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Exploring the controversial friendship of Johnny Depp and Paul McCartney

Celebrity friendships are all the rage. There is never a dull moment when two actors or musicians come together to pose for photos on the red carpet or join one another on stage. The latter happened earlier this year when a clip of Johnny Depp joined Paul McCartney on stage at Glastonbury. However, this collaboration was met with scathing attacks and controversy following recent headline events.

Despite being one of Hollywood’s most talented, successful, and adored actors at one time, Depp is open about his undying love for music, especially The Beatles. The actor attended the 2014 Grammys afterparty, which was hosted by McCartney, with a US source revealing that Depp, his then-fiancé Amber Heard, McCartney and his wife Nancy Shevell spent the entire night talking: “They ate and drank with Paul until he was ready to leave, and the foursome left together,” the source claimed.

After Heard seemingly accused Depp of domestic and emotional abuse in an op-ed published through the Washington Post, which was then counteracted with a reverse claim from Depp that she abused him in 2019, the Beatles singer showed support for Depp in May of this year. During McCartney’s performance at the Climate Pledge Arena in Seattle, the former Beatle had a clip of Depp playing the guitar to his song ‘My Valentine’ in the background taken from the official music video. The musician has also openly supported Depp in behind-the-scenes footage of his cameo in Pirates of the Carribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales, which would be Depp’s final appearance in the supremely popular franchise.

“I’ve known Johnny a while. You know, I always admired him as Jack Sparrow,” McCartney shares in the footage. “He said, ‘I’d love you to be in the next one’. I said, ‘What, me, a pirate?’ He says, ‘Yeah, you could do it and have a lot of fun’. So, he wrote me in. It was great. I’m loving it.”

He added: “He got me a lot of favours in the past; he’s been in some of my music videos, so you know, this is my way of repaying him”.

After Depp obtained a favourable outcome in his trial against Heard on June 1st, 2022, McCartney again used the clip of the actor from his 2012 music video for ‘My Valentine’ again during his performance at Glastonbury Festival. Even though this clip had been in use for a decade, the public was conflicted about Depp’s appearance since the trial generated more division between those who supported Depp and those who did not. One commentator described it as “a completely unasked for and pointless show of Ageing Male Pop Star solidarity with men who hurt women” in a post on social media, adding: “They are all loathsome.”

Another wrote: “Everyone around me was completely baffled about if it was or wasn’t Johnny Depp! The set was boring enough to sustain this debate for a while too.” Another comment expressed disappointment with the singer: “The message that sends is Paul supports his powerful friends and not women. I thought Paul McCartney was a better man than that.”

However, those who stood on Depp’s side perceived the performance as a touching act of solidarity, showing gratitude towards McCartney for featuring the actor. “Paul McCartney and Johnny Depp being best friends is so iconic to me,” one supporter wrote. This tweet mirrors another user’s praising post: “Well done to Glastonbury for allowing Paul McCartney to show his support for this.”


With the Depp vs Heard case being met with more and more division and dispute every day, these conflicting reactions will be the response to every appearance Depp makes from now on.

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