Johnny Depp: "My Kids Made My Life"

He plays larger than life characters like Captain Jack Sparrow, but Johnny Depp is a soft-spoken guy in real life. The 47-year-old loves nothing better than coming home from work and settling down on the sofa with his kids, Lily-Rose, 11, and Jack, 8. “We sit in front of the TV and giggle and watch Family Guy,” he says.

How did you meet Angelina for the first time?
We got together at my house. Me. Vanessa [Paradis, Johnny's partner and the mother of his two children]. Angie. Brad [Pitt]. Our boys played video games. We drank wine and just talked. Angie and I started out by bonding as parents. My kids think I have a normal job, like working construction.

Are you really such a normal guy?
I go to work and then come home. We sit in front of the TV and giggle and watch Family Guy.

How has fatherhood changed your life?
It didn’t change my life. It made my life. My kids are amazing. Even when they were babies I was learning from them. Now, my daughter is 11 and Jack is 8. We get into these pretty profound conversations. My kids ask questions that leave my head spinning. They’ve absolutely added just pureness to my life. Just pure joy. I can’t say I had that prior to having children.

What do they think you and Vanessa do for a living? Do they know you’re a big star?
No, they think I go out and do a job like working construction. It’s like, “Daddy’s gone and now he’s home again.” When I’m home, we shut out the rest of the world and we’re just a regular family making dinner and watching movies. It’s just the best fun in the world.

Are you honest with your kids about your fame?
I’ve never hid anything from my kids. Vanessa and I try to keep them out of the public eye as much as possible. But the paparazzi still sneak up on us. They get us. And we deal with it. But we never lie to our kids. We never tried to make it any different than just a game. There are those funny people with the cameras again! You just deal with it.

Do your kids handle your fame well? It must be tough when everyone wants a piece of you.
They’re very good about sharing… even me with people who come up to us. My kids have good heads on their shoulders and they understand that Daddy is still doing his job. It’s just like if I was a writer and someone asked a question. I tell them that it’s nice that so many people think Daddy does a good job. It’s cool because it tells them then that it’s important to do a good job. I tell them to do what you love. But I also show that once I’m at home, it’s about the family.

How did you meet Vanessa and know she was the one you wanted to be with and have children with some day?
I was in the lobby of a restaurant and I just saw her back from across the room. Suddenly, she turned in this slow-motion way and looked at me. All I could see were these beautiful eyes. Then she walked up to me and said hello. She said, “Do you remember me?” I did because we met several years ago. In that moment, I knew I was caught.

How do you manage fatherhood and stardom?
When I’m working, she comes with me and we take the kids. When she’s working, I go with her and the kids.

How did parenthood change you as an artist?
Being a parent changed everything for me. Fatherhood has revealed me. It has given me great perspective and a true purpose in life. I’m also quite calm. As an actor, I make choices of films that I can be proud of well into the future and will make my family proud.

Do your kids watch your films?
They love Pirates and Willy Wonka. Obviously, they’re not watching The Libertine.

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