Inside the stormy lives of the Pirates of the Caribbean’s FIRST film

It’s been 20 years since the first Pirates of the Caribbean movie premiered, sky-rocketing Johnny Depp‘s Captain Jack Sparrow to cult status, cementing Orlando Bloom’s status as a Hollywood heartthrob, and turning Keira Knightley into a global superstar.

Since then the franchise has expanded to five movies, with a sixth film currently in development, providing plenty of swashbuckling excitement for viewers over the years.

But while the Disney film series has continued to captivate audiences, behind the scenes, its cast have been through their own fair share of personal dramas since the first installment, The Curse of the Black Pearl, first premiered two decades ago. \

The first movie – which grossed $654 million worldwide – follows the flamboyant protagonist and Bloom’s Will Turner as they rescue the kidnapped Elizabeth Swann (played by Knightley) from the crew of the Black Pearl.

The ship is captained by Geoffrey Rush’s character Hector Barbossa.

Time flies: Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl is officially 20 years old

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Time flies: Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl is officially 20 years old

Main cast: The 2003 movie stars Keira Knightley as Elizabeth Swann and Johnny Depp as Captain Jack Sparrow

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Main cast: The 2003 movie stars Keira Knightley as Elizabeth Swann and Johnny Depp as Captain Jack Sparrow

Onscreen: Johnny stars alongside Orlando Bloom who plays the role of Will Turner

Barbossa’s crew attempts to retrieve the final pieces of a hoard of Aztec gold to break the curse laid on them when they stole it.

The film also stars Jack Davenport, Zoe Saldana, Jonathan Pryce, and Kevin McNally.

The Curse of the Black Pearl’s sequel, Dead Man’s Chest, was released in July 2006 and was closely followed by the third movie, At World’s End, which hit cinemas in May 2007.

Four years later saw the release of On Stranger Tides, and the fifth movie Dead Men Tell No Tales grossed a worldwide total of $795 million when it came out in May 2017.

While all four of the main stars appear in the entire franchise, including cameos, life has certainly been full of ups and downs for them.

From Depp’s highly-publicized defamation trial, as well as his drinking and drug woes, to a very raunchy internet-breaking moment for Bloom, it certainly hasn’t been a boring couple of decades.

While Knightley’s career bloomed and she became a mother, the actress also got real about her mental health and showed her support for the #MeToo movement, whereas Rush found himself in an Australian court and fighting to save his reputation.

For better or for worse, here is what has happened to the stars of The Curse of the Black Pearl 20 years after the film’s release.

Johnny Depp split from long-term love, married Amber Heard and ended up embroiled in defamation trial after claims of abuse

Johnny Depp has swashbuckling protagonist Captain Jack Sparrow

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Sixty-year-old Depp on stage at a music festival in France in June

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Perfect pirate: Johnny (right at a music festival in June) as Captain Jack Sparrow (left)

Depp, 60, was already a well-established star when he first stepped into the boots of Captain Jack Sparrow, but no one could have predicted the scandal that awaited him.

The Hollywood actor was not short of film roles around the time of the movie’s release, as he also starred in Once Upon A Time In Mexico that same year, as well as four films in 2004.

Shortly after the release of Tim Burton’s 2012 Dark Shadows, in which Depp played vampire Barnabas Collins, it was revealed that he had split from his long-term love,  Vanessa Paradis.

The couple had been together since 1998 and share two children, daughter Lily-Rose and son Jack, but sadly their romance wasn’t meant to be.

Following the end of his relationship with Paradis, Depp began dating actress Amber Heard, with whom he had co-starred in The Rum Diary with in 2011.

The couple married in a civil ceremony in February 2015, but just over a year later, Heard filed for divorce in May 2016.

She also obtained a temporary restraining order against the father of two, and alleged in her court declaration that he had been verbally and physically abusive throughout their relationship, usually while under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

Depp denied these claims and alleged that she was ‘attempting to secure a premature financial resolution.’

Long-term love: The Edward Scissorhands actor split from Vanessa Paradis in June 2012

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Long-term love: The Edward Scissorhands actor split from Vanessa Paradis in June 2012

Former couple: Depp married actress Amber Heard in a civil ceremony in February 2015

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Former couple: Depp married actress Amber Heard in a civil ceremony in February 2015

A settlement was reached in August 2016, and the divorce was finalized in January 2017, but that wasn’t the end of their split drama.

In December 2018, The Washington Post published an op-ed piece written by Heard, in which she claimed she had been abused.

In February 2019, Depp made the decision to sue his ex-wife for defamation and alleged that he had been the one who was abused by Heard and that her allegations constituted a hoax against him, and that as a consequence, Disney had declined to cast him in future projects.

Heard countersued Depp in August 2020 and alleged that he had coordinated ‘a harassment campaign via Twitter and [by] orchestrating online petitions in an effort to get her fired from Aquaman and L’Oreal.’

The trial began in Fairfax County, Virginia on April 11, 2022, and lasted seven weeks.

On June 1, 2022, the jury returned a verdict after 13 hours of deliberation.

In their verdict, the jury found that all three statements from Heard’s op-ed were false, defamed Depp, and were made with actual malice.

In court: Depp made the decision to sue his ex-wife for defamation after she wrote an op-ed piece for The Washington Post in 2018

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In court: Depp made the decision to sue his ex-wife for defamation after she wrote an op-ed piece for The Washington Post in 2018

Battling it out: Heard countersued Depp and the trial went to court in April 2022

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Battling it out: Heard countersued Depp and the trial went to court in April 2022

Back at it: Depp made somewhat of a return to the spotlight when he attended the 76th annual Cannes film festival in May

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