Johnny Depp Appears as Moonperson at 2022 VMAs

Johnny Depp made a surprise appearance at the 2022 MTV VMAs Sunday night, nearly three months after the verdict in his defamation trial with ex-wife Amber Heard.

The actor, 59, appeared in a brief cameo towards the beginning of the show, with his face digitally superimposed into the helmet of a floating moon person.

“And you know what? I needed the work,” Depp told the crowd at the Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey. He appeared again as the show came back from commercial, quipping, “Hey VMAs, let’s get back to the f—ing music, shall we?”

Johnny Depp.

Check out PEOPLE’s full VMAs coverage to get the latest news on one of music’s biggest nights.

The appearance comes months after a seven-person jury sided mostly with the actor, finding that Heard defamed Depp in her 2018 Washington Post op-ed about domestic violence, although she did not mention him by name. He was awarded more than $10 million in damages. Heard, meanwhile, won one of her three defamation countersuit claims and was awarded $2 million.

Judge Penney Azcarate denied Heard’s request for a mistrial, and after Heard officially appealed the verdict, Depp’s legal team announced that they would also be appealing her countersuit verdict.

Earlier in August, Depp’s upcoming return to acting was revealed when WhyNotProductions and France Télévisions shared the first look at his character King Louis XV in the period drama Jeanne du Barry. The film is directed by French director Maïwenn, who will also star. Filming for the production began last month in multiple locations in France, including Versailles and Paris.

The film follows the story of the King of France’s last royal mistress Jeanne du Barry, who was born into poverty but managed to climb the social ladder using her intelligence to become Louis XV’s favorite companion, per Deadline.

Check out PEOPLE’s full VMAs coverage to get the latest news on one of music’s biggest nights.

Depp is also stepping behind the camera for the first time in over two decades as director of the upcoming film Modigliani.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, the actor will direct a film about Italian artist Amedeo Modigliani, co-produced by Al Pacino and Barry Navidi. This is the second time Depp has been in the role of director for a feature film: He made his directorial debut with 1997’s The Bravewhich he also starred alongside Marlon Brando.

Following the June 1 outcome of the defamation trial, Depp said in a statement that the jury “gave me my life back” and the “best is yet to come” for him. Heard, meanwhile, called it a “setback” for women who spoke out.

The 2022 VMAs are airing live Sunday night from the Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey.

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