Lily-Rose Depp is the daughter of Johnny Depp and French actress Vanessa Paradis, one of two children born to them during their high-profile 1998-2012 relationship. She’s a rising star in Hollywood, and the media covers her life extensively. But what does she actually think of her very famous dad and mom? She’s discussed their parenting in interviews.
Lily-Rose has had a spotlight on her ever since her birth in 1999. That was a big year in her father’s career, as well. The Johnny Depp-starring movie Sleepy Hollow, directed by the actor’s longtime collaborator Tim Burton, came out just a few months after Lily-Rose was born. And even though her parents had only been together for a year, things looked promising for the long term.
Johnny and Vanessa gave Lily-Rose a little brother, John Christopher “Jack” Depp III, in 2002. And a few years after that in 2007 the young Lily-Rose unexpectedly made headlines when she was whisked off to hospital suffering from an undisclosed serious illness. Her worried parents were, of course, at her side.
Vanessa and Johnny didn’t state to the media what had happened to their daughter. British newspaper the Daily Mirror said that Lily-Rose had been in hospital for nine days, but wouldn’t report more “out of respect for family privacy.” The magazine In Touch claimed that Lily-Rose had contracted blood poisoning after stepping on a nail.
Lily-Rose was only eight years old at the time, and she was in Britain while her father was filming Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street there. Nine days after she first fell ill, a publicist for Johnny and Vanessa reported, “We are happy to report that their daughter is doing much better. The family greatly appreciates the continued support and respect of their privacy.”
In November that year Johnny spoke to Entertainment Weekly magazine about his relief at his daughter being okay. He said, “Now every single millisecond is a mini-celebration. Every time we get to breathe in and exhale is a huge victory. [Lily-Rose] pulled through beautifully, perfectly, with no lasting anything.” He added, “To say it was the darkest moment, that’s nothing.”
Although they had obviously been through a lot together, unfortunately the relationship between Johnny and Vanessa didn’t last. In 2012 with their kids approaching or having reached their teenage years, the two actors split up after 14 years of being a couple. However, it was by all accounts a friendly separation.
A couple of months after the split Vanessa was ready to talk about it. She told Harper’s Bazaar magazine, “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.”
It took Johnny a bit longer to publicly speak out. But in 2013 he talked to Rolling Stone magazine and 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. It wasn’t easy on her. It wasn’t easy on me. It wasn’t easy on the kids.”
The actor went on, “The trajectory of that relationship – you play it out until it goes, one thing leads to another. So for whatever reason that ceases, it doesn’t stop the fact that you care for that person, and they’re the mother of your kids, and you’ll always know each other, and you’re always gonna be in each other’s lives because of those kids. You might as well make the best of it.”
In the same interview Johnny remembered when Lily-Rose was born, saying, “It really was as if a veil was lifted, and things became clearer, and I went, ‘Oh, I f***ing get it now! That’s what it’s for! That’s what it’s for, this beautiful little creature that I took part in creating, making.’ As long as you have the opportunity to make your kid smile and laugh, and move it forward.”
And as Lily-Rose grew up, she too began talking about her parents and their relationship. She also began to get her career off the ground. In 2014 she had a cameo role in the movie Tusk, directed by Kevin Smith. She appeared alongside her famous father and also one of her best friends, the director’s daughter Harley Quinn Smith.
In 2015 Lily-Rose took part in a campaign about sexual fluidity, the Self Evident Truths Project. It featured 10,000 American people who “identify as anything other than 100 percent straight” and Lily-Rose was one of them. Johnny was asked about this in an interview with the Daily Mail newspaper in November of that year.
Talking about his teenage daughter, the A-list actor told the publication, “She’s got thousands of followers on social media, and they were all taken completely by surprise. But not me. I already knew because she tells me everything – she’s not afraid to say anything to me. We’re super-tight and I’m very proud of our relationship.”
Johnny also said, “What’s happening to Lily-Rose is something that I didn’t expect to happen this early, that’s for sure! She’s been snatched up by Karl Lagerfeld – which is a coincidence, as he spotted her mother when she was the same age, too – and when I see her with make-up and all that stuff, it’s really disturbing, because she’s a very beautiful girl, and it’s all happening so fast.”
The elder Depp seemed to be a little conflicted about his daughter finding fame for herself. He went on, “Her becoming an actress was never my dream or my desire for her, but that’s what she enjoys doing, and it’s her passion and it’s where she ended up. And she’s got the goods – she can certainly deliver.”
But, Johnny went on, “Lily’s really together – she’s a sharp kid and one of the smartest human beings I have ever met. She’s far surpassed myself there – and my friends, too!” He added, “And, whatever she is doing, if she needs any advice, I’m there for her. Kids are going to make their own decisions, but I guess that the only thing you can do as a parent is to offer support. And I do.”
Lily-Rose spoke about her sexuality to Nylon magazine the following year. In an interview she did alongside her friend Harley Quinn, she said, “That was really misconstrued, that whole thing. A lot of people took it as me coming out, but that’s not what I was trying to do. I was literally doing it just to say that you don’t have to label your sexuality; so many kids these days are not labeling their sexuality and I think that’s so cool.”
The young actress went on, “They just wanted to say that I was something. They just wanted to say that I was straight or gay. And I’m just saying… It’s not anybody’s business, because I am going to date whoever I’m going to date. I was just saying, kids don’t need to label their sexualities. It’s not that big of a deal.”
When asked what her dad “didn’t get” about her, Lily-Rose said, “My dad doesn’t really understand Instagram, but it’s not really his time. Then again, a lot of people who didn’t grow up with it are into it now, but it’s just not really in his personality. He’s not really into it. I mean, he’s supportive, but it’s something that I do that he wouldn’t be interested in doing.”
In 2017 Lily-Rose was interviewed by actress Natalie Portman, her co-star and onscreen sister in a new French-Belgian indie movie called Planetarium, for CR Fashion Book magazine. Portman had also once featured alongside Lily-Rose’s father in a 2012 Paul McCartney music video for “My Valentine”, and she had a Gallic connection in common with Lily-Rose, too: Portman is married to a Frenchman.
Portman asked Lily-Rose, “Growing up, what was it like having both the French and the American sides to your family?” The young star answered, “Weirdly enough, I feel pretty connected to both cultures. I can seem fully French when I’m in France or totally like a Valley girl when I’m in L.A.”
Elsewhere in the interview Lily-Rose mused, “A lot of people think I’m only acting because of my dad, that I have not had to work as hard to be seen or recognized in the industry, so I think because of that it makes me want to work twice as hard to prove to everyone that I’m not just doing this because it’s easy to do. I’m not just doing it because it runs in the family.”
In 2018 Lily-Rose made headlines not for her famous parents, but for her famous boyfriend: she began dating actor Timothée Chalamet, her co-star on the Netflix film The King. Like Lily-Rose herself, Chalamet has dual American and French heritage and speaks both languages. And he’s also a rising star like her.
Although Lily-Rose and her co-star were spotted getting very close on several occasions, the actress decided she would keep quiet about the relationship. She spoke about how much she admired Chalamet’s acting talent, but never actually confirmed she was involved with him. The fact she’d been seen kissing him made it rather obvious though.
What did her father make of his daughter’s first high-profile relationship? He didn’t speak to the media himself, but an anonymous source went to the website Hollywood Life in October 2018 and claimed he was delighted. They said, “Johnny gives Lily a lot of respect and freedom, he thinks she’s brilliant and totally trusts her choices.”
The anonymous insider went on, “She absolutely has his blessing when it comes to dating Timothée, especially because they both speak fluent French. Johnny is very proud that Lily’s bilingual so the fact that she’s found a boyfriend in America that she can speak French with is a big deal, that makes Johnny extra happy.”
And they concluded, “It’s still a very new relationship and Johnny isn’t one to push himself into Lily’s life, but when she’s ready to bring Timothée home, Johnny will welcome him with open arms.” It seemed that everything was good in the Depp household and Lily-Rose had very supportive parents. But what did she herself think?
Lily-Rose shed some light on her relationship with her mom and dad in a December 2019 interview with British newspaper The Sun. She first opened up about her childhood, saying, “My parents weren’t very strict. They’ve always trusted me to be independent and make my own decisions. There wasn’t really anything to rebel against.”
Talking about the career aspirations her parents might have had for her, Lily-Rose said, “They both left school when they were 15, so they can’t really say anything. I never thought of university as my goal. I’ve always just wanted to work. I didn’t have any incentive to keep doing all that work.”
Lily-Rose revealed that she grew up idolizing her mother, who had a career in singing as well as acting. She told The Sun, “When I was little, I wanted to be a singer, just because I wanted to be like mum. Every little girl wants to be like her mum. I would try on all of her dresses and shoes, even though I was in diapers at the time.”
Vanessa didn’t like her young daughter glamming herself up or wearing too much makeup, Lily-Rose revealed. But, she said, “The first time that my mum gave me makeup that I was allowed to wear, I must have been 12 or 13. I still have it. It was a little orange makeup bag with all these products in it. It was very special – my favorite birthday present. And it’s also kind of symbolic, it’s like the turning of a page, becoming a young lady.”
The subject of the Johnny-Vanessa split came up in the interview, but Lily-Rose made it clear it hadn’t negatively affected her. She said, “I just think it’s really important to have a good support system around you and be grounded by those people. And to just kind of remember that, that’s the most important thing.”
The only negative thing Lily-Rose spoke about in the interview was that she had difficulty trusting people because of her family’s fame. She said, “You’re always kind of sharpening your radars about people and who is going to be a good influence in your life and who is not, and who is really there for the right reasons.” But she did add, “I think that’s universal.”
Lily-Rose discussed the privacy issue some more in a later interview that year, this one with The Face magazine. She said, “I grew up with a notion of privacy that was very particular, just because of the situation that I grew up in. But I’ve always been taught that privacy is something you should value and keep as much for yourself as possible.”
And the young star went on, “The more you talk about it, the more you invite people in. And so that’s why I don’t talk about anything, because nothing is anybody’s business. I don’t talk about my family, I don’t talk about my friends, I don’t talk about what nail polish I have on my toes… I would rather people think I’m boring than people know too much about my life. I’ll be boring any day.”
Lily-Rose does, however, have an Instagram account, although it notably says at the top of the page, “This is my only form of social media.” She has a truly impressive 3.6 million followers on it, all of them seeking to learn more about this surprisingly private daughter of a massively famous actor, not to mention her inner circle.
The Instagram doesn’t give away too much – Timothée Chalamet doesn’t feature on it, for example. However Lily-Rose does use it to keep in touch with her family members. In April 2020 she posted, “My little baby Jackie is 18. My baby bro my heart and soul happy birthday I love you SO MUCH!”
And now Lily-Rose has company on the social media site. On April 17 her famous father joined Instagram. Though of course Lily-Rose had previously said Johnny didn’t “understand” Instagram, he seemed to get the hang of it pretty quickly, as within just 24 hours he had racked up 1.5 million followers.
Johnny Depp suddenly joining Instagram means that fans might get to see even more of his relationship with Lily-Rose in the future, even if they’re quite private about the parts of their lives they put out there. Johnny still has a couple more million followers to get before he catches up to his daughter, but it’s a good start!