Depp’s heart lies in edgier films.
Last year, his company, Infinitum Nihil,
run by his sister Christi, produced The Rum Diary, based on a semi-
autobiographical novel by Hunter S. Thompson about a boozy journalist in
Costa Rica. No one could accuse Depp of failing to put himself fully
into the character.
Before settling down with Vanessa, Johnny's intense relationships with Winona Ryder (left) and Kate Moss (right) were marked by alcohol-fuelled disagreements
Its British director, Bruce Robinson, said he couldn’t keep up with Depp on the shoot, blaming him for going back on the bottle when he’d been teetotal for six years.
Before settling down with Paradis, his intense relationships with actresses Sherilyn Fenn and Winona Ryder, and supermodel Kate Moss, were marked by alcohol-fuelled disagreements.
It was Vanessa who insisted Depp clean up his act, ordering him to cut down on the drinking, smoking and late nights, and to take better care of himself.
However, she says: ‘I didn’t tame Johnny Depp. We tamed each other.’
Yet it is a thornier issue that’s said to have become an issue.
Depp has been in London shooting his next picture, the vampire film Dark Shadows, with his long-term collaborator, director Tim Burton.
His choice of co-star, French actress Eva Green, tapped straight into Paradis’s insecurities.
Cool, enigmatic and single, 31-year-old Green must have seemed like a younger version of herself.
'I didn't tame Johnny Depp. We tamed each other,' said Vanessa. The couple have been together for 14 years
Though famous for her role as Vesper Lynd in the Bond film Casino Royale, like Paradis, she is also a model. Green is the face of Dior’s scent Midnight Poison; Paradis has advertised Chanel.
That has led to reports, published in the U.S. this week, that ‘Vanessa is afraid Johnny has fallen head over heels for Eva’.
A source was quoted as saying: ‘Vanessa’s worst fear is that Johnny wants someone new in his life. Even though it all seems to be in her head, it’s making Johnny sick.’
Whatever the truth of this, it can’t be easy for a woman turning 40 — even one as beautiful and talented as Paradis — to have the father of her children working alongside many of Hollywood’s most delectable actresses.
That may help explain why, according to reports two years ago, Paradis vetoed a passionate love scene between Depp and his co-star, Angelina Jolie, in the thriller The Tourist.
She successfully argued for the scene to be dropped, though failed, as some said she wanted, to get him to pull out of the film.
It was love at first sight when Paradis and Depp met in 1998 at the Hotel Costes when he was filming the Polanski thriller, The Ninth Gate.
In an interview last year, he recalled how he had been smitten: ‘That back, that neck… she turned round and boom! My life as a single man was done.’
Vanessa calls her ten films a 'meagre record' and knows her celebrity is largely down to the Depp connection
Paradis had been in showbusiness from a young age — she first sang on a children’s TV programme when she was seven — but found it hard to follow the success of Joe Le Taxi, the hit song she released at 14.
She calls her ten films a ‘meagre record’ and knows her celebrity is largely down to the Depp connection.
She remains close to her parents Andre and Corinne, who run an interior design firm and still live in the leafy Parisian suburb where she grew up.
So, it must have been a wrench when Depp decided last year that he could no longer base himself in France because the authorities were urging him to become a French citizen, in order, he said angrily, to extract more tax from him.
That has made his life even more peripatetic, with Depp relishing spending time on his 45-acre private island in the Bahamas where he drinks rum with his male friends or on board his 156ft yacht, the Vajoliroja (a pun on the Jolly Roger using the first two letters of Vanessa, Johnny, Lily Rose and Jack).
As well as the family home in West Hollywood, Depp has acquired a $2 million penthouse not far from Skid Row, LA’s scruffiest area.
As for the rumoured Norfolk stately home, Depp is said to have fallen in love with the area after spending time with his friend the Marquess of Cholmondeley, who owns nearby Houghton Hall.
You can only hope that wherever they choose to settle, Depp and Paradis find the stability that has been missing from their lives.