Vanessa Chantal Paradis, the internationally acclaimed French singer, model and actress, was born on December 22, 1972. Her childhood home was in the suburbs of Paris where she lived with her parents and a younger sister.
With the help of her uncle, actor Didier Pain, Vanessa made her television debut on L'Ecole des Fans when she was eight years old. The program featured children performing the songs of famous French singers and musicians, the featured singer or musician making a guest appearance. Vanessa sang "Emilie Jolie and the Big Bird".
Vanessa's first single "La Magie des surprise-parties" was recorded in 1983, but it was "Joe le taxi" that made her internationally famous four years later. "Joe le taxi", from her first album entitled M&J, was a number one hit in France for eleven weeks and reached the number three position on the UK charts. In addition to "Joe le taxi", the album features "Marilyn & John", a song about the rumored romance between John F. Kennedy and Marilyn Monroe. Vanessa credits Miss Monroe for inspiring her interest in cinema.
Vanessa's second album was Variations sur le meme t'aime. Serge Gainsbourg, legendary French singer, song-writer, actor and director, described by Vanessa as her mentor, wrote and co-produced the album. It was the one of the last times Gainsbourg worked with an artist before his death in 1991.
In 1992, Vanessa moved to the United States to work on the self-named album Vanessa Paradis. The following year, at age twenty, she kicked off her first international tour performing concerts in France, England and Canada. Vanessa Paradis (1992), Bliss (2000) and Divinidylle (2007) all topped the French album charts. Her latest work, The Best of Vanessa Paradis was released in October of 2009. In addition to her previously released work, the album contains two new songs.
Vanessa's acting career was launched in 1989 with Noce Blanche, a film about the relationship between seventeen-year old Mathilde (Paradis) and her philosophy teacher, Francois (Bruno Cremer). Vanessa's critically acclaimed performance won her the Cesar Award for Most Promising Actress. It would be five more years before she would return to acting, staring in the film Elisa. To date, Vanessa has thirteen films to her credit. L'arnacour, her most recent film, was released in France in January 2010.
Several times in her career Vanessa has served as a model for Chanel, the company founded by French fashion designer Coco Chanel. She was featured in a 1992 advertisement for Coco perfume. Whistling and beautifully adorned in feathers, she swung gracefully on a perch inside a birdcage. To play the bird of paradise, Vanessa took trapeze lessons for a month. In a 2010 interview with The London Times, Vanessa shared her thoughts of the commercial: "It was sumptuous, original, a little fairy tale. You could see it as a short film." Additionally, Vanessa promoted Chanel's Ligne Cambon and New Mademoiselle handbags in 2003 and 2005 respectively. Her latest collaboration with Chanel was launched fall of 2009. In what Chanel describes as her "modern elegance, boldness of character and power of emotion", she has become the face of their new line of lipstick, Rouge Coco de Chanel.
Vanessa and Johnny became a couple in 1998 while he was in Paris filming The Ninth Gate. He was having dinner with the crew at Hotel Costes on the same night Vanessa was there with friends. When Johnny saw her across the lobby of the restaurant, he said he was "undone". He fell in love at that very moment: "You have this feeling. I can't really explain what it was, but I had it when I met Vanessa. I saw her across a room and I thought 'What's happening to me?'"
In an article for the October 2008 issue of Elle magazine, Vanessa explained they saw one another occasionally over the course of four years before coming together that night in Paris: "We were in two different worlds, him in America, me in France, but we had friends in common. But then, the day we found each other in Paris, we were both in the same world and free and it was just instant. There was no more time to waste, just no way around it."
On May 27, 1999, Johnny and Vanessa's first child, Lily-Rose Melody Depp, was born. Their son, John Christopher Depp III (known as Jack) followed three years later on April 9, 2002. Johnny and Vanessa are devoted parents. They are very protective of their children's privacy, and provide them as normal a life as possible away from the attention their parent's celebrity status attracts.
While Johnny and Vanessa have worked independently on their careers, they were both excited and trepidatious about working together on Terry Gilliam's 2000 ill-fated film The Man Who Killed Don Quixote. In the extras for Lost In La Mancha, the documentary about the film, Johnny said, "I was excited to make a film with my girl, but at the same time freaked out about going to work together, having to lie to one another in the daytime - that sort of thing." In a 2004 interview for Comme Au Cinema, Vanessa agreed: The "idea is rather frightful. First, I ask myself how I could be serious in front of him because he makes me laugh all the time. To lie in his eyes in the middle of a crew on a stage, I'm not sure I could do it."
Although Vanessa and Johnny have yet to appear on the big screen together, he has directed and appeared in several music videos for her, including "L'incendie" from the Divine Idylle album and "Il y a" from her 2009 album The Best of Vanessa Paradis. Additionally, they have jointly collaborated with their musician friends, most notably with Iggy Pop in 1999.
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Chrissie Hynde, Johnny Depp,
Vanessa Paradis and Iggy Pop
Canal, Paris, December 12, 1999
Johnny describes Vanessa as being self-assured and having a "naturalness to her whole way of being that it just made me feel so good to be around her." Vanessa equally adores Johnny: "I like watching him when he's thinking, when he's talking with people, I like seeing how he handles situations. I admire him as an actor, as a father, as a man. Above all, I admire the person he is. He's fantastic." She told CNN, "I like him very much in all terms and every sense of the way. He makes me happy. We are many things - we are together and, in a way, one person."
Unfortunately, Johnny and Vanessa's time as a couple has come to an end. On June 19, 2012, Johnny's publicist gave this exclusive statement to Entertainment Tonight: "Johnny Depp and Vanessa Paradis have amicably separated. Please respect their privacy and, more importantly, the privacy of their children."
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Johnny Depp & Vanessa Paradis