After the show was kicked off with performances from Fergie and Lizzo, an astronaut was seen hanging from the ceiling of the Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey. Inside the helmet was a screen where a hologram of Depp’s head appeared.
“You know what? I needed the work,” he said before the first award of the night was given out.
He appeared again about 45 minutes later to add, “Hey VMAs, let’s get back to the f–king music, shall we?”
In his third cameo, Depp advertised his availability for a variety of jobs. “I just want you guys to know that I’m available for birthdays, bar mitzvahs, bat mitzvahs, weddings, wakes — any old thing you need. Anything. You name it,” he said. “Oh! I’m also a dentist.”
It was the Pirates of the Caribbean star’s first public appearance in the U.S. since his defamation case against Amber Heard, to whom he was married from 2015 to 2017.
The Edward Scissorhands actor sued the Aquaman actress for $50 million in damages, claiming that a 2018 Washington Post op-ed penned by Heard damaged his career and reputation. Heard identified herself as a victim of domestic violence in the article but did not mention Depp by name.
On June 1, a jury awarded $10 million in compensatory damages to the Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas actor as well as $5 million in punitive damages. Meanwhile, Heard received $2 million in compensatory damages for her counterclaim against her ex-husband. The Texas native will only have to pay $10.35 million after the amount was reduced due to a Virginia law capping punitive damages.
Following the verdict, a source revealed to Us Weekly that the Drive Angry actress intended to appeal the decision.
“She is 100 percent appealing on freedom of speech and is telling friends she is determined to take it all the way to the Supreme Court if she has to,” the insider said at the time. “She is not able to comprehend that she lost.”
However, the appeal hasn’t stopped Depp from celebrating. He launched a TikTok account within a week of his courtroom win. “To all of my most treasured, loyal and unwavering supporters. We’ve been everywhere together, we have seen everything together. We have walked the same road together. We did the right thing together, all because you cared. And now, we will all move forward together,” Depp said in the TikTok video on June 7.
The Sweeney Todd star continued in the caption, “You are, as always, my employers and once again I am whittled down to no way to say thank you, other than just by saying thank you. So, thank you. My love & respect, JD.”
Depp has since been working on music, playing several shows with pal Jeff Beck overseas. The pair made an album.
“I’m gonna take this opportunity and tell you I met this guy five years ago, and we’ve never stopped laughing since,” Beck reportedly told the audience at a June show. “We actually made an album. I don’t know how it happened.” Their joint effort, titled 18, was recorded in 2020 and released in July.
Amid the aftermath of his court battle, there has been speculation that Depp will return to the Fantastic Beasts franchise. He was asked to resign and Mads Mikkelsen stepped in to play the role. However, the Danish actor wondered if Depp could reprise the role.
During an appearance at the Sarajevo Film Festival on August 15, Mikkelsen, 56, addressed replacing the embattled actor. “It was very intimidating,” the Hannibal alum said during a panel. “Obviously, well, now the course has changed. He won the [law]suit — the court [case] — so let’s see if he comes back. He might. I’m a big fan of Johnny. I think he’s an amazing actor, I think he did a fantastic job.”
However, no announcements about a fourth Fantastic Beasts film have been made yet.