Johnny Depp Makes Strange Surprise at 2022 VMAs: ‘I Needed the Job’

Johnny Depp in a spacesuit during the 2022 MTV VMAs. (Photo: MTV VMA 22/Getty Images)

In the days leading up to the 2022 MTV Video Music Awards, which took place Sunday at the Prudential Center in Newark, NJ, rumors have swirled of a surprise appearance by actor and part-time rocker Johnny Depp — which would be his first public outing since His defamation lawsuit with ex-wife Amber Heard ended just under three months ago. A source told the New York Post that Depp was “really excited” about his “comeback” following the verdict, but when the five-time MTV Award winner made three short, strange appearances during Sunday’s VMAs ceremony, he wasn’t exactly the triumphant return he or his fans might have been waiting for.

Somewhat anticlimactically, but also somewhat amusingly, Depp’s augmented reality face was digitally superimposed onto the helmet of a giant moonbird suspended, like a Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade float, above the Prudential Center stage. “You know what? I needed the job,” Depp quipped. After a commercial break, he returned with a flying astronaut hologram to suggest, “Hey, VMAs, let’s get back to the music, shall we?”

Later, during Depp’s final appearance, things got even weirder as he once again joked that he was desperate for a job. “I just want you to know that I’m available for birthdays, bar mitzvahs, bat mitzvahs, weddings, wakes… You name it, you name it,” he deadpanned. “Oh—and I’m a dentist, too.”

Many fans appreciated Depp’s self-deprecating humor and took to Twitter to show their support.

However, other MTV viewers were confused by the randomness of it all, while many of Heard’s supporters were completely disappointed that Heard’s alleged abuser had been invited to participate in the VMA broadcasts in any capacity.

Meanwhile, Depp was clearly excited about his blink-and-you’ll-miss-it ‘comeback’, taking to his own social media to share a clip from the VMAs with the caption ‘guess who?’

On June 1, a Fairfax County Circuit Court jury awarded Depp $15 million in punitive damages, finding that Heard defamed him in 2018. Washington Post article about sexual violence. (Heard won $2 million in her counterattack; she insists her article did not defame her ex-husband, and her lawyers are appealing the case.) “Six years later, the court gave me my life back. I am truly humbled,” Depp said in a statement after the controversial verdict was read.

The 2022 MTV Music Awards, co-hosted by Nicki Minaj, LL Cool J and Jack Harlow. Minaj received the Video Vanguard Award, while the Red Hot Chili Peppers were presented with another lifetime achievement honor, the Global Icon Award. Other performers included K-pop group BLACKPINK, country singer Kane Brown, Italian glam-rock band Måneskin, emo veterans Panic! At the Disco, EDM stars Marshmello with Khalid, Lizzo, Eminem and Snoop Dogg and Latin sensations Anitta, Bad Bunny and J Balvin. For the full list of winners, click here.

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