Foreign Affairs

Divorce documents shows Johnny Depp was ‘abandoned’ by ‘mean’ mom when he was a teenager

Court documents have revealed that Hollywood actor, Johnny Depp was reportedly abandoned by his “mean” mom as a teen.

In the 1981 court papers which before now was buried in archives, it was revealed that 15-year-old Johnny Depp was “emancipated and self-supporting” after her mother, Betty Sue Depp and his father John Depp divorced in 1978. 

In interviews granted before now, the actor claimed that he began using drugs at 11, dropped out of high school aged 16 to become a musician and in 1980 began playing guitar in a band called The Kids, moving to Los Angeles and spending months living in a car.

His first acting role came in 1984’s “A Nightmare on Elm Street” after meeting Nicolas Cage. The divorce document signed in 1981 states “The wife hereby acknowledges that the parties’ minor child … John C. Depp II is fully emancipated and self-supporting.”

Hollywood fixer, Paul Barresi uncovered the court papers in his research for the new Discovery+ series “Johnny Depp v Amber Heard.”

 Barresi said;

“He said since age 11, he’s taken all manner of substances, including marijuana, cocaine, ecstasy, LSD, prescription painkillers, opiates and magic mushrooms. His drug use, he said, was a way to escape family problems.

“He struggled to find gigs in a garage band and peddled ink pens working part-time as a telemarketer.

“Needless to say, at age 17, Johnny was hardly financially self-sufficient, and far from being emancipated. As far as I am concerned, his mother disowned him at a time when he unquestionably needed her most.

“There is no court record of him ever having been legally emancipated.”

Talking about his mother who died in 2016 in an interview with Rolling Stone in 2018, Depp said his father who was a civil engineer, was largely absent and his mother raised him and his three siblings. But his childhood was unhappy.

He said;

“My mom was born in a f—ing holler in eastern Kentucky … Her poor f—ing ass was on phenobarbital at 12.

“Yeah, there were irrational beatings,” Depp said, “Maybe it’s an ashtray coming your way. Maybe you’re gonna get clunked with the phone.

“It was a ghost house — no one talked. I don’t think there ever was a way I thought about people, especially women, other than ‘I can fix them.’”

The actor recalled rubbing his mother’s feet after she came home from double shifts at her waitressing job. And he bought her a small horse farm in Kentucky with one of his first big payouts from his acting work.

Johnny Depp who is now 58-year-old said; 

“Betty Sue, I worshipped her, but she could be a real bitch on wheels.

At her 2016 funeral, he said; 


“My mom was maybe the meanest human being I have ever met in my life.”

Johnny Depp who recently raised an alarm of being Hollywood “boycotting him” over his ongoing legal battle with ex-wife Amber Heard, was granted the green light to press libel charges against Heard in the US in August, despite a UK court ruling that he was a “wife-beater.”

The libel case was brought by Depp over a 2018 Washington Post op-ed in which she described being the victim of domestic violence, without naming him. The case is expected to be heard in court next year.

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