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Johnny Depp
1970-1979 Not Exactly Neverland
Depp's family settles in Miramar, Fla., when Depp is 7, living in a hotel until his father finds work. Prone to self-inflicted knife wounds – his arms still bear the visible scars – Depp starts smoking at 12, loses his virginity at 13, starts doing drugs at 14 and eventually drops out of high school at 16 to join the garage band, The Kids.

1983 December 20
The Marrying Man

Months after moving to L.A. with his bandmates, Depp, 20, marries makeup artist Lori Allison, 25, in Miami. The relationship lasts two years and leads to one important connection. Through her friend Nicolas Cage, Depp is introduced to the agent who lands him his first film role, as a teen swallowed by his bed in 1984's Nightmare on Elm Street.

1986 December 19
Reporting for Duty

Depp gets his first taste of Oscar-quality work with a small role as a Vietnamese-speaking GI in Oliver Stone's Platoon. The film will receive eight Oscar nominations the following year, taking home statues for Best Picture, Best Director, Best Sound and Best Film Editing.

1987 April 12
Undercover Bother

With the successful premiere of high school cop drama 21 Jump Street, one of the first shows on the new FOX network, Depp becomes a teen heartthrob, receiving 10,000 fan letters a month. Although he signed a six-year contract with the show, not believing it would last a season, Depp begins to rebel against his heartthrob status and by 1990 negotiates his way out in order to pursue movie work. "He didn't make any secret of the fact that he didn't particularly care about being on that show," recalls castmate Holly Robinson to PEOPLE.

1989 June
Depp Dates Winona

Depp meets actress Winona Ryder at a film premiere and is immediately smitten. "There's been nothing in my 27 years that's comparable to the feeling I have with Winona," he tells PEOPLE at the time. Five months after their first date, the couple is engaged; three years later they split. Depp, who alters the "Winona Forever" tattoo on his right biceps to read "Wino Forever," seems to have a fiancée fetish: before Ryder, he was also briefly engaged to actresses Sherilyn Fenn and Jennifer Grey.

1990 December 06
Total Cutup

In an extreme contrast from his 21 Jump Street persona, Depp takes on the eccentric title role in Edward Scissorhands. It is his first collaboration with director Tim Burton, whom he works with on many other films, including Ed Wood (1994) and Sleepy Hollow (1999).

1993 April 16
Art Film Confidential

Depp passes on big-budget roles for films like Benny & Joon, where he plays an eccentric who models himself after silent-movie star Buster Keaton. He'll continue the trend with What's Eating Gilbert Grape (opposite Leonardo DiCaprio) and Ed Wood. "I was so uncomfortable being a product, I swore to myself that I would choose my own path," Depp says on Inside the Actors Studio. "I figured I could always go back to playing guitar or pumping gas or something."

October 31
Death of a Friend
Fellow actor and pal River Phoenix collapses outside the Viper Room, the Sunset Strip club Depp co-owns until 2003. An autopsy shows that Phoenix's body had toxic levels of cocaine and heroin, as well as marijuana and Valium. Depp faces accusations that his nightspot is one of the centers of Hollywood's drug trade. "To pinpoint one club or one street is really ridiculous," he tells USA Today. "There's a tragic loss of a very gifted, very sweet, nice young man."

1994 February
Up-and-Down Relationship

Depp meets model Kate Moss at the Manhattan bistro Café Tabac, and from the beginning their union is one of tremendous highs and lows. "They can't keep their hands, lips, mouths, legs off each other," a friend says to PEOPLE. The passion often turns the other way as the pair are frequently seen shouting at each other in public. "Instead of hitting women, he just gets angry and lets off steam in other ways," a longtime friend says to PEOPLE.

September 13
Charge It to the Room
Suspected of being drunk and fighting with Moss, Depp is arrested on suspicion of criminal mischief after trashing his $1,200-a-night room at New York City's Mark Hotel. Charges are dismissed after Depp pays nearly $10,000 in damages and fees. Ironically, legendary hotel trasher Roger Daltrey of The Who was trying to sleep next door. "On a scale of 1 to 10," Daltrey says to PEOPLE, "I give him a 1. It took him so bloody long. The Who could've done the job in one minute flat."

May 22
Going Gonzo
After becoming friendly with journalist Hunter S. Thompson, Depp portrays him in the film adaptation of Thompson's novel Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas. In August 2005, six months after the author's suicide, Depp pays for an invitation-only memorial where Thompson's ashes are shot out of a 15-foot cannon over his Aspen ranch.

Paradis Found
In Paris filming the supernatural mystery The Ninth Gate, Depp meets French model-singer Vanessa Paradis, 26. "[She] walked towards me, directly at me, and just said 'Hi.' And then I just knew, you know, it's over with," he tells Oprah. Meeting Paradis, he says, "changed [my life] completely." Within months, the pair move into a $2 million villa in a rural village on France's Cote d'Azur.

1999 May 27
Little Flower

Depp and Paradis welcome their first child, Lily-Rose Melody Depp, in Paris. They have a son, John Christopher Depp III, whom they call Jack, in April 2002. "Johnny is the perfect father. He dresses the children, he changes them, he makes them laugh," Paradis says in French Elle in 2002. Her one complaint? "Well, he does give Lily-Rose too many potato chips."

2003 July 09
Ahoy, Mate

Depp steals the show from Orlando Bloom and Keira Knightley in Disney's blockbuster Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl. Modeling his character, Captain Jack Sparrow, after Rolling Stones guitarist Keith Richards, Depp's oddball portrayal earns him his first Oscar nomination. The film grosses $654 million during its theatrical run, and Depp reprises the role in 2006 and 2007.

December 01
He's Too Sexy
Depp lands the cover of PEOPLE's Sexiest Man Alive in 2003, beating such handsome faces as Brad Pitt, Russell Crowe, Nick Lachey and George Clooney. With the popularity of Pirates of the Caribbean, Depp gains a new generation of fans. Lasse Halstrom, who directed Depp in What's Eating Gilbert Grape, talks of the leading man's charm: "He's a little dangerous, he has a secret, he has great warmth – all those things you can see in his eyes. That's the key to his appeal."

2004 November 12
Panning for Accolades

Depp goes two for two, giving another Oscar-nominated performance as Peter Pan author J.M. Barrie in Finding Neverland with Kate Winslet. "Johnny is at the pinnacle of his career," Neverland producer Harvey Weinstein says to PEOPLE. "He is the most versatile actor in the industry. He is a leading man, a character actor, and he has the courage of his convictions."

2005 July 15

Delivering his own version of the Willy Wonka character popularized by Gene Wilder in 1971, Depp once again caters toward a younger audience in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. Filming in London, Depp flies home to France every weekend until the last month of shooting, when he brings his family with him. "He wanted Lily-Rose to see him playing with the Oompa Loompas," producer Richard Zanuck says to PEOPLE.

2007 March 08
Depp's Daughter Recovers

Depp's daughter Lily-Rose, who has fallen ill in England, is "doing much better", according to the actor's rep. Several British papers reported that Lily-Rose came down with an undisclosed illness and that Depp, 43, has been by her bedside every day, halting production on Tim Burton's movie version of the stage musical Sweeney Todd. "To say it was the darkest moment, that's nothing," Depp later tells EW. "Now every single millisecond is a mini-celebration."

May 25
A Mighty Trilogy
Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End opens at No. 1 at the box office, grossing $153 million its first week. Days later, the previous Pirates installment wins the MTV Movie Award for Best Movie and Depp takes home the popcorn for Best Performance. "I want to thank [the producers] and Disney for not firing me first," Depp says during his acceptance speech.

November 09
Singing in Sweeney Todd

Depp appears on the cover of EW, where he discusses his sixth collaboration with director Tim Burton in the adaptation of the musical, Sweeney Todd. "He makes Sid Vicious look like the innocent paper boy," Depp says of his character. "He's beyond dark." Despite the singing (which "couldn't be more foreign to me in a lot of ways"), the actor says, "After certain takes, Tim would just howl with laughter and go, 'I think this is my favorite character.''' After winning a lead actor Golden Globe for the dark role, Depp earns a Best Actor Oscar nomination.

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