The Finding Neverland star invited the interviewer to tag along on a trip to his island – yes, he owns a private Caribbean island – where he gives a glimpse into the quiet life he shares there with friends and family.
For Johnny, 45, Little Hall’s Pond Cay is “my decompression. It’s my way of trying to return to normalcy…. Escapism is survival to me.”
The island is the perfect escape for Johnny, his girlfriend Vanessa Paradis and their kids Lily Rose, 10, and Jack, 7.
“I don’t think I’d ever seen any place so pure and beautiful. You can feel your pulse rate drop about 20 beats. It’s instant freedom. And that rare beast–simplicity–can be had. And a little morsel of anonymity…. Whenever I was getting frustrated about being ‘novelty boy’ and making movies, I told myself, Calm down. I can come down here and disappear. I spent the Christmas season here with Vanessa and the kids. You can feed hot dogs to the nurse sharks in the Exumas–but it’s best to not swim when doing it.”
The island’s beaches are named after those who’ve had a profound impact on the actor’s life: Vanessa, Lily Rose , Jack, his mentors Hunter S Thompson and Marlon Brando. There’s also a spot called “Heath’s Place,” named after the late Heath Ledger.
Johnny says he looks forward to his kids, and even his grandkids, “growing up on the island.”
“It’s like a rare gem, a diamond. I look forward to my kids growing up on the island, spending months out of the year here … learning about sea life and how to protect sea life … and their kids growing up here, and so on…. Theoretically, this place can add years to your life.”
The issue of Vanity Fair hits newsstands June 9.