Johnny Depp’s Real Name Might Surprise You

Throughout the ’90s and early 2000s, Johnny Depp was known as one of the most quirky and unconventional leading men in Hollywood. A wildly talented actor with the ability to inhabit any role he took on, Depp became particularly well-known for tackling parts that required him to bury himself in prosthetics, wigs, and makeup.

Depp is probably best known for playing Captain Jack Sparrow, the swashbuckling pirate in Disney’s Pirates of the Caribbean series. These days, Depp is in the headlines due to the contentious legal battle between him and his ex-wife, Amber Heard. But for fans, Depp’s name will always be synonymous with the art of acting. 

Johnny Depp is known for playing quirky, unexpected roles

Johnny Depp Pirates
Johnny Depp, dressed as Captain Jack Sparrow, greets locals at Cleveland in Redland City, Queensland, after a day of filming ‘Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales’. | Peter Wallis/Newspix/Getty Images

Depp rose to fame in the late ’80s, thanks to his work in the TV series 21 Jump Street. As a baby-faced police officer who goes undercover at high schools to uncover crime, Depp became a teen heartthrob.

He started landing parts in movies, but Depp proved that he had no desire to become a typical Hollywood leading man. His first major movie role was in the 1990 film Edward Scissorhands, which paired him up with director Tim Burton for the first time.

All throughout the ’90s, Depp made waves acting in independent dramas such as Donnie Brasco, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, and Sleepy Hollow. Although fans praised his matinee-idol looks, Depp seemed most comfortable hiding behind layers of outlandish makeup, crazy costumes, and wigs. By the early 2000s, with the release of the hit film Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl, Depp was a major box-office draw. 

What is Johnny Depp’s real name?

Johnny Depp in suit
Johnny Depp | Samir Hussein/WireImage

Depp played a ’50s greaser in the 1990 movie Cry-Baby, working with the cult-favorite director John Waters. To many, his name even echoes those iconic greasers of the decade—but as it turns out, he didn’t have to adopt a totally new name when he made it in Hollywood. According to Britannica, Depp’s name at birth was John Christopher Depp II.

Born in Kentucky in 1963, Depp was raised as the youngest of four children, according to IMDb. His mother, Betty Sue Palmer, and his father, John Christopher Depp, were divorced when he was 15 years old. Depp wasn’t especially drawn to his studies, and instead, developed an intense passion for music, an interest that heightened after he received a guitar as a birthday gift.

Depp would eventually drop out of high school in order to kickstart a career in music—a career that was derailed when Depp started acting.

Depp has had a number of high-profile relationships over the course of his time in the spotlight, including long-term relationships with Kate Moss and Vanessa Paradis.

From 2015 to 2017, Depp was married to Heard. The relationship ended in a whirl of controversy, with Heard alleging that Depp had been abusive throughout their relationship. In early 2022, Depp sued Heard for an op-ed that she published where she referred to herself as a victim of domestic violence.

According to The New York Post, the trial between Depp and Heard is now underway, with witnesses going on the stand to recount stories of their time working for and with Depp and Heard. At this point, it’s hard to predict what will happen in the coming days. But it is clear that Depp is out to protect his name, and reclaim his reputation in Hollywood, which has taken some serious hits over the past few years.

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