Vanessa Paradis: who is Johnny Depp’s ex-partner, do they have children - what has she said about Amber Heard?

Depp’s former partner has disputed Amber Heard’s claims of domestic abuse - but who is she?

Johnny Depp’s defamation lawsuit against Amber Heard is under way in the US state of Virginia.

The actor is suing his former partner for libel over a 2018 article she wrote in The Washington Post in which she discussed her experiences of domestic abuse.

Depp’s lawyers say the article falsely implies Heard was physically and sexually abused by him when they were married.

Heard’s lawyers said Depp was an “obsessed ex-husband hell-bent on revenge” as they set out their defence; it’s a multimillion-dollar defamation lawsuit which will likely play out as a particularly uncomfortable soap opera.

In light of the case, attention has been turned towards Vanessa Paradis, one of Depp’s former partners.

But who is she, what has she said about Depp in the past, and how might she be involved in the lawsuit?

Here is everything you need to know about her.

Who is Vanessa Paradis?

Vanessa Paradis is a French singer, model, and actress, who first found fame at the age of 14 with the international success of her 1987 single, ’Joe le taxi’’.

Born in 1972 in Saint-Maur-des-Fossés near Paris, Paradis’ singing career began at the age of eight when her uncle, record producer Didier Pain, helped her appear on the local television program L'École des fans, a talent show for child singers

As an actress, her most notable films include 1995’s Élisa in which she starred alongside Gérard Depardieu, and 2010 rom-com Heartbreaker.

She has also been the muse to numerous musicians and lyricists - including Serge Gainsbourg and Lenny Kravitz - and as a model, has appeared on more than 300 magazine covers including Vogue, Elle, Harper's Bazaar, Vanity Fair, Glamour, and Marie Claire.

Depp and Paradis at the  premiere of the movie Sleepy Hollow in 1999 (Photo: Brenda Chase/Online USA/Newsmakers)Depp and Paradis at the  premiere of the movie Sleepy Hollow in 1999 (Photo: Brenda Chase/Online USA/Newsmakers)
Depp and Paradis at the premiere of the movie Sleepy Hollow in 1999 (Photo: Brenda Chase/Online USA/Newsmakers)

When were Paradis and Depp together?

Paradis was in a relationship with Depp for around 14 years between 1998 and 2021. They met in France while filming The Ninth Gate, Roman Polanski’s neo-noir horror thriller.

The couple have two children together, one of which is actress and model, Lily-Rose Depp.

How has she been involved with Depp’s previous trial?

In May 2020, the court gave permission for Depp’s former partners Paradis and Winona Ryder to give evidence as part of the actor’s High Court libel claim against the publisher of The Sun.

While neither were eventually called to give evidence in the trial, both described the “horrific” and “outrageous” allegations of domestic violence made against the actor by his ex-wife Amber Heard as “impossible to believe”.

Paradis said she had known Depp for more than 25 years, and described him as “a kind, attentive, generous, and non-violent person and father” in a witness statement released to the media at the time.

She said: “On movie sets the actors, directors and entire crews adore him because he is humble and respectful to everyone, as well as being one of the best actors we’ve seen.”

Referring to the allegations made by Heard, Paradis said: “This is nothing like the true Johnny I have known and, from my personal experience of many years, I can say he was never violent or abusive to me.

“I have seen that these outrageous statements have been really distressing, and also caused damage to his career because unfortunately people have gone on believing these false facts.

“This is so upsetting as he has helped so many persons in his personal and professional life, with kindness and generosity.”

How might she be involved with this trial?

Details of how Paradis may be involved in Depp’s latest court case have not been made public, and it is uncertain as to whether she will be called to give evidence.

As part of the actor’s libel case against the publisher of The Sun, Paradis was set to appear via video link from her home in France, but Depp’s legal team decided not to call her to give live evidence in the end.

Other high-profile celebrities are listed as witnesses in the trial, including actors James Franco and Paul Bettany, and Tesla founder Elon Musk.

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