In middle school, I was embarrassingly easy to hack. The hint? Pirate. The password? JohnnyDepp. See, in 2003, Pirates of the Caribbean came out and everything changed for me, in that I learned who Johnny Depp was and suddenly my life had new purpose. Keira Knightley, who was a whopping 17 years old in the first film, served well enough as my avatar in the world of Pirates, and when they shared a long-hyped kiss in the second movie, my teenage heart nearly exploded for joy. Nearly two decades later, the Depp we see in the news about his ongoing legal battles with ex-wife Amber Heard is unrecognizable from the charismatic star who once described kissing the young Knightley as “awkward” due to their age difference (Depp was 43 to her 20 at the time). And, per his new $50 million defamation suit against Heard, which requires Depp to turn over all communication from actress ex-girlfriends, even his relationship with Knightley wasn’t as family-friendly as we’d once thought. Knightley is listed as one of Depp’s former romantic partners (along with other co-stars like Angelina Jolie and Marion Cotillard), and suddenly we’re seeing everything in a whole new light.
As The Hollywood Reporter points out, Depp taking further legal action against Heard at all is a dubious move, having just lost a UK defamation suit against The Sun for calling him a wife beater, which he’s also in the process of appealing. And this case is made all the more risky by the fact that it brings in these other A-list actresses as well.
“The process will likely be even more intrusive and end up sucking other high-profile figures into the vortex,” writes The Hollywood Reporter of his defamation suit. “Depp is obligated to produce ‘all responsive communications’ with former romantic partners including Angelina Jolie, Keira Knightley and Marion Cotillard.”
— Colette Fahy (@colettefahy_) December 9, 2020
Depp and Jolie starred in The Tourist in 2010; Depp and Cotillard starred in Public Enemies in 2009; and Depp and Knightley starred in the first three Pirates films together from 2003 to 2007. No further detail is given about the potential timeline for any of these relationships, and all we can rely on are Depp’s public comments from when he was working with each of these women.
For example, here’s his take on that famous kiss with Knightley in Dead Man’s Chest for The Evening Standard: “Kissing someone you are not romantically involved with is always awkward. But the fact that Keira is twenty-something years younger than me made it infinitely more awkward. Still, she was a good sport about it and we did what we had to do.”
That was a quote from after he’d finished filming the second installment in the series — and in light of the fact that they were romantically entangled at some point in the years that followed, as well as the fact that the woman he married, Amber Heard, is a year younger than Knightley, makes it tough for us to take him at his word. As further court documents per THR show us, however, there was a lot going on behind the scenes of shooting the Pirates franchise that we didn’t know about.
"Often it will be strangers who help," Angelina Jolie tells domestic violence survivors. https://t.co/Pd8oevGFxw
— SheKnows (@SheKnows) December 10, 2020
“While shooting Disney’s Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales in Australia, Depp swallowed eight ecstasy pills at once, according to testimony in the U.K. case, and embarked on a campaign of terror aimed at Heard,” THR documents. “It culminated with the tip of his finger being sliced off, which resulted in his being flown back to Los Angeles for surgery. Pirates was forced to shut down production for two weeks, costing the studio some $350,000 a day.”
After this latest legal battle, I don’t know if I’ll ever see Pirates of the Caribbean the same way again. And if Knightley, Jolie, or Cotillard want to weigh in on timeline here, I’m all ears.
Before you go, click here to see the most important celebrity lawsuits over the past 15 years.