Johnny Depp raves about quiet life on 850-acre Somerset estate: ‘British people are cool’

Johnny Depp has said he prefers living a quiet life in the United Kingdom, where he currently resides on an 850-acre estate in Somerset.

Following the Hollywood actor’s highly publicised defamation trial against ex-wife Amber Heard last year, Depp has now relocated to Somerset in southwest England. In 2014, the 59-year-old actor purchased the Downton Abbey-like estate for £13m, complete with 12 bedrooms and eight bathrooms inside a 19th-century style mansion, dubbed Somerset Mansion.

The Pirates of the Caribbean star opened up about his newfound introverted lifestyle in an interview for Somerset Life magazine’s April 2023 issue, in which he posed for a photoshoot on the 850-acre property.

“I just love places with character,” Depp told the magazine, per the Somerset County Gazette. “I have various houses in various places and they all mean something special. I don’t have them just to say I own them, I have them for use and because they are a bit special.”

The Somerset property boasts a great manor house surrounded by walled gardens and a dairy farm. The Sweeney Todd star shared that “one of the many things I love about Britain” is that “everywhere you go there is history and buildings with great character.”

Depp added that now he “can go into shops without being surrounded by people wanting selfies,” which he doesn’t mind “up to a point” but it can sometimes get “a little too crowded.”

“British people are cool and will greet you as if you are a neighbour – without going over the top,” he said. “I like going to places, seeing things and meeting people – but I’m not the great extrovert that people think.”

“In truth, I’m quite a shy person,” he continued. “That’s one of the great things about Britain, and especially Somerset. I can just be me – and that’s nice.”

When Depp purchased Somerset Mansion, he was newly engaged to Heard, whom he married in 2015 before they divorced in 2017. The former couple recently settled their contentious defamation case after the months-long trial was watched by viewers around the world.

Depp sued his ex-wife for $50m over a 2018 op-ed she wrote in the Washington Post that implied she was a victim of domestic abuse. Though she did not name Depp, he claimed her allegations have made it difficult for the actor to land movie roles. In June, a jury determined Heard defamed Depp on all three counts and awarded him $10m (£8.2m) in compensatory damages and $5m (£4.1m) in punitive damages. Heard was awarded $2m (£1.6m) in compensatory damages.

Heard then filed a notice of appeal one month after the initial verdict, with her attorney citing “errors” made by the court. However, the Aquaman star decided to withdraw the appeal last December, calling the decision to settle with Depp “very difficult”, and something that had required “a great deal of deliberation”.

Earlier this month, Depp was spotted at an antiques centre in Lincolnshire, where he arrived by helicopter and was taken on a private tour. The Fantastic Beasts actor bought three guitars, a skull-encrusted vase, and an easel during his visit to Hemswell Antiques Centres.

Owner Robert Miller told the PA news agency: “He just bought a lot of very quirky items. A desk chair, three guitars, paint sets, easels, a few pictures, posters, just a whole range of things for decorative items for his own personal property.”

Miller said he was told a special guest would arrive at 4.30pm that day, but had to conceal his identity because Depp “just wanted to relax and walk around without being bombarded by the general public”.

“We hosted refreshments for him and he was able to walk around,” Miller said. “It was great because he was his normal self and he was very relaxed and was able to spend time looking at things and playing on the guitars that he wanted to play on.

“He felt very at home.”