Who Is Vanessa Paradis?
Vanessa Paradis released her first single, "Joe le Taxi," in 1987, and the song became a No. 1 hit in France. Soon after she began her singing career, she crossed over into acting, making her debut in Noce Blanche at age 17. After several more successful albums and films, establishing Paradis’s status as French superstar, she started modeling (again) and had two children with actor Johnny Depp.
Vanessa Chantal Paradis was born on December 22, 1972, in Saint-Maur-des-Fosses, France, to interior designers Andre and Corrine. Paradis enjoyed singing from an early age. Her career began to develop when she was eight years old, after her uncle, record producer Didier Pain, used his connections to get his nice on the popular French TV show L'Ecole Des Fans (The School of Fans). The program gave children the opportunity to perform their own renditions of popular songs on a a television talent show. Paradis sang a song from the musical Emilie Jolie by Philippe Chatel, who was the special guest on the program.
At the age of 13, Vanessa Paradis recorded her first single, "La Magie Des Surprises-Parties" ("The Magic of Surprise Parties"). But her career didn't take off until the age of 16, when she released her first single "Joe le Taxi" (1987). The song became a No. 1 hit in France, and a year later she launched her debut album, M&J (1988). The album, featuring her popular single "Joe le Taxi," peaked at No. 13 on the French Album Chart, making Paradis an overnight sensation.
Soon after she began her singing career, Paradis crossed over into acting. She made her debut in the film Noce blanche (White Wedding) in 1989 at the age of 17. In the film, Paradis played a teenage drug addict who has a love affair with her older professor. Her performance earned her a Cesar, France's most prestigious acting award.
Her next album, Variations Sur Le Mme T'aime (1990) (Variations on the Same Theme) featured a remake of the Lou Reed hit "Walk on the Wild Side" and was produced with the help of French actor and producer Serge Gainsbourg. The new record was an even greater success, ranking No. 6 on the French charts and receiving high praise from critics. This same year, Vanessa's nymphish looks attracted the attention of the Chanel fashion and cosmetics company. The talented actress and singer became the face of Chanel's perfume line, Coco, in 1991.
When Vanessa turned 20, she released her first English album, the self-titled Vanessa Paradis. Her boyfriend at the time, American musician Lenny Kravitz, helped Paradis write and produce the album. Critics lauded the record as Paradis' greatest achievement to date, and fans agreed. Vanessa Paradis landed at No. 1 on the French music charts, and the single "Be My Baby" made it into the Top 40 in the U.K., Sweden and Austria.
After the success of her third recording, Paradis launched a European tour. She played more than 70 concerts, and released the album Vanessa Paradis Live (1994) before returning to France to star in the drama Elisa (1995) opposite Gerard Depardieu. Once again, Paradis' performance garnered rave reviews from critics, and propelled the starlet firmly into the ranks of A-list actors. After the success of this film, Paradis devoted herself almost entirely to acting.
Paradis, known for her dark, dramatic roles, surprised audiences with her next film choice: the romantic comedy Un Amour de Sorciere (1997) (Witch Way Love). She followed up her performance with the action comedy Une Chance Sux Deux (1998). That same year, Paradis met American actor Johnny Depp while he was in France filming his new movie The Ninth Gate (1999). They instantly hit it off, and by the end of the year the couple announced that they were expecting their first child.
Marriage, Family and New Projects
In 1999 Paradis managed to balance pregnancy and a new film project. She played a woman on the edge of death in the movie La Fille du Pont (Girl on the Bridge), which became an arthouse classic in both France and the U.S. That same year, on May 27, 1999, Paradis gave birth to daughter Lily-Rose Melody Depp.
Inspired by her foray into family life, Paradis created the 2000 album, Bliss. Companion Johnny Depp played guitar on several of the tracks, and the voice of Lily Rose was also featured on the album. Bliss was an instant hit and, following the success of her past album, also hit No. 1 on the French charts. She released her second live album, Au Zenith, in 2001. The next year, in April of 2002, she and Depp welcomed son, John Christopher "Jack" Depp III.
Paradis continued to act, model, and sing, appearing in the film Mon Ange (2004), while also promoting Chanel's new line of handbags, Ligne Cambon, and working on a new album.
In 2007, she stepped back into the spotlight with her long-awaited album Divinidylle, which earned the multi-talented Paradis two Les Victoires de la Musique awards and resulted in a successful music tour to promote the album. That same year she also appeared in the film La clef (2007). In 2008, she became the new face of fashion line Miu Miu in 2008, shortly after the company released Kirsten Dunst from the campaign.
After lending her voice to the animated Un monstre à Paris (2010) Paradis continued to appear in an array of films. Additionally, she released her sixth studio album in 2013, the double LP Love Songs.
After nearly 14 years together Paradis and Depp split in 2012. In June 2018, it was reported that she had skipped the Paris premiere of her new movie, A Knife in the Heart, to tend to her 16-year-old son Jack's "serious health problems."
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