Will Depp’s wife now take him for £35m?

Drink. Fu­ri­ous rows. And why Am­ber Heard is di­vorc­ing the trou­bled star three days af­ter his beloved mother died

Daily Mail - - Front Page - by Alison Boshoff

MUCH has been made of Johnny Depp’s re­cent phys­i­cal dis­in­te­gra­tion — the puffy cheeks, re­ced­ing hair, ex­pand­ing waist and yel­lowed teeth. And in re­cent pub­lic ap­pear­ances he has been sham­bling and ap­par­ently con­fused, too.

Yet his phys­i­cal state may soon be the least of his wor­ries as his lawyers gear up for a di­vorce bat­tle with his wife of 15 months, Am­ber Heard.

In­deed, those ac­quainted with the in­side of this frac­tious mar­riage say the Amer­i­can ac­tress has such a wealth of dam­ag­ing in­for­ma­tion about Depp that his only pos­si­ble course now is to open his wal­let — and fast.

‘This is po­ten­tially go­ing to be an aw­ful split,’ says one Hol­ly­wood in­sider. ‘Am­ber is al­ready play­ing this shrewdly, and she has a lot that she can say.’

Among the rea­sons she might cite for launch­ing di­vorce pro­ceed­ings — just three days af­ter his mother died — might be Depp’s ap­par­ently heavy fall off the wagon in re­cent years, and a num­ber of what ap­peared to be drunken pub­lic ap­pear­ances.

Al­ready there is ev­i­dence of Heard be­gin­ning a PR cam­paign with a story planted in the celebrity magazine People, which as­serted yes­ter­day that she had ‘cold feet’ even dur­ing their en­gage­ment party.

It seems her people are try­ing to paint the brief and stormy mar­riage, which be­gan in Fe­bru­ary last year, as a mis­take on her part. The cou­ple are re­ported not to have signed a pre- nup­tial agree­ment. And Heard has al­ready asked for ‘spousal sup­port’ in her di­vorce pa­pers — in other words, enough money to al­low her to main­tain the life­style she has en­joyed mar­ried to one of the big­gest stars in the world.

Just to rub it in, she has also asked that he pay her le­gal bills. Depp’s lawyer is fight­ing all this tooth and nail. And given that his lawyer is the in­domitable Laura Wasser — who has acted in di­vorces for An­gelina Jolie, Brit­ney Spears and Kim Kar­dashian — Miss Heard has quite a fight on her hands.

The ac­tor will surely not for­give the fact that his wife has launched these pro­ceed­ings so soon af­ter the death of his mother, Betty Sue Palmer, at the age of 81. He was so close to her that he had her name tat­toed in­side a heart on his left arm.

It has been claimed that his re­la­tion­ship with Heard fur­ther de­te­ri­o­rated af­ter he moved his ail­ing mother into their Los An­ge­les com­pound.

It is thought that his wife, a for­mer model whose jour­ney out of the small time was ac­cel­er­ated by her af­fair with the A-list ac­tor, will end up with be­tween £10 mil­lion and £35 mil­lion — a size­able dent in Depp’s £270 mil­lion for­tune.

So what went wrong — and how has Depp, 52, man­aged to wreck his re­la­tion­ship with the woman for whom he left his long-time love, French ac­tress Vanessa Par­adis?

The an­swer, it seems, is that the union with Heard, 30, was never happy — or at least not for any length of time. There were re­ports of ‘scream­ing’ rows while they were in Aus­tralia ear­lier this year. And they split up at least once be­tween start­ing to date sev­eral years ago and get­ting mar­ried last year.

There was also a pe­riod last spring when they were said to be barely speak­ing — be­cause of his habit of go­ing out par­ty­ing. ‘He’ll go days with­out call­ing or tex­ting her . . . he par­ties and it’s caused huge fights,’ said In Touch magazine.

Depp and Heard met in 2009 when she was cast as his love in­ter­est in a movie called The Rum Diary. They were first ro­man­ti­cally linked in June 2012, just as Depp was split­ting from Par­adis, his part­ner of 14 years, although ru­mours of a ro­mance be­tween him and Heard had been cir­cu­lat­ing, but had been de­nied, for some time.

By Septem­ber 2012, Heard had dumped him — ap­par­ently find­ing him too pos­ses­sive. But he was said to have wooed her back with a poem and a bou­quet of roses sent ev­ery day. She then went with him on a break to his pri­vate is­land, Lit­tle Hall’s Pond Cay in the Ba­hamas.

It was clear he was smit­ten, even ‘ob­sessed’ by Am­ber, 22 years his ju­nior, who has been de­scribed by one friend as be­ing ‘ a strong, out bi­sex­ual woman’. Be­fore she be­gan dat­ing Depp, she had a long ro­mance with a fe­male pho­tog­ra­pher named Tasya van Ree, and was also seen kiss­ing Ringo Starr’s les­bian step­daugh­ter Francesca Gre­gorini.

In May 2013, Depp bought a ranch in Nashville, Ten­nessee, for them to live on to­gether, and by Jan­uary 2014 they were en­gaged. He told an in­ter­viewer: ‘She’s a won­der­ful girl. She’s sharp as a tack. A south­ern belle and sweet as can be, and very good for me.’

He even said he hoped they could have chil­dren to­gether. ‘I love kids. I have two [with Par­adis], and they’re per­fect. Man, I’d make 100. But I’ve got the easy gig, right?’ he said.

The cou­ple mar­ried in front of 24 guests on the beach on his is­land. It is surely sig­nif­i­cant that nei­ther of Depp’s chil­dren were there.

A source told the Amer­i­can magazine TMZ that the cou­ple ended up hav­ing an ‘ex­tremely bit­ter’ re­la­tion­ship be­cause, it is claimed, his chil­dren, his two sis­ters and his mother ‘hated’ Heard.

It seems not to have taken long for the mar­riage to start to un­ravel.

It is no se­cret that Depp greatly ro­man­ti­cises the life­style of his hard-drink­ing he­roes such as Rolling Stone Keith Richards and the louche writer Hunter S. Thomp­son. And it ap­pears that af­ter an ini­tial pe­riod of mu­tual so­bri­ety, Am­ber sim­ply wasn’t able to rein him in in the way that Par­adis did.

(His hell-rais­ing ten­den­cies were formed dur­ing his vodka and co­caine years when he was dat­ing Kate Moss in the Nineties.)

He was al­ways a self-pro­claimed ‘heroic’ drinker. In­ter­view­ers would find him sit­ting in front of a £350 bot­tle of red wine, and keen to talk about how much he loved to booze.

Five years ago, though, just af­ter mak­ing The Rum Diary, he started to talk for the first time about quit­ting drink­ing. He said that he and di­rec­tor Bruce Robin­son had de­cided to go on the wagon to avoid any dis­trac­tions. It didn’t last.

In the sum­mer of 2013 — a year into his ro­mance with Am­ber — he told Rolling Stone magazine that he had been sober for 18 months.

He said: ‘I just de­cided that I’d pretty much got every­thing I could out of it. I in­ves­ti­gated wine and spir­its thor­oughly, and they cer­tainly in­ves­ti­gated me as well, and we found out that we got along beau­ti­fully, but maybe too well.’

He added that he be­lieved he was

Things got worse when he moved his mother in

not an al­co­holic, but that he was some­one who func­tioned bet­ter with a drink in­side them.

He ex­plained: ‘I don’t have the phys­i­cal need for al­co­hol. No, it’s more my med­i­ca­tion, my self-med­i­ca­tion over the years to calm the cir­cus. Once the cir­cus kicks in, the fes­tiv­i­ties in the brain, it can be ruth­less.’

He didn’t stay sober for long. By Novem­ber 2014, he ap­peared on stage at the Hol­ly­wood Film Awards clearly in­tox­i­cated — swear­ing pro­fusely and slur­ring his words.

He came on stage and de­clared: ‘That’s the weird­est mi­cro­phone I’ve seen in my life,’ and then stum­bled through a trib­ute to a vet­eran tal­ent agent. One scribe present said that it wasn’t so much hell-rais­ing, more just pure em­bar­rass­ment.

Par­adis was ap­par­ently fu­ri­ous at him mak­ing such a pub­lic fool of him­self, and blamed his new fi­ancee for this state of af­fairs. ‘She blames Am­ber for his mid-life cri­sis,’ sources told a magazine.

His ca­reer had by now reached a tick­lish point. Os­carnom­i­nated three times, more re­cently he has starred in a pos­i­tive flock of tur­keys, in­clud­ing The Lone Ranger — a big­bud­get flop retelling of the TV se­ries — gang­land thriller Black Mass, and the pe­cu­liar com­edy drama Mort­de­cai.

At the be­gin­ning of 2015, he flew to Aus­tralia to start work on Pi­rates Of The Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales. Depp is of course Cap­tain Jack Spar­row, played as a per­ma­nently be­fud­dled drunk.

The per­for­mance is none-too- sub­tly mod­elled on the per­sona of Depp’s pal Keith Richards. The film­ing did not go smoothly.

In March last year, around 200 work­ers were stood down from the set for a month while he un­der­went emer­gency treat­ment. The rea­son given was that he needed surgery on his right hand af­ter in­jur­ing him­self dur­ing a ‘wild week­end ben­der’.

Some said that he had lost his tem­per when on the phone to Heard. They were ar­gu­ing and he lashed out and hit a glass door, re­sult­ing in cuts to sev­eral fin­gers.

Others sug­gested he had snapped his wrist dur­ing a gokart­ing ses­sion on a pri­vate track at Mo­toGP world cham­pion Mick Doohan’s home. How­ever, sources claimed in the lo­cal Press that the movie stu­dio Dis­ney had asked him to seek help for his drink­ing.

Martin Singer, Depp’s at­tor­ney, de­nied the star had left the movie set for an al­co­hol-re­lated is­sue, and de­manded re­trac­tions all round. ‘The only re­hab he went to was for his hand,’ said Singer.

It was around this time, in May last year, that the cou­ple were caught try­ing to smug­gle their dogs Pis­tol and Boo il­le­gally into Aus­tralia on a pri­vate jet.

It caused a furore, with Aus­tralian agri­cul­ture min­is­ter Barn­aby Joyce threat­en­ing to have the teacup York­shire ter­ri­ers put down if they didn’t ‘ bug­ger off’ back to Amer­ica. In re­sponse, Depp later ap­peared to re­fer to Joyce as be­ing ‘in­bred with a to­mato’.

Talk­ing about the episode in an in­ter­view, Depp made what some took to be a ref­er­ence to drugs when he said with a smirk: ‘ There might have been other things smug­gled, but they seemed to miss that bit. There could have been.’

(The up­shot of the case was that last month Depp and Heard posted an ex­cru­ci­at­ing video apol­o­gis­ing for break­ing Aus­tralia’s quar­an­tine laws, and ad­vis­ing trav­ellers to re­spect them. Seem­ingly as a quid pro quo, the charges of il­le­gally im­port­ing an­i­mals were dropped.)

Come July last year, with Depp back on the Pi­rates set, there were re­ports that his booz­ing and fight­ing with Am­ber was slow­ing down pro­duc­tion hor­ri­bly.

One web­site re­ported: ‘ The pro­duc­tion team in Aus­tralia is at their wits’ end — mil­lions of dol­lars over bud­get and months be­hind sched­ule, they blame it all on Depp and his wife. Since Johnny ar­rived in Aus­tralia to be­gin film­ing, Am­ber and his drama have been caus­ing is­sues on set. At one point, Am­ber was re­port­edly even banned from vis­it­ing her hus­band at work.

‘Johnny has been on set as lit­tle as pos­si­ble, only ful­fill­ing his con­tract at the min­i­mum level — and his mood has been com­pletely af­fect­ing the whole oper­a­tion of the pro­duc­tion.

‘ Pro­duc­ers are worried that morale will be af­fected.’

To­wards the end of last year, he skipped the pre­miere of the film Into The Woods, with re­ports that pro­duc­ers al­lowed him to forego all pub­lic­ity be­cause of ‘con­cern over his pri­vacy’.

In Jan­uary this year, when he at­tended the Palm Springs Film Fes­ti­val, there was yet more ad­verse pub­lic­ity. One on­looker told the celebrity web­site Radar On­line: ‘He was very friendly but al­most un­recog­nis­able!

‘His hair was a greasy mess, and his teeth were yel­lowed, too. It was pretty shock­ing. He looked more like Mar­lon Brando [who bal­looned to more than 20st be­fore his death] than Johnny Depp!’

He was seen go­ing from ta­ble to ta­ble chat­ting to other guests, but when called to the stage to ac­cept an award, he mum­bled: ‘ How was the beef?’ and ap­peared con­fused.

And in Lon­don this month, pro­mot­ing Alice Through The Look­ing Glass, there was more of the same. Sources said that he was ‘hard to con­trol’ at a pho­to­call — he cer­tainly nei­ther looked nor acted like his old self.

His last pub­lic ap­pear­ance with Heard was last month in that nowno­to­ri­ous apol­ogy video. Af­ter that, it’s said they spoke only through lawyers.

The ques­tion now is how on earth he is go­ing to cope with what is shap­ing up to be a vit­ri­olic — and ex­pen­sive — di­vorce.

Sadly for this of­ten bril­liant and once-beau­ti­ful ac­tor, his midlife cri­sis ap­pears to have been lit­tle short of ru­inous.

‘Johnny’s hair was greasy and his face puffy’

Bit­ter split: A sham­bling Johnny Depp this week

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