Johnny Depp on His Mother: He Grew Up in a ‘Ghost House’

Today, Johnny Depp is one of the most well-known actors in Tinseltown. He often takes on eccentric men — those existing beyond the boundaries of reality — as seen by his turns as the Mad Hatter, Willy Wonka, Edward Scissorhands, Sweeney Todd, and more. 

Johnny Depp
Johnny Depp attends the ‘Lone Ranger’ Japan Premiere | Atsushi Tomura/Getty Images

Though Depp has risen to A-list status and has accumulated a net worth of approximately $150 million, his upbringing wasn’t without its hurdles. He had quite a difficult childhood, and Depp grew up in a household not exactly suited to children’s well-being. During an interview with Rolling Stone, Depp spoke about his childhood, honing on his mom’s violent and erratic behavior, as well as their fractured adult relationship. 

Johnny Depp said his mom ‘hurled things’

When speaking about his childhood, The Pirates of the Caribbean star — who grew up in a household with three older siblings — explained that he was mostly raised by his mother, Betty Sue. His father was a civil engineer, so he wasn’t home most of the time.

Depp noted that they lived in Kentucky, and then Florida, but the family moved around a great deal. When speaking about his mom, Depp explained that she was one to throw things. He shared: 

Yeah, there were irrational beatings…Maybe it’s an ashtray coming your way. Maybe you’re gonna get clunked with the phone…”

Depp | Rolling Stone 

RELATED: Tim Burton Compared Edward Scissorhands to Sweeney Todd: The Main Difference Between the Johnny Depp Characters

Depp went on to comment on the silence that often filled the home, likely out of fear (based on his prior comment). He said: 

“It was a ghost house – no one talked. I don’t think there ever was a way I thought about people, especially women, other than ‘I can fix them.’”

Depp | Rolling Stone

Though their relationship defintely wasn’t all sunshine and rainbows, Depp used his first major payday to help out his mother. 

The ‘Sweeney Todd’ star worshipped his mom, yet he knows she was no angel 

Rolling Stone noted that Depp used one of his first big paychecks to buy his mother a horse farm outside Lexington, Kentucky. Depp used to rub his mom’s feet when she returned home for a long day of waiting tables. He rubbed as she counted tips. Depp said: 

“Betty Sue, I worshiped her…She could be a real bitch on wheels.”

Depp | Rolling Stone

Though he worshipped his mom, he was not blind to her erratic behavior and mean streak. He told Rolling Stone what he said at her funeral: “My mom was maybe the meanest human being I have ever met in my life.”