Those Johnny Depp and Jenna Ortega Dating Rumors, Explained

Online rumors that Ortega was dating Depp seem to be completely false, and Ortega wasn't very happy to have to dispel them.

A rumor that actress Jenna Ortega was dating Johnny Depp went viral this fall – so much so that Ortega had to contradict the stories herself. The 20-year-old actress posted on her Instagram Story saying that she was not dating 60-year-old Depp, and she was disheartened that so many people believed the rumor in the first place. She asked fans to give more thought before re-posting gossip, and she seemed to condemn accounts like Deux Moi all together.

"This is so ridiculous. I can't even laugh," Ortega wrote in her post back in September. "I have never met or worked with Johnny Depp in my life. Please stop spreading lies and leave us alone." The rumor seems to have started with a post by the social media account Deux Moi, which had no citation or sources. The anonymous gossip account does not claim to be a reliable news story, but this fiasco led some of Ortega's fans to question its methods all over again. 

Deux Moi is an anonymous account that has grown to an audience of about 2 million over the last few years. They post some real celebrity news confirmed by journalists, but also lots of anonymous or fan-sourced submissions. The account does not claim to be a news source itself. Their bio reads: "Some statements made on this account have not been independently confirmed. This account does not claim information published is based in fact." Many critics see Deux Moi as an emblem of how much the line between reporting and speculation has blurred in the age of corporate social media.

News outlets seemed to help give credibility to the false rumors about Ortega and Depp at first. A report by The Daily Mail pointed out that Ortega works on the Netflix original series Wednesday with filmmaker Tim Burton, who is known for collaborating with Depp often. There are even rumors that Depp will appear in Burton's upcoming sequel to Beetlejuice, while Ortega has been confirmed to be in the cast. If anything, this whole debacle seems to cast doubt on the rumors that Depp will be in the movie since Ortega wrote that she has never met him to this point.

Meanwhile, Depp currently looms large on Netflix in the docu-series Depp v. Heard, which breaks down his infamous lawsuit against his ex-wife Amber Heard and the social media fallout that followed. The movie emphasizes the role of social media mob mentality in that case, and Ortega has a well-documented mistrust of social media on that level.

"I want people to be able to get to know the people behind the camera and realize that people should never be put on a pedestal," she said in a Variety "Actors on Actors" segment. "And the more I've been exposed to the world, people prey on that and take advantage of that. They see your vulnerability and twist it in a way that you don't always expect... I don't want to feel gross. I would rather people see me cry and do whatever than be something I'm not."

"Social media, what it does to anyone our age, it's such a comparing game," she said. "It influences bandwagon mentality. It's very manipulative. After the show, I'm really nervous to post or even say anything on there or even be myself."