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Vanessa Paradis - Biography

All you need to know about the ex-partner of Johnny Depp

Vanessa Paradis in floral shirt and leather skirt
Matthew Moore
Matthew MooreOnline News Writer & Diversity and Inclusion Lead
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Early career

Born on December 22, 1972, Vanessa found international success early with her coquettish 1986 debut single, her Lolita-esque image only aiding her rise to fame. Within a few years she parlayed her skyrocketing profile into an acclaimed acting career. In 1989, she won the best newcomer Cesar France's version of the Oscars and shortly after was named France's top female pop singer. But for the teenage Vanessa, who had grown up in the suburbs of Paris with her interior designer parents and a sister 12 years her senior, her very grown-up career was taking its toll.

"Things were running too fast for me," she admitted a few years later. "It was a shock to realise that people around me never, but never, disagreed with me. I was really mean, really capricieuse to them sometimes, just to see how they would react. I'd go to a TV studio and pretend to be really angry, demand some food like caviar, whatever. I would think: 'Okay, this time they will get pissed off.' But they didn't. You kind of forget who you really are, the real sensations, the real emotions and relationships with people." As she left her teen years behind, the green-eyed beauty's transition into modelling was almost inevitable, and she became no less than the face of Chanel, swinging from a trapeze in a gilded cage in 1992 adverts for Coco fragrance.

Continued career

Vanessa Paradis in purple dress with three men© picture alliance

Around the same time, she set her sights on the US charts, releasing an English language pop record produced by Lenny Kravitz, who also became her high-profile beau. It was one of about half a dozen albums she's made, including 2001's Bliss, which she released after an eight-year break from music. She's similarly selective with her film choices, appearing in fewer than ten movies since 1989, including 2000's Girl On The Bridge. "She's more than an actress," says director Patrice Leconte, who hand-picked her for the role for which she won rave reviews. "She's got this kind of infinite grace and she seems very fragile but she is the opposite of fragility." Box office success isn't exactly a priority for Vanessa. "Movies are more like relaxation for me," she admits. "I'm not in love with my work and I'm not in love with my music. But I'm sincere with it." The fame which accompanied her early career wasn't easy for Vanessa, who found herself coping with the wrath of throngs of anti-fans.

"It happens all the time," she said in 1992, after describing how young women spat on her and pulled her hair in the street. Years later, in 2000, she reasoned: "Women hated me. People had this image of me as someone completely cretinous. It was a shock. I never understood why... I guess people will always be jealous and envious of people whose lives are lucky. And you know, my life is very lucky."

Personal life

Johnny Depp standing with Vanessa Paradis© Brenda Chase

Love came early for Vanessa who in 1998 started dating Hollywood star Johnny Depp. The pair had a strong bond during their time together, with Vanessa musing in a 2004 interview: "What is it about him I love? Everything. It would be silly to tell you how smart and funny and brilliant and special and beautiful he is."

The couple had only been together a few months when the pop star learned she was pregnant. Lily-Rose Melody Depp was born on May 27, 1999. A son, Jack John Christopher Depp, came along on April 9, 2002. However, sadly it was not to be, and the pair parted ways in 2012.

Opening up about their split, Johnny explained: "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. So, yeah. 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 2014, she bengan dating fellow French singer Benjamin Biolay before splitting the following year. However, in 2016, she finally found love with director Samuel Benchetrit, who directed her in Dog. The pair tied the knot in 2018 in the romantic town of Saint-Simeon.

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