Newly unearthed court documents show Johnny Depp was abandoned by his “mean” mother as a teenager.
In 1981, court papers, which until now had been buried in court records, between Betty Sue Depp and actor John Depp’s father – who divorced in 1978 at the age of 15 – he is claimed that his son was “emancipated and self-sufficient”.
But in the interviews, the actor painted a different picture. He started using drugs at 11, dropped out of high school at 16 to become a musician, and in 1980 he started playing guitar in a band called The Kids, moved to Los Angeles, and moved on to spent months in a car. His first acting role came in 1984’s “A Nightmare on Elm Street” after meeting Nicolas Cage.
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The Divorce Act, signed in 1981, states: “The wife hereby acknowledges that the minor child of the parties… John C. Depp II is fully emancipated and self-sufficient.
The documents were discovered by Hollywood fixer Paul Barresi in his research for the new Discovery + series “Johnny Depp v Amber Heard”. Barresi said: “He said since he was 11 he has taken all kinds of substances including marijuana, cocaine, ecstasy, LSD, prescription pain relievers, opiates. and magic mushrooms. His drug use, he said, was a way of escaping family problems.
“He struggled to find gigs in a garage band and peddled ink pens while working part-time as a telemarketer.
Needless to say, at 17, Johnny was barely financially independent, and far from emancipated. As far as I’m concerned, his mother disowned him at a time when he undoubtedly needed her the most.
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“There is no court record indicating that he was ever legally emancipated.”
Depp told Rolling Stone in 2018 of his mother, who died in 2016, “My mother was born in af — ing holler in eastern Kentucky… Her poor ass was on phenobarbital at age 12.”
He said his father, a civil engineer, was largely absent and his mother raised him and his three siblings. But his childhood was unhappy.
“Yeah, there were some irrational hits,” Depp said, “Maybe it’s an ashtray coming towards you. Maybe you’ll get hit with the phone.
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“It was a ghost house – no one was speaking. I don’t think there was ever any other way of thinking about people, especially women, other than ‘I can fix them’.”
He remembers rubbing his mother’s feet after she came home from her job as a waitress after a double shift. And he bought her a small horse farm in Kentucky with one of his first big earnings from acting.
“Betty Sue, I loved her,” concluded Depp, now 58, but “she could be a real bitch on wheels.”
He added that he said at his funeral in 2016: “My mother was possibly the meanest human being I have ever met in my life.”
Depp – who recently said Hollywood was “boycotting” him over his ongoing legal battle with ex-wife Amber Heard – was given the green light in August to bring defamation charges against Heard in the United States despite a British court ruling that he was a “battering wife.”
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The defamation case was brought by Depp in a 2018 Washington Post op-ed in which she described being a victim of domestic violence, without naming him. The case is expected to be heard in court next year.
A representative for Depp did not comment.