Johnny Depp declares he is 'on the verge of a new life' ...
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Renowned actor Johnny Depp was just granted a state honour in Serbia - for his role in the animated series Puffins Impossible.

On Tuesday, he was awarded the Gold Medal of Merit by Serbian President Aleksandar Vučić for his "outstanding merits in public and cultural activities, especially in the field of film art and the promotion of the Republic of Serbia in the world".

"I truly sincerely thank you. President Vučić - and this medal of merit, if I am given the honour to walk away with this, I thank you for being kind enough to bestow it upon me. I'm right now on the verge of a new life and I like it. I like a re-beginning, And I would love for that beginning to start here," Depp said in his speech.

The Pirates of the Caribbean star faced obstacles in his career after he was accused of domestic violence by his ex-wife Amber Heard. He also lost a case at London's High Court after he sued The Sun for calling him a "wife-beater".

Last year, he ended up winning a $50m defamation suit against Heard in the US.

In October 2021, Depp was greeted by Vučić as he promoted the Puffins Impossible film, a cartoon created by the Serbian studio Archangel Digital Studios.

He voices the character Johnny Puff.

President Vučić, an autocratic ruler, became well-known for his controversial crackdowns on protesters and the local media. He even spoke out about his disappointment in the decision made by Australia to deport tennis star Novak Djokovic over his lack of vaccination.

In 2019, Depp spent some time in Serbia for the film Minamata, in which he portrayed an American photographer who documented what effects mercury poisoning had on people in Minamata, Japan.

Depp is not the only Hollywood star to have a bond with Serbia.

Actor and martial artist Steven Seagal gained Serbian citizenship in 2016 and promised to create a martial arts school in the country.

And in one of his visits, he trained the Serbian special police force in Aikido, a modern Japanese martial art he's performed himself in films.

Seagal is also a Russian citizen and has enjoyed watching Judo matches with President Vladimir Putin. In 2021, he joined a pro-Kremlin party.

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