Up until this moment, you probably did not know that Lily-Rose Depp, the only daughter of Johnny Depp and Vanessa Pardis, is a high school dropout. The actress-model, who started her career in 2014, was on her way to college when she decided to drop everything and quit school at the young age of 16. "I think that the American school system puts a lot of pressure on kids, so if you don't go to college, then you won't be successful, or you won't have a good life or you won't realize your dreams," Lily-Rose told in 2019. "That's a really dangerous pressure to put on kids. And also a false one; there’s no truth to that."
"Everybody has their own path. And, for some people, it’s college," the actress, now 23, added. "What’s been important to me, always, but especially since I’ve left school, is to never stop learning.” Here, we discuss what led Lily-Rose to drop out of high school and what became of her afterward, plus her parents' reaction to her life-changing decision.
Lily-Rose Depp wanted to be a singer like her mother when she was younger. However, this changed when she was offered a cameo in the horror comedy film and discovered acting. Only 14 years old at the time, Lily-Rose agreed to do the part “just for fun.” But then, she ended up being cast in the spin-off film in 2016 and soon fell in love with the craft.
“,” Lily said in an interview with “That’s when I really realized: ‘Wow, I love this.’ You know when you just start doing something, you begin to feel like this is where you belong? I had never truly felt like I was in the right place before, career-wise. Now I know that this is what I want to do forever.”
It was the only nudge she needed to drop out of high school in 2016, just before she finished her senior year. Speaking with , Lily-Rose Depp, 23, said she so she can devote her time and full attention to acting. “Acting is all I want to do with my life now, and I want to work as much as possible. I realized after working on and in Paris that it was impossible for me to pursue acting as a career and still attend classes and be able to do my homework," she said.
"If I'm serious about my decision to become an actress, I don't want to waste my time writing school papers and sitting in a classroom," she added. "I want devote all my energy to acting and also be able to read, travel, and look at as many films as I can."
Both Johnny Depp and Vanessa Paradis didn't have much to say about Lily-Rose's life-changing decision to quit high school. After all, the two shared a similar story — both the Hollywood actor and French star are . "They both left school when they were 15," Lily-Rose revealed to in 2016. "So they can’t really say anything. You know what I mean?"
But besides that, Johnny and Vanessa are really supportive parents, and they have always encouraged Lily-Rose whether in her personal and professional endeavors. They also trust her to make the best decisions for herself. "If I need advice, I know I can always count on them," Lily-Rose told . "[But] they consider me mature enough to be able to use my own judgement and I'm very grateful that they have that kind of faith in me. It's important that I try to do this on my own."
Even if she had never discovered a love of acting, it is likely that Lily-Rose Depp still would've ended up leaving school to pursue an entirely different path. Speaking with , star admitted that going to a university and getting a college degree was never really her plan to begin with. "I’ve never thought of university as my goal," she said. "I’ve always just wanted to work and be independent. I didn’t have any incentive to keep doing all that work. I read a lot of books, and I research stuff myself that interests me."
Sharing her thoughts about the American school system, Lily-Rose told , "I think [it] puts a lot of pressure on kids. So if you don't go to college, then you won't be successful or you won't have a good life or you won't realize your dreams. That's a really dangerous pressure to put on kids. And also a false one; there’s no truth to that."
According to Lily-Rose, what's important for her especially since she dropped out of school was to . "I’m always learning, reading, and educating myself," she said.
And now with no other responsibilities in mind, Lily-Rose committed herself to her life's mission, which is, of course, becoming an actor. In a conversation with Kiera Knightley for Interview magazine, the actress revealed that she started seeing an acting coach to help improve her skills and dramatic performances. "I’ve started seeing a coach in New York, who’s incredible," she said. "She’s taught me a lot about working with your natural instincts and enhancing them with techniques that are really helpful and creatively fulfilling. Whenever I come out of a session with my coach, I feel like I’ve gone to therapy, because I feel so emotionally and creatively alive."
Lily-Rose Depp's decision to drop out of school proved to be worth the risk, as she went on to become quite a successful actor. One of her most popular performances includes Isadora Duncan in the 2016 period drama For her role, Lily-Rose earned a César nomination and a Lumières nod for Most Promising Actress. Aside from , Lily-Rose also starred in films such as Planetarium (2016), A Faithful Man (2018), and The King (2019). Currently, she is filming a new series under HBO, with Canadian singer-songwriter The Weeknd. The series is set against the backdrop of the music industry and is said to "explore the complicated relationship between a self-help cult leader and a pop star on the rise." Troye Sivan, Steve Zissis, and Juliebeth Gonzalez also star.
In April 2021, Lily-Rose spoke on The Drew Barrymore Show about her and what's it like being exposed to fame her whole life as the daughter of Johnny Depp and Vanessa Paradis. "[Fame is] a silly side effect of what [I] really love doing," said the actress. "[I] just really, really love [my job]. [I'm] really passionate about it and feel really grateful and privileged that [I'm] able to... wake up and do things that [I] love to do."
She added that fame comes with a lot of things that do not really interest her. "What's interesting to me is beautiful storytelling and complex characters and things like that. That's the only interesting part of it for me."
As an actor still trying to carve her own path in the industry, Lily-Rose admitted that it scares her being judged by the public all because of her last name. "Of course. Those fears are—not fears, but those thoughts are totally normal. In those moments, I’ve had to remind myself that we’re all different people. I’m not the same kind of actor as my dad or my mom, and I’m very much my own person," she said.
According to Lily-Rose, being the daughter of superstar parents doesn't mean that she has to live in their shadow forever, and that she can't become her own person. "Whenever I’ve had those moments, I’ve just had to think, like, obviously you’re an extension of your family in that they are so much a part of who you are, but that doesn’t mean you can’t become your own artist, or that your own art isn’t valuable on its own," she said.