Johnny Depp came into this world on June 9th, 1963 as John Christopher Depp II. He was born in Owensboro, Kentucky in the United States. Owensboro is a small town in the mid-western U.S. on the southern banks of Ohio. His parents are John Christopher Depp Senior and Betty Sue. His father was a city engineer and his mother was a waitress in small coffee shops. Johnny says that he can remember sitting with his mother after her shifts and helping her count out all her tip change and money from that days work. He has always been very close to his mother and talks with great admiration about her and all her hardwork and persistence in striving to provide for the children as they grew up. He is the youngest of four children, two by an earlier marriage, to whom he has always been very close. His three siblings are 10 year older Danny (also known as DP and a screenwriter today), Debbie and Christie (today Christie Dembrowsky is Johnny’s personal assistant).
Johnny’s earliest childhood memory is catching lighting bugs, “creatures that are both fascinating and beautiful.” Early on, his family began to call him Johnny to differentiate him from his father in the home. He also took on lots of other nicknames from his siblings such as “Johnny Dip” and “Dippity dog.” Johnny and all his siblings have great ethnic features which Johnny says comes from his Irish and German and “god knows what” ancestry, but he is sure of his Indian origins. His great-grandmother (who lived to be 102 years old) was 100 percent Cherookee. Johnny was closest to his grandfather, whom he loving reffered to as “Paw Paw”. While he was still very young, Johnny “remembers picking tobacco in the fields with him and listening to him tell stories.” He has spoken of being nearly inseparable from him and when his grandfather passed away, Johnny was heart broken. Not able to deal totally with the loss, Johnny has said that he dealt with it from a supernatural point of view, as he began to feel his grandfathers presence close to him. He said that this has “continued throughout life especially when he has been in times of crises.”
Soon after his grandfathers passing, at the age of seven, his family moved to Miramar Florida where they spent a long time living in motels until his father found secure work as director of public works . Miramar was a small town and Johnny says that “there were two grocery stores that faced each other and nothing really happened there.” Johnny remembers that they lived in probably twenty houses by the time he was fifteen. He says that whenever he packs a suitcase to go on his many trips “it can trigger old memories of moving.” The move was very hard on Johnny and for a time he felt an era of instability and uncertainity, which brought out his wild side. Johnny admits that he feels he was a “weird kid who wanted to be Daniel Boone to Bruce Lee”. As Johnny began to get older his interests changed to music. His Uncle was a preacher and had a gospel group that preformed in the church. Johnny loved the music and saw a type of preforming as his Uncle stood at the podium and called out to the audience to “come and be saved”. He learned how to capture a crowds attention and was more interested in the effect and role that the mucic played on the people, than the preaching itself. Another influence of music came from his brother Danny, who he shared a room with. His brother was into rock music and opened Johnny up to Van Morrison, Kiss and Bob Dylan. Johnny continued to grow more wild and to escape into his own fantasy world. He was fascinated with recklessness and danger. He played Evil Knievel and the second World War. He dug tunnels in the yard with his friend and had a secret plan to dig an escape tunnel from his room in the house to the backyard.
Because of his outsider treatment at school and his own feelings of not belonging, Johnny began to totally come about as a dreamer and was constantly in trouble during school. He had problems with one particular teacher who decided to single him out and embarress him in front of the class. Johnny finally had enough and before he left the room, dropped his pants and mooned her! Johnny was suspended and from then on labeled a troublemaker. He lived up to the label well as he began to pull stunts with his friends, like soaking a shirt in gasoline and catching it on fire to try and imitate Gene Simmons fire eating stunt. For a split second it backfired and Johnny’s face was caught up in the flames. That night when his mom came home Johnny told her that he was burned by fireworks, so he wouldn”t get into trouble. He started to pull typical pranks like egging cars and school fell away to the back burner.
Johnny’s cousins played in his Uncles gospel group and Johnny says that he was obsessed with the electric guitar, so his mother bought him one from them for twenty-five dollars and he proceeded to lock himself away in his room for almost a year until he had taught himself to play. His love for music became his new passion and he finally had found a release for his inner aspirations. He started to play with little garage bands and formed his first band which he called Flame. Johnny wasn”t just good at the music, but also all the visual mystic that went along with the rock-n-roll lifestyle. He began to steal clothes from his moms closet and started to “wear her crushed velvet shirts and searsucker bellbottoms.” He as said in an interview that he wished he had platform shoes but “just couldn”t find any.” Johnny’s love for music grew as he says he would listen to anything he could get his hands on, including Peter Frampton to Brahms and Mozart. He used to listen to all the different groups coming through the walls from his brothers bedroom and would soak in anything he could mimic.
Other than music, Johnny’s school life was not going well. He was in the third year of high school but said that he “had about eight credits” and was bored out of his mind. He hated school and hung out with the “bad” crowd. He would even take his guitar to school with him but would constantly skip class and go to the music practice rooms to sit and play his instrument. Johnny admits that his teen-age years were not filled with positive actions. At twelve he was smoking and drinking and breaking into school and destroying “just about anything I could.” All Johnny’s friends were fellow musicians and he began to find his “place in life” with his dreams on rock-n-roll stardom. While he was still only thirteen, his group began to go and play at the local clubs, Johnny would carry a fake ID to try and fool the clubowners and found himself in his first “acting” gig trying to fit into an adult world. He lost his virginity to a girl who hung out with the band. She was a “little older” and according to Johnny was also a virgin. They first slept together in the back of the blue Ford van that belonged to the Flame bassiest. Johnny says that they dated a short time but lost touch afterward. Johnny continued to run wild and says by the age of fourteen he had “tried just about any kind of drug there was”. He began to see himself on a downward spiral that he knew would certainly lead to disaster and he started to see that the other kids who were on this road were heading nowhere fast. He decided that he needed to slow down and showed remarkable maturity in an ability to forsee the future that his behavior would hold for him. Just at the brink of this epifiny, his parents announced their divorce.
Although the divorce was not a total surprise to anyone, Johnny took it hard and straight to the heart. He has stated, “I could remember my parents fighting with us kids in the next room listening.” Johnny took on the responsibility of consoling his mother and making sure that she was in good spirits. He has said that his own hurt and pain were only second to his concern for her well-being. “My mother took it pretty hard and I felt it was my job to take care of her emotionally” Johnny has said.
The biography up to and including “Serious acting” is now under copywrite and trademark by Johnny-Depp.org and Laura Elizabeth Cline, (lizzy4depp). It may not be used without credit on any other work or website.
Thanks to Martina for allowing me to write and her help and support and to Beth for helping with research. Also to Just_Me for writing parts of the old biography here.
Sources for this new biography are “Johnny Depp A Modern Rebel by Brian j. Robb”,
“Johnny Depp an illustrated Biography by Nick Johnstone”, “The secret world of Johnny Depp by Nigel Goodall” and “Depp” by Christopher Heard, as well as different interviews seen and read through the years.