Why Did Johnny Depp and His First Wife, Lori Allison, Divorce?

Johnny Depp is deeply embroiled in a battle against ex-wife Amber Heard. Prior to Heard, Depp has had plenty of high-profile relationships. His romance with Winona Ryder rocked Hollywood forever, and he sustained a 14-year partnership with Vanessa Paradis. But we’re now revisiting his marriage to his first wife, Lori Allison.

So, why did Allison and Depp ultimately go their separate ways? Here’s what we know.

Johnny Depp’s first wife, Lori Allison, helped him get into acting

Johnny Depp
Johnny Depp in 1990 | The LIFE Picture Collection via Getty Images

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Depp and Allison knew each other long before Depp achieved superstardom. According to The Things, Depp first met Allison thanks to the band he was in when he was just a teen. The actor dropped out of high school and then did a number of gigs with The Kids, and he ended up attaining moderate success for his time playing music. Allison was the sister of the bassist of the band.

By 1983, Allison and Depp decided to tie the knot. Allison was 25 at the time, and Depp was just 20. Together, the two embarked on a journey to Los Angeles to both get more involved in the music industry. While Allison had high hopes of becoming a record producer, she had to switch gears after becoming partially deaf. She then pursued makeup art in the film industry.

Thanks to Allison’s newfound connections to the movie industry, she was able to connect Depp with Nicolas Cage. Cage got Depp to audition for A Nightmare on Elm Street, and thus began Depp’s Hollywood career.

Depp and Allison appeared to amicably split in 1985

It seems the two couldn’t make their relationship work. Metro.co.uk noted they split in 1985 and noted irreconcilable differences as the reasoning. The two didn’t appear to end things on a bitter note, either. Allison still goes by “Lori Depp” today, and she’s had a number of nice things to say about her ex-husband.

“Well, we all know he’s a talented actor and can pull off the pirate thing like nobody’s business,” she once shared to the Miami Herald in 2015. “But he’s also an extremely talented guitar player and started out in South Florida playing the local Hollywood/Fort Lauderdale club circuit.”

Allison has also stood up for Depp in the recent abuse allegations set against him by Heard. According to TMZ, Allison called her ex a “soft person” who would never engage in abusive behavior.

Depp noted he didn’t want to marry during his longest relationship afterward

It seemed Depp was quick to tie the knot in the ’80s, and he walked down the aisle once again with Heard. But his relationship with Vanessa Paradis might be Depp’s longest — and the two never got married. So, why didn’t Depp say “I do” to Paradis? It seems it’s all about preserving her last name.

“Marriage is really from soul to soul, heart to heart. You don’t need somebody to say, OK, you’re married,” he told Vogue. “If Vanessa wanted to get hitched, why not? But the thing is, I’d be so scared of ruining her last name. She’s got such a good last name.”

Depp and Paradis also went their separate ways in 2012. But there’s still plenty of respect there. “The trajectory of that relationship — you play it out until it goes, one thing leads to another,” Us Weekly notes he said. “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.”

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