The Truth About Johnny Depp's Ex, Vanessa Paradis

Vanessa Paradis' name has been repeatedly dragged back into the limelight since ex-husband Johnny Depp's turbulent split from Amber Heard in 2016. After Heard presented allegations of Depp committing domestic violence against her during the marriage, Paradis came to her ex's defense, calling Heard's claims "outrageous" in a handwritten letter obtained by TMZ. "In all the years I have known Johnny, he has never been physically abusive with me and this looks nothing like the man I lived with for 14 wonderful years," Paradis insisted at the time.

The exes have indeed remained close, even spending the 2019 holiday season together in Paris, per the Daily Mail. Depp reportedly gave Paradis a heads-up when he proposed to Heard after meeting her on the set of "The Rum Diary" in 2011, per Us Weekly (via Hello!), one year before they officially separated in 2012. "There's no drama," a source told Us Weekly at the time. "Vanessa wished him happiness. She's not bitter." The lack of jealousy didn't seem to apply to Heard, as an insider claimed to Us Weekly in 2015 that she left Depp no choice but to sell his luxury yacht named "Vajoliroja" after Paradis (for whom he purchased it) and refused to board it. "Johnny loved that yacht. But he bought it for Vanessa, and Amber is still jealous of her," the insider shared.

Who is the woman with whom Depp shares daughter Lily-Rose Depp? Here's a closer look at the French beauty.

Vanessa Paradis started singing and modeling at a young age

When Vanessa Paradis was only 8-years-old, the French public was delighted by her sweet performance of Philippe Chatel's "Emilie Jolie" on the show "L'École des Fans," according to Vogue France. The little blonde stood on stage with a red bandana around her neck and timidly answered the host's questions before singing the smooth melody. By the time Paradis was 14, her star officially landed on the charts with her single "Joe le Taxi" in 1988. 

The simple music video focused on the teen singer's vocals as shots of her casually dancing in place were intercut with a taxi driver's night ride and shadowed silhouettes of saxophone players. Of her young success in music, Paradis shared with Interview magazine, "It was never like somebody pushed me to sing, because I wanted to do it. But I wanted to do it more like how you'd be at home with your friends and put on a show together." 

Topping the charts in France, opportunities opened up for Paradis. Up next was her rise as a true French icon by becoming the face of Chanel. Paradis landed the role of spokesmodel for the brand's Coco perfume in 1991. She transitioned seamlessly from music into Chanel fashion, modeling everything from iconic handbags to lipsticks, per Vogue France. It comes as no surprise that her daughter Lily-Rose Depp — with a striking resemblance to Paradis — has also become a Chanel muse. Clearly, it's in the (cool-girl) genes!

Vanessa Paradis got started acting early too

Vanessa Paradis wasn't just a teen singing sensation, but an acting one as well. Her feature film debut came in 1989's "Noce Blanche" ("White Wedding") — a role that earned the star a César, France's equivalent of an Oscar, at age 16. According to Vogue France, Paradis said, "'White Wedding' was without question the film that changed everything: the public's perception of me, winning a César and gaining the respect of my peers ... I even got great reviews."

An early interest in singing and acting stemmed from Paradis' love of American musicals. She spoke in particular about MGM musicals and Hollywood legends like Gene Kelly and Fred Astaire to Interview magazine, saying, "It was the colors and the music and the big orchestra arrangements and the dance numbers and all that." After her own critically-acclaimed film success, Paradis experienced a decade-long streak of steady work alongside French cinema icons like Gérard Depardieu and Jeanne Moreau, per Vogue France. She even went on to hold a prestigious seat on the 2016 Cannes Film Festival Jury.

In 2010, promoting her romantic comedy "Heartbreakers," opposite another acting heavyweight, Romain Duris, Paradis divulged her outlook on how she juggles the multifaceted dimensions of her career. "I don't think in terms of a career, I just like to do what I do," Paradis said, per Reuters. "The work I get to do fulfills me so much that I'm really, really happy."

Vanessa Paradis and Lenny Kravitz ... the relationship history forgot

Yes, Johnny Depp's ex dated Lenny Kravitz. Vanessa Paradis' skyrocketing music career in the 1990s took her stateside, where she would meet, work with, and begin dating Kravitz in 1992, per W Magazine. Paradis had two successful French albums under her belt by the age of 20, and the songbird desired an English-language record as well. Kravitz wrote and produced her third album, simply titled "Vanessa Paradis," which was a hit on the French charts and peaked in the U.K. at No. 45. The duo especially made magic with the album's single "Be My Baby," giving Paradis a Top 10 hit in the U.K., with 15 weeks on the charts.

As for the romantic aspect of their relationship, Kravitz and Paradis kept fairly quiet despite being at the center of paparazzi frenzy. "I was madly in love with her ... Vanessa was the perfect woman," Kravitz said to Paris Match in 2009 (via Elle France), "but she arrived at the wrong time. I regret it." Other than this small insight, not much has been said since their split in 1997. A source for The Mirror claimed in 2012 that, "Although their romance didn't last long, they remained close friends over the years."

Kravitz took to Instagram in 2020 to wish his former flame a happy birthday, sharing an oh-so 90s snapshot from their time together. That said, the relationship provided plenty of glorious photoshoots, such as this Kimye-evoking motorcycle-centric one via Très chic.

Why did Vanessa Paradis and Johnny Depp break up?

When it comes to the end of Johnny Depp and Vanessa Paradis' relationship, the two have offered small bits of insight. When the pair made the announcement of their separation in 2012 to Entertainment Weekly (via People), it was clearly stated the decision was amicable. Depp and Paradis had a remarkably private relationship in their 14 years together despite the magnitude of their fame, but both have maintained respectful discourse following the breakup.

In a 2013 interview with Rolling Stone, Depp touched on his split from Paradis, admitting that it was "unpleasant" at times. He said, "Relationships are very difficult. Especially in the racket that I'm in because you're con­stantly away or they're away and so it's hard." This seems to point at busy lifestyles and distance as the root of calling it quits. He left the topic on a positive note, however, saying, "It doesn't stop the fact that you care for that person, and they're the mother of your kids ... and you're always gonna be in each other's lives because of those kids. You might as well make the best of it."

Paradis spoke with similar sentiments to Harper's Bazaar in 2012, fresh off the split. The model explained, "Sometimes you could be in an unhappy relationship; you are very much in love with someone, but it's making you unhappy and you think things can change and you can work it out."

Vanessa Paradis wed for the first time in 2018

Vanessa Paradis may have been in a 14-year relationship with Johnny Depp (that produced daughter Lily-Rose and son Jack) but it was director Samuel Benchetrit whom she married. After meeting and hitting it off on the set of 2016's "Chien," Paradis walked down the aisle for the first time in 2018, the Daily Mail reported. Previously in 2011, the outlet noted that Paradis had expressed some practical skepticism about the institution of marriage. "It's romantic and the party part is fun," she said. "But it's a bit like the idea of a soulmate: I can't picture it for me. I know so many married people who tear each other apart. Ceremonies don't matter to me, love is all I need." 

Depp also explained why he and Paradis never made their union official on "Extra" in 2010 (via Hello!). "I never found myself needing that piece of paper," the actor said. "Marriage is really from soul to soul, heart to heart. You don't need somebody to say, okay you're married." Depp also voiced that it would have been up to Paradis. "If Vanessa wanted to get hitched, why not," he said, adding amusingly, "But the thing is, I'd be so scared of ruining her last name! She's got such a good last name."

Well, with his subsequent marriage to Amber Heard and hers to Benchetrit, we guess it truly is "never say never," huh?

What is Vanessa Paradis up to today?

Vanessa Paradis has always kept quiet about her personal life and continues to stay out of the spotlight, especially with the intense focus surrounding her ex Johnny Depp's defamation suit against Amber Heard. Her creative pursuits have continued, however, and fans will be relieved to hear that music is still very much a part of her life.

In 2018, Paradis released the album "Les Sources." She shared with Rolling Stone France that the cover image was taken by her husband, Samuel Benchetrit, and that it very much related to the overall sound. "The blowing wind, the water, the river, the clouds, the sky ... That's what counts for me, which I am constantly nostalgic for French landscapes. This record had to be like me," she explained. The singer also released a "Best Of & Variations" album in 2019, which is a collection of career standout singles like "Joe Le Taxi" and "Divine Idylle" along with new singles.

Even though her daughter, Lily-Rose Depp, is an ambassador for the next generation of Chanel, Paradis is a staple to the brand. In 2022, she attended Chanel's annual cruise show at Monte Carlo in Monaco sporting a signature tweed jacket, per Vogue UK. She also still models, gracing magazine covers and spreads for publications like Marie Claire, Harper's Bazaar Taiwan, and Elle France. Paradis has clearly maintained her image and influence as a fashion icon.