It’s Daddy-O Depp
Long a prominent ladies’ man in Hollywood, Johnny Depp faces fatherhood with French amie Vanessa Paradis
Those who doubt that Johnny Depp is ready to exchange the joys of serial dating for the responsibilities of parenthood have not been paying attention to the early warning signs. While filming 1993’s What’s Eating Gilbert Grape, Depp cooed over the 3-month-old grandson of costar Darlene Cates and pronounced the baby “awesome, just totally awesome.” Said Cates: “Most men don’t realize what a miracle a baby is, but Johnny did.”
That’s a good thing, since Depp now has a miracle of his own. At a hospital in Paris on May 27, Depp’s companion, French singer-actress Vanessa Paradis, gave birth to a daughter, Lily-Rose Melody Depp. “Everybody,” said his spokeswoman, “is doing just great.” Which is to be expected, since only last month Paradis was busy telling another client at her Parisian hairdresser’s that “she was very happy to be having a baby.”
Depp, 36, appears quite delighted with Paradis, 26, the latest in a string of beautiful women—including Kate Moss, Sherilyn Fenn, Jennifer Grey and Winona Ryder—to share quality time with the sometimes temperamental actor. He met her a year ago at a private dinner at the Hôtel Costes in Paris, where, having recently split with supermodel Moss, he was preparing for his role in Roman Polanski’s upcoming movie The Ninth Gate. Paradis has been part of the Paris scene since her days as a teenage pop singer in the mid-’80s and the sexy star of music videos. She later served as a spokesmodel for Chanel perfume, dated rock musician Lenny Kravitz and made movies with French film legends Gérard Depardieu, Jeanne Moreau and Jean-Paul Belmondo.
Depp, who also stars in this summer’s The Astronaut’s Wife, appeared smitten with his French flower from the start. Soon they were traveling to England, where Depp filmed Sleepy Hollow for director Tim Burton.
Their next stop is a rural village on France’s Côte d’Azur, where Depp will continue learning the fine art of fatherhood in their new $2 million home.
Pills, murder and law
Last year, Brynn Hartman pulled the trigger on the gun that killed her husband, comedian Phil Hartman, and then took her own life. Her brother blames Zoloft, the antidepressant his sister was taking, calling it “mind altering”—and he wants the manufacturer of the drug and the psychiatrist who prescribed it to pay. In a lawsuit filed in Los Angeles Superior Court May 26, Gregory Omdahl, who is also executor of the Hartman estate, acknowledges that his sister used cocaine and alcohol at the time of the May 28, 1998, tragedy. But he says that Zoloft, manufactured by Pfizer Inc., reduced her impulse control and posed “an unreasonable risk of violent and suicidal behavior.”
Pfizer strongly disagrees. “This lawsuit is more about exploiting a tragedy for the benefit of lawyers than it is about a good-faith claim,” the company said in a statement.
Dr. Arthur Sorosky, Brynn’s psychiatrist, also refutes the suit’s claims and worries about the effect a civil trial will have on the Hartmans’ children, Sean, 10, and Birgen, 7, now living near Minneapolis with Brynn’s sister Kathy Wright. “There’s a lot of very private embarrassing things, psychiatric issues, that will be exposed,” says Joel Douglas, Sorosky’s attorney.
Remember the scene at the end of Gone with the Wind, when Rhett Butler snarls, “Frankly, my dear, I just don’t care!”? No? Actually that line never made it onscreen. It was producer David O. Selznick’s fallback if censors deemed “Frankly, my dear, I don’t give a damn!” too raw. It’s in the script being auctioned, along with Selznick’s Best Movie Oscar for GWTW, on June 12 at Sotheby’s in New York City. Also in the catalogue: the table and chairs from Ralph and Alice Kramden’s Honeymooners kitchen; an art-deco style sign from Studio 54 and a black jacket once worn by Elvis Presley. The auction, expected to bring in up to $1.2 million, is a baby boomer’s dream, says Sotheby’s Dana Hawkes. “These are things most people can relate to,” Hawkes says, “not like a painting you can only appreciate if you know the historical significance.”
Prom and Circumstance
When you’re a celebrity and you call an ordinary person, disbelief is common. That’s what singer Lisa “Left Eye” Lopes of the hip-hop group TLC discovered when she called Malcolm Blair Jr., 19, a student at Philadelphia’s Strawberry Mansion High School, to say sure, she’d be delighted to be his date at the senior prom. When Blair—who had invited Lopes in a February letter—got Lopes’s call, “I thought this was, like, the World’s Funniest Practical Jokes.” He wised up when MTV asked if it could send a crew to trail the pair. At the prom, Lopes, 27, danced with Blair, then signed autographs.
And afterward? Alas, says Blair, not even a good-night kiss.
Grin and Bare It? No Way
The royal family was very, very not amused when Britain’s ribald tabloid The Sun published a topless photo of Prince Edward’s fiancée, Sophie Rhys-Jones. “Premeditated cruelty,” snapped a Buckingham Palace spokesman, soon after the top-selling paper hit the streets May 26. “It is a gross invasion of privacy and not in the public interest.”
Widespread public criticism of The Sun suggested that after Princess Diana’s death, making sport of the ruling class has lost some of its appeal. Members of Parliament voiced indignation. So did radio talk show hosts, TV news presenters and, of course, competing papers “Shame on You” blared The Mirror; “Sophie: I Feel So Betrayed” wept the Daily Mail, quoting the aggrieved bride-to-be as saying “this has ruined my engagement.”
At issue is a 1988 photo taken during a moment of horseplay among colleagues at a radio station. Deejay Chris Tarrant briefly lifted publicist Rhys-Jones’s bikini top, while his cohost, Kara Noble, snapped away. Noble’s decision to sell the photo brought her a reported $160,000—and widespread condemnation. After the photo’s publication, she was fired from her job at a radio station and went into hiding.
Stung by the backlash, The Sun announced it would donate proceeds from the syndication of the picture to Rhys-Jones’s favorite charities and offered a full-page apology—sort of. “So, okay, we messed up,” wrote the editors, who attributed some of the fuss to people who “can’t stand our success.”
The flap may also have cost the paper an influential friend. Prime Minister Tony Blair, long a Sun favorite, agreed with the Palace’s grievance to Britain’s Press Complaints Commission, noting that “with freedom [of the press] comes responsibility.”
ON THE BLOCK
After a hard day chasing scuzzball perps around town, it’s nice to come home to something comfy—lawn, shrubs, flowers, hot tub, that sort of thing. So NYPD Blue’s Dennis Franz, the tough, scruffy Det. Andy Sipowicz, must have especially enjoyed this English-style country home in Bel Air, with four bedrooms, a formal dining room, a study, a swimming pool and a detached guest house with a fireplace. “It has real charm to it,” says real estate agent Diane King. Now that stepdaughters Tricia, 25, and Krista, 23, are grown, Franz and wife Joanie Zeck are moving to smaller digs in Los Angeles. This old (well, 60 years) house? Yours for $1,295,000.