Best known in the U.S. as Johnny Depp's significant other (and mother of his child), the gorgeous, toothy singer/actress Vanessa Paradis has actually been on the European radar since she was seven years of age, when she appeared on a French TV talent show (courtesy of her uncle, a record producer) and sang "Emilie Jolie." Born in the Paris suburb of St. Maur, Paradis grew up to become an international sensation as a pop singer and actress, particularly in France, where she has a success level akin to that of Madonna or Cher in the United States.
In 1986, at a mere 14 years of age, Paradis had her first big hit in Europe when composer Franck Langloff and lyricist Etienne Roda-Gil wrote a song for her entitled "Joe Le Taxi." The following year, she released her first album, M & J, which played to great success and broadened her exposure overseas. She went on to appear in her first film, Noce Blanche, in 1989, and her second album, Variations Sur le Meme T'aime was released the following year.
In 1991, Paradis signed a lucrative contract with Chanel to be the spokesperson for Coco, their latest endeavor. The ads for the fragrance famously modeled the singer after a bird in a cage, with photography by Jean-Paul Goude. Paradis followed this modeling stint with a third album, on which she collaborated with rock singer Lenny Kravitz, who boosted her image stateside.
Paradis continued to impress movie audiences with her turn opposite Gérard Depardieu in the 1995 film Elisa, but it wasn't until 1999's La Fille Sur le Pont, a dreamy black-and-white romance directed by Patrice Leconte, that she achieved worldwide status as an emerging actress. Playing the object of affection of acclaimed French actor Daniel Auteuil, Paradis earned rave reviews and a place in the hearts of smitten men all over the world