Then Johnny Depp met a girl at one of his gigs. She was tall, dark-haired and beautiful. Her name was Lori Anne Allison. She was to become his one and only wife and, according to friends, the only girl he has truly loved.
Music was Johnny's first and lasting love. He had never thought of being an actor until Lori realised that acting was his true gift. She was 22, five years older than Johnny and worked as a make-up artist and beautician.
"She was absolutely beautiful," said Kids bandmate Yves Bouhadana, "Johnny fell instantly in love with her. It was his first serious relationship and he was desperate to marry her.
"Lori was much more level-headed and it was three years before they actually tied the knot at Christmas 1983 in Miami. Then they moved to Hollywood.
"Johnny was still with The Kids and determined to make it as a rock guitarist and Lori supported him financially as a make-up artist. Life in the band was hard. We didn't seem any nearer our big break."
Even after being support band for the Ramones, Iggy Pop, The Pretenders and Talking Heads the band failed to get a record deal and the stress of failure was pulling his marriage apart.
Eventually in desperation Lori introduced Johnny to actor Nicolas Cage, who was filming at the studio in which she worked. Cage persuaded him that he had acting talent and urged him to get an agent. It was Hollywood fantasy come true...Johnny was offered a role in 1986's A nightmare on Elm Street and became an instant sensation. He was rich and successful almost overnight, but sadly it came too late to save his marriage. It collapsed and ended after two years.
"Johnny has always been grateful to Lori for pointing him towards an acting career," said Yves Bouhadan. "He never really got over losing Lori and was desperate to find happiness. He was convinced that meant marrying again as soon as possible. He was desperate for security."
Friends have said that his traumatic childhood had a lot to do with Johnny's frantic hunt for happiness. He was the youngest of four and witnesses constant violence between his parents, an engineer and a waitress. His parents' marriage unravelled slowly and painfully and by the time Johnny was 13 he was drinking heavily and deliberately cutting his arms to harm himself.
After his marriage ended, Johnny Depp started a relentless search for someone who could give him the happiness he had found with Lori — and in the process loved and lost some of the world's most beautiful women. One of the first was Twin Peaks beauty Sherilyn Fenn who was with him less than a year. After that, Johnny dated Dirty Dancing's Jennifer Grey and following a now-familiar pattern, proposed.
When that relationship ended, Johnny quickly hooked up with his latest fiance, Winona Ryder, co-star in 1990's Edward Scissorhand. Supermodel Kate Moss was the next love of his life, at 23, 10 years younger than Johnny. The relationship was intense and Johnny once caused $10,000 worth of damage to her New York hotel room after a row. He was devastated when they broke up in 1998 and told friends: "I cried for a week after we split. I didn't give her the attention I should have done I'm a total moron at times. I let my work get in the way and I will never let it happen again. I have truly discovered the meaning of loneliness."
Love and security
But within weeks he was spotted out with beautiful French singer Vanessa Paradis and three months later she was pregnant with a daughter and a son followed two years later. At last it looked as though he had found the love and security he craved. With a fortune of over $200 million and fees of $20 million a film, he bought houses in California, France and an island in the Bahamas.
But Vanessa would never agree to marriage and after 14 years came the inevitable parting, tears and recriminations. But not for long. Within weeks he had proposed to blonde actress Amber Heard. Said a friend: "When they're apart he sends her poetry and spends hours on the phone. It is very sweet but everyone worries about him getting hurt yet again." Today the woman who, insiders believe, remains his one great love, lives quietly in Scotland and refuses to speak about her famous ex-husband.
"Lori is a very private person but I know they are still friends and are in contact," Yves Bouhadana says. "If Johnny had stayed with Lori I think he would have really learned what true love is all about."
Susan French/Tony James Features