The British papers are wrong...a lot. But you have to love them for going there when you need them to. They went there with Johnny Depp the other night at the UK premiere of Dark Shadows asking him straight up about his relationship with Vanessa Paradis after months of reporting, led by PEOPLE Magazine, that the two were finished. Here’s a compilation of his responses:

"The rumors are not true. They are absolutely not true,"

"No matter what I say about this, people believe the opposite. I can't say enough about it not being over."

"There's no truth anymore. It doesn't matter what I say to you right now, it doesn't make any difference."


That sounds...emphatic, right? It doesn’t leave much, if any, room for interpretation. With Johnny finally clarifying the situation and Vanessa previously denouncing the rumours, can we drop this now? Are we done with this story?

Well... not quite.

After all, the origin of it wasn’t In Touch or Life & Style or even Star. If that were the case, this would not have escalated the way it did. Remember, the origin was PEOPLE. Ass-kissy PEOPLE. PEOPLE doesn’t take on a breakup story unless it’s approved directly from the celebrity and/or their source is super legit and locked tight. And they were so confident of it they put it ON THE COVER. It was a HUGE splashy cover.

What happened here?

I can’t see PEOPLE having the balls to go ahead with their report without the consent of Robin Baum, Johnny Depp’s longtime publicist. No way. One possibility then may be that that’s indeed where the relationship was heading at the time and Johnny was beginning his exit strategy. When Vanessa issued a denial though, it may have been a sign to his team that she wasn’t prepared to go quietly, that perhaps it would cost him. Too cynical?

How about they were indeed separated but have since worked things out? Every couple has hard seasons. You have to gut them out. Too naive?

I wonder though if there isn’t more to the whole Robin Baum connection. Rumours have been circulating for months that Johnny’s relationship with Robin was upsetting to Vanessa. A French tabloid suggested it last year, it was picked up here and there by one of the publications in North American, never really gained ground and I’ve not been able to get anything reliable from anyone to clarify either way but still, it’s a gauzy little whisper that won’t seem to die...

What if it was Robin who leaked the story to PEOPLE to force Vanessa’s hand, like an ultimate bitch battle over a man? Too conspiratorial?

There, your buffet options. Me I’m somewhere in between Too Cynical and Too Conspiratorial and the final option, in case you needed one:

PEOPLE has been getting asskicked by Us Weekly (and other outlets) all year. Lately they’ve been making some surprisingly aggressive moves to try and reassert their dominance. They Johnny Depp story could have been a miscalculation?

Here’s Johnny in London yesterday continuing to promote Dark Shadows which opens today. The reviews have not been great. Most of the people I know who saw it earlier this week were all meh. Is he even trying anymore? Does he put as much thought into these movies as he does into how much sh-t he’ll loop around his neck? Look at this. And now picture him, getting dressed, looping each neck adornment over his head, deliberately. Come on. It’s contrived. You know it’s contrived. It’s every bit as contrived as Brad Pitt and whatever style statement he’s trying to make only for some reason Brad Pitt gets slammed for it harder.