It's one of the first times he's been seen in public since his court case.
Trigger warning: discusses themes of abuse
While one standout moment of the evening was Lizzo's iconic nod to recent fat-shaming in her acceptance speech, another came int he form of Johnny Depp in an astronaut suit. Yep, you read that right.
The surprise appearence came just after Lizzo opened the ceremony and was, shall we say, short but sweet.
The 59-year-old had his face projected onto the body of a floating astronaut, in a nod to the award shows Moonman-shaped trophy.
In the projection, he looked to be suspended from the ceiling while saying: "I just want you guys to know I’m available for birthdays, bat mitzvahs, weddings, wakes – any old thing you need."
He went on to add: "You know what? I needed the work," as the crowd laughed and applauded.
It was one of his very first public appearences since his and ex-wife Amber Heard's high-profile court case earlier this year.
At the time, the jury ruled in Depp's favour, concluding that Amber Heard's Washington Post article did indeed defame him when she called herself "a publi figure representing domestic abuse."
Many quickly took to Twitter to criticise MTV for their decision to feature the star, as a prior court case ruled in Heard's favour. One said: “Honestly f[**]k the VMA’s for including Johnny Depp. the entire crowd of Amber’s industry peers are cheering for her abuser. it makes me sick. the industry hasn’t changed at all. not surprised, but still so disappointed.”
Another said: “But it was defamation when amber said institutions protect men accused of abuse..he’s literally been found guilty of 12 counts of domestic abuse and he’s getting celebrated by the most powerful ppl in the entertainment industry for everyone to see."
It's a topic that's dividied opinion over the past year, with many sharing different opinions on which side to take.
One thing's for sure - it divided the audience on Sunday. What do you think? Should Johnny have appeared?
If you yourself are a victim of emotional or domestic violence, The Freephone National Domestic Abuse Helpline by Refuge is set up to help. Contact them on 0808 2000 247.
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Ally Head is Marie Claire UK's Health, Sustainability, and Relationships Editor, eight-time marathoner, and Boston Qualifying runner. Day-to-day, she works across site strategy, features, and e-commerce, reporting on the latest health updates, writing the must-read health and wellness content, and rounding up the genuinely sustainable and squat-proof gym leggings worth *adding to basket*. She regularly hosts panels and presents for things like the MC Sustainability Awards, has an Optimum Nutrition qualification, and saw nine million total impressions on the January 2023 Wellness Issue she oversaw, with health page views up 98% year on year, too. Follow Ally on Instagram for more or get in touch.
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