Johnny Depp caught a lot of flack for portraying the Native American character Tonto in the 2012 movie The Lone Ranger. Critics said it was inappropriate for the actor to play a Native character when that wasn’t his race. Turns out, Depp was adopted by a Comanche family, which makes his casting more fitting than previously thought.
Depp has made clear he considers himself part Native American. “I guess I have some Native American (in me) somewhere down the line,” Depp told Entertainment Weekly in a 2011 interview. “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.”
The president and founder of Americans for Indian Opportunity, LaDonna Harris, heard of Depp’s ancestry and decided to reach out. “I had read about him and his Native American heritage, so I said to my children around Mother’s Day, ‘Why don’t we adopt him?'” Harris recalled while speaking with the Chicago Tribune. She contacted a cousin, who worked on set with Depp as a cultural advisor, and asked to get in touch with the Pirates Of The Caribbean star.
Harris met Depp in her Albuquerque, New Mexico home. “He was adopted into my family,” Harris said. “The [Comanche Nation] chairman then recognized that adoption which made him an honorary member of the Comanche Nation tribe.” The Comanche Nation tribe is known to be one of the most inclusive Native American tribes in North America. They’ve adopted people of various ethnicities into their ranks for years.
The adoption took place when Depp was already 48 years old. It didn’t just give the movie star an honorary membership to the Comanche Nation, it also gave him a new name. Depp’s new name is pronounced, “Mah Woo May,” which translates to “shapeshifter” in Comanche. This may have been a nod to Depp’s career as a chameleon-like actor.
None of this has stopped Depp’s name from popping up in the tabloids almost non-stop since his contentious 2017 divorce from actress Amber Heard. His name has been romantically linked to a number of A-list actresses since then. Women’s Day reported in October 2019 that Michelle Pfeiffer set Angelina Jolie up on a date with Depp. Gossip Cop investigated the rumor and proved it false. We checked in with Jolie’s people who confirmed the star was focused on her career and children.
Months earlier, Women’s Day had pushed the rumor that Jennifer Aniston dumped Leonardo DiCaprio for Depp. Gossip Cop pointed out that not only was Aniston not dumping DiCaprio, they’d never been together in the first place. The story was bunk from the beginning. Seems like these tabloids should have better things to do than make up stories about Depp’s love life.