Johnny Depp posed for Vanity Fair's July issue in San Juan, Puerto Rico. - François-Marie Banier/Vanity Fair
Little Hall's Pond Cay is Depp's "decompression. It's my way of trying to return to normalcy," he shares. It has six different beaches, which are named after his partner, Vanessa Paradis, and their two children, Lily Rose and Jack, as well as his mentors, the late Gonzo journalist Hunter S. Thompson ("Gonzo Beach") and Marlon Brando. Depp even dubbed one cove "Heath's Place" after the late actor Heath Ledger. There are several small residences around the island -- all solar-powered -- and transportation consists of a fleet of green golf carts.
"I don't think I'd ever seen any place so pure and beautiful," Depp says. "You can feel our pulse rate drop about 20 beats. It's instant freedom. And that rare beast -- simplicity -- can be had. And a little morsel of anonymity.... Whenever I was getting frustrated about being 'novelty boy' and making movies, I told myself, 'Calm down.' I can come down here and disappear. I spent the Christmas season here with Vanessa and the kids. You can feed hot dogs to the nurse sharks in the Exumas -- but it's best to not swim when doing it."
Depp invited Vanity Fair to set sail with him and three of his best friends on his 156-foot yacht. "Ask me about …
When he's not snorkeling with barracudas, the "Pirates of the Caribbean" star unwinds by painting. "When I can focus on something like guitar or painting, I do," he shares. "I started painting people I admire, like Kerouac, Bob Dylan, Nelson Algren, Marlon Brando, Patti Smith, my girl, my kids. I painted Hunter a couple of times. Keith Richards. What I love to do is paint people's faces, y'know, their eyes. Because you want to find that emotion, see what's going on behind their eyes."
Although Johnny has no intention of retiring from Hollywood just yet, he loves the escapism Little Hall's Pond Cay provides him and his family. "I look forward to my kids growing up on the island, spending months out of the year here ... learning about sea life and how to protect sea life ... and their kids growing up here, and so on.... Theoretically, this place can add years to your life. Money doesn't buy you happiness. But it buys you a big enough yacht to sail right up to it."
To read the entire Depp interview, pick up the July issue of Vanity Fair when it hits newsstands on June 9.
- Johnny Depp
- Marlon Brando