The Truth About Johnny Depp’s Relationship With His Children


Johnny Depp’s childhood appeared to be anything but idyllic when he opened up about his abusive rearing during court proceedings in the 2022 defamation case against Amber Heard. Depp testified that his mother, Betty Sue Palmer, was allegedly both physically and emotionally abusive toward Depp and his siblings when they were kids.

“She could become quite violent, and … she was quite cruel,” Depp said during the trial, claiming that she threw ashtrays at them and hit them with a “high heeled shoe or a telephone or whatever was handy.” The rage was often unprompted, Depp said, admitting that he’d flinch instinctively when she’d walk by. Depp also told the court about Palmer’s suicide attempt when he was young. “Instantly, I knew that something was dreadfully wrong,” Depp recalled, revealing that his uncle was able to contact paramedics and so Palmer recovered. However, the experience clearly left a deep impression on Depp, enough so that it came up as significant detail in the trial decades later.

Depp’s tragic childhood informed the way that he was a father, meaning he chose to give his children the opposite experience from the one he had. “I didn’t have a real handle on what life was supposed to mean or be or anything like that,” he told Rolling Stone in 2013. “But as long as you have the opportunity to breathe, breathe. As long as you have the opportunity to make your kid smile and laugh, and move it forward.”

If you or someone you know may be the victim of child abuse, please contact the Childhelp National Child Abuse Hotline at 1-800-4-A-Child (1-800-422-4453) or contact their live chat services.

If you or anyone you know is having suicidal thoughts, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline​ at​ 1-800-273-TALK (8255)​.

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