Johnny Depp

Depp in 2008

Birth Name: John Christopher Depp II

Place of Birth: Owensboro, Daviess, Kentucky, United States

Date of Birth: June 9, 1963

Ethnicity: English, along with small/distant amounts of Irish, Scots-Irish/Northern Irish, Scottish, Welsh, French/French-Canadian, Dutch, Flemish Belgian, and German, as well as 3/2048 African

Johnny Depp is an American actor, producer, and musician. He is the star of the films A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984), Platoon, Cry-Baby, Edward Scissorhands, Benny and Joon, What’s Eating Gilbert Grape, Ed Wood, Dead Man, Donnie Brasco, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, Sleepy Hollow, Chocolat, the Pirates of the Caribbean series, Finding Neverland, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Tim Burton’s Corpse Bride, The Libertine, Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street, Public Enemies, Alice in Wonderland (2010), and its sequel; Dark Shadows (2012), The Lone Ranger (2013), Black Mass, and Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald, and the series 21 Jump Street. Johnny was selected People Magazine’s “Sexiest Man Alive” in 2003, and again in 2009. He has often worked with director Tim Burton. He is a member of rock supergroup Hollywood Vampires, with Alice Cooper and Joe Perry. He also founded film production company Infinitum Nihil.

Johnny is the son of Betty Sue (Wells), a waitress, and John Christopher Depp, a civil engineer. He was raised partly in Miramar, Florida. He has two children, including actress and model Lily-Rose Depp, with his former partner, French singer, model, and actress Vanessa Paradis.

Much or most of Johnny’s ancestry traces back to England. He also has small amounts (to varying degrees) of Irish, Scots-Irish/Northern Irish, Scottish, Welsh, French, French-Canadian, Dutch, Flemish Belgian, and German, ancestry, as well as 3/2048 African ancestry (through Elizabeth Key Grinstead, who is his ancestor twice over). Johnny’s patrilineal line is generally traced to Pierre Deppe, a Huguenot, who was born, c. 1706, in France, and to Pierre’s wife, Angelica/Angeline LeVillian/le Villian.

Both of Johnny’s parents, as well as all of Johnny’s grandparents, great-grandparents, and great-great-grandparents, were born in Kentucky. Johnny has stated, on several occasions, that he has or likely has Native American ancestry (of varying tribes, most often Cherokee). For example:

I guess I have some Native American somewhere down the line… My great grandmother was quite a bit of Native American, she grew up Cherokee or maybe Creek Indian. Makes sense in terms of coming from Kentucky, which is rife with Cherokee and Creek.

It does not appear that this Native American ancestry has been documented. All of Johnny’s grandparents and great-grandparents are listed as “White” on United States Censuses. No verified Native American ancestry has been produced for Johnny Depp.

LOS ANGELES – MAY 18: Depp arrives for “Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales” US Premiere in Hollywood, CA, 2017, photo by DFree

Johnny’s paternal grandfather was Oren Larry Depp (the son of Oren Richard Depp and Effie A. Palmore). Johnny’s grandfather Oren was born in Barren County, Kentucky. Johnny’s great-grandfather Oren was the son of John Burkes/Burks Depp and Mariba Elizabeth Reneau. Effie was the daughter of Andrew H. Palmore and Mary Elizabeth “Mollie” McCreary.

Johnny’s paternal grandmother was Violet Mattie Grinstead (the daughter of Robert Fauntleroy “Roy” Grinstead and Mary E. Bailey). Roy was the son of Christopher Tompkins Grinstead and Martha S. “Mattie” Sanders. Mary was the daughter of Joseph Taylor Bailey and Martha Ann Mansfield.

Johnny’s maternal grandfather was Walter Everett/Everette Wells (the son of Richard Mack/Mac Wells and Annie/Anna Cooper). Richard was the son of Commodore Perry Wells and Rebecca Ann “Beckie” Litteral/Little. Johnny’s great-grandmother Anna was the daughter of William M. “Bill” Cooper and Sallie/Sarah Kelly/Craft.

Johnny’s maternal grandmother was Bessie Whitaker (the daughter of Branch Whitaker and May/Mae Slone). Branch was the son of William C. Whitaker and Sirilda/Sarilda/Serilda Fletcher/Fletchet. May was the daughter of Wiley Slone and Amanda Bradley.

Johnny is descended from a woman, Martha, who was born in 1612, and who was of African descent. Martha had a daughter, Elizabeth Key Grinstead, married to William Grinstead, who were Johnny’s ancestors. Elizabeth’s father, Thomas Key, was caucasian, of English descent. Elizabeth was the first woman of African ancestry to successfully take legal action to free herself from slavery. This happened in 1656. Johnny is descended from Martha twice (on one family tree, she is both one of his eight times great-grandmothers, and one of his nine times great-grandmothers). That would mean that Johnny is of 3/2048 African ancestry.

Some family trees state that Johnny’s nine times great-grandmother was a woman named Nicketti Opechancanough, who is said to have been of Powhatan Native American ancestry. If true, that would make Johnny of 1/2048 Powhatan Native American descent. However, stories about her are believed to be a myth. Scholarly research and records dispute the existence of Nicketti Opechancanough.

Sources: Genealogies of Johnny Depp –

Genealogy of Johnny’s paternal grandparents, Oren Larry Depp and Violet Mattie Grinstead –

Johnny’s paternal grandfather, Oren Larry Depp (“Laramore Depp”), on the 1910 U.S. Census –

Johnny’s paternal grandmother, Violet Mattie Grinstead (“Violet M. Grinstead”), on the 1930 U.S. Census –

Johnny’s paternal great-great-grandparents, Christopher Tompkins Grinstead and Martha S. “Mattie” Sanders, on the 1880 U.S. Census –

Genealogy and obituary of Johnny’s mother –

Johnny’s maternal grandfather, Walter Everett/Everette Wells (“Everette Wells”), on the 1920 U.S. Census –

Johnny’s maternal great-grandmother, Annie/Anna (Cooper) Wells, on the 1900 U.S. Census –

Johnny’s maternal great-great-grandparents, William M. “Bill” Cooper and Sallie/Sarah Kelly/Craft, on the 1910 U.S. Census –

Johnny’s maternal grandmother, Bessie Whitaker, on the 1910 U.S. Census –

Article about Johnny’s ancestor, Elizabeth (Key) Grinstead –


Curious about ethnicity

769 Responses

  1. indo says:

    Okay, so all these comments are telling me that Johnny is a racially ambiguous man.

  2. ethnogenesis says:

    Depp grew up in FL and then NJ trying to pass as first “Hispanic/Spanish/Latino” and then “Italian/Sicilian/Sardinian”, but in KY he could pass as a “Cherokee, Creek or Native American”. Interestingly, after the Lone Ranger acting role controversy, he proposed no white/Caucasian actor should play a BIPOC character out of respect for reserving roles to better accurately represent the very ethnoracial group in movies, TV and in the media. I guess Depp realized what he done was wrong and he is the star of controversy for many years for a variety of reasons.

  3. LOL!! All the —– crying because they can’t come to terms with the fact that White people actually exist.

  4. Dolv says:

    Lmao the mental gymnastics Americans go through here to prove that he is 100% European. “No no no amerindians all died out, they don’t exist anymore” “no no he lied about having an amerindian grandmother” “no no all white americans are exclusively german irish and welsh” “no no no most white americans are not north american castizos”

    This is what happens when you call phenotypes and human taxonomy a “pseudoscience”. So what if all his recorded ancestry is 100% English? Do people unironically think his facial features are common for native Europeans?

    • peekaboo mewmew-ricans says:

      Hahaha I’m a European from Europe and it’s so comical reading all these multiracial Muricans who believe to be the —— —– and other ultra —– and ——— state he like other clear Hispanics like George Clooney are purely —– with such dark complextion and non-European faces lolol and they claim some Europeans are —– rotfl.

      • VikingHalfa says:

        “…Hispanics like George Clooney…”

        George Clooney’s ethnic background is:
        Irish, English, and German, with more distant Scots-Irish/Northern Irish, Scottish, and Welsh, and remote French Huguenot and Dutch.

        Nowhere does it say he is Hispanic.

        I’m pretty sure the reason he has dark brown hair, dark drown eyes, and naturally tan skin is because of the part of him that’s French. Ethnic French people near the southern region of France have that look.

        Just because a person has dark brown wavy or straight hair, dark brown eyes, and naturally tan skin that doesn’t automatically mean that they’re Hispanic. Like for example, My dad and his side of his family are Norwegian; but one of my uncles and my late aunt has dark brown straight hair, dark brown eyes and naturally tan skin. And we know that my uncle is Norwegian because he took a MyHeritageDNA test and his result came back as 95.9% Scandinavian and 4.1% Italian. So the reason my uncle and late aunt has dark brown straight hair, dark brown eyes and naturally tan skin is because the small bit of Italian ancestry was expressed in them.

        • peekaboo mewmew-ricans mutts with no race says:

          His background is fake real fully Europeans aren’t so dark and Hispanic looking like him me a real Euro from Europe I know it sooooo well Americans and other super mixed non-white are so over obsessed to whitewashing and nordicized every dark non-Euro races cause you and they don’t accept to be mutts but you prefer to classify yourselves as the purest white and Nordic you and they aren’t.
          Accept Clooney is Hispanic he fits perfectly in South and Central America don’t you see his incredibly darkness and non-white face??
          No no no Southern French aren’t exotic and dark only the ones of foreigner roots, recent or distant can be not the —- ones. In all Europe he looks what he is: Hispanic, a clearl dark non-white.
          We Euros don’t have dark skin, —— hairy, almond shaped eyes, massive nose and your other typical ——– ultra mixed features.
          You talk to a real Italian from Italy we don’t look Hispanic like him he can be Arab also cause some Arabs look Hispanics. The Italian-Muricans in Usa are fake other races who claim to be us, again they’re —– and ——–. Your relatives got the darkness from another non-Euro ancestors surely they are other Miguel and Concepta feeling Euro inside them.

          • VikingHalfa says:

            “but you prefer to classify yourselves as the purest white and Nordic”

            First of all, I never claimed to pure white. I only said that my father’s side of the family is Norwegian. I never said anything about my mother’ side of the family. I myself am biracial because my mother is Indian. So stop making arrogant assumptions about me with the little information I’ve given you. It just make you look incredibly ignorant.

            Second of all, I don’t have DARK skin, frizzy hair, and almond shape eyes. I have light tan skin, dark brown WAVY hair (there’s a difference, LEARN IT.), dark brown eyes, and I have narrow facial features like my father. I’m not even as dark as my mother. And if I live in the Norway long enough my skin starts to become almost as white as my father’s. So your second assumption about me is ALSO WRONG!

            Third of all, here is a genetic graph of Europe:


            Southern Europeans and Southeastern Europeans have significantly higher amounts of North African and Middle Eastern ancestry. I never said that Southern & Southeastern Europeans are pure white. I was just pointing about that just because a European has dark brown hair, dark brown eyes, and naturally tan
            skin; that doesn’t automatically mean that their from Spain.

            Fourth of all, if you were really Italian you would know that a lot of Sicilians Southern Italians look significantly different from Northern Italians. Because Southern Italians have more North African, Middle Eastern, and Central Asian DNA than Northern Italians do. Northern Italians are genetically composed more of Celtic white ancestry than Southern Italians are.

          • andrew says:


            Southern Italians don’t have “Central Asian DNA” (?) but their Neolithic Farmers component is labeled as “Western Asian” by testing companies being of Anatolian origin.

          • peekaboo mewmew-ricans mutts with no race says:

            I was reffering to the ——– ——- multishaped Muricans and the others from the — —– ——— not to you specifically.
            Skin color doesn’t matter so much cause facial traits show the —- many almond shaped eyes have white skin but due to their face they’re not white like some ——– and other mixed and Arabs.
            I don’t asked you what you claimed so don’t tell it. No again not all Southerns&Southeasterns are dark of Semitic origin but only a part the natives are still very present. Central Italians are fair too and they like the Northerns don’t have non-Euro background yeah lot of S.I. are Arabs but there are the white of Euro roots like me.
            What do you mean by that from Central Asia do you mean Turkey or what else?

        • andrew says:


          I doubt 4.1% Italian (whatever the reliability of the DNA test is) is responsable for such dark features of your relatives and Clooney has no substantial French ancestry anyway.

          Some Norwegians are relatively swarthy. Google Svein Berge from Röyksopp electronic duo. I dunno anything about immigration in the polar town of Tromso, so that’s it.

          • peekaboo mewmew-ricans mutts with no race says:

            The guy seems Indian or Arab probably has recent ——— origin his face is the revealing feature whilst the Norwegian chess champion Sven Magnus øen Carlsen despite his olive skin and —– face ——- of the average “white” Muricans and not from his country is more likely Norwegian than him who’s too much exotic.

          • VikingHalfa says:

            Dude. You’re acting like I’m describing one of my uncles as if he is a black guy lol. All I said is that one of my uncles has has dark brown straight hair, dark brown eyes and naturally tan skin. But their facial features are still shaped as the typical white Northern Europeans. Also. Brown hair is native to Scandinavian countries as well. Blonde hair isn’t the only hair color that Scandinavian people produce. But guess what? That specific uncle has kids with a white and blonde Scandinavian woman (she’s half Norwegian and half Danish) and guess what? BOTH of their kids ended up having white skin. Blonde Straight hair, blue eyes, and the typical Scandinavian facial features type. SO! If my uncle “wasn’t significantly white” why did his end up looking Scandinavian? I’ll tell why! Because MOST of my uncle’s ancestry consist of white Scandinavian ancestry. Btw, my father has white skin, amber colored eyes, and dark ash blonde hair. My second uncle has white skin, green eyes eyes, and dark ash blonde hair. And my third uncle has white skin, green eyes, and light brown hair. As for my grandparents; my grandfather had white skin, green eyes, and auburn red hair. My grandmother had white skin, dark brown eyes, and straight dark brown hair. Because guess what? Siblings that are NOT twins; end up getting different amounts of of a certain amount of ethnic ancestry from certain ancestors. Because when my dad took a DNA test. His results are 92% Norwegian, 2%, Irish, 2% Scottish, 2% Swedish & Danish.

          • VikingHalfa says:

            It’s only one of my uncles and their late sister (my late aunt) that just happened to ended up inheriting the minority of Italian genes that were expressed in the way that they look/ed. While my dad and his two other brothers didn’t

  5. pookerella says:

    Unless and until Johnny goes on Mr.Henry Louis Gates’ show or decides to do an actual DNA test and shares that with us, we cannot know if he is Native American or not.
    Just because you see “Geni” or “Ancestry” sites up in the references, it does not mean that information is completely correct. They are from family trees, which were around, even on the internet, long before DNA.. This is purely historical information, gathered by his relatives, and documented through birth and death records and other written sources. We have absolutely no idea if it’s 100% accurate or not for him. Someone did a very nice job of of gathering it all, and I’m sure it’s very close, but we can never know if these are true till it’s verified by the DNA.

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