Johnny Depp did not “boil his brain,” leading to permanent damage in a 1,000-degree sauna, despite reports. Gossip Cop can bust this untrue claim. For starters, the maximum heat achieved in a sauna is approximately one-quarter of that. While Depp has talked over the years about sitting in saunas to get his creative juices flowing, he hasn’t caused harm to his brain from it.
Recently, Depp spoke about having “cranked the sauna up to about 1,000 degrees,” but he was clearly joking about the temperature. On Wednesday, however, RadarOnline used Depp’s lighthearted exaggerating to fabricate its claim about him possibly injuring his brain cells as a result. The site alleged Depp’s sometimes “bizarre behavior” and potential “brain damage” could be traced back to him having “boiled his brain” in a super hot sauna. Curiously, though, the blog never mentioned where Depp’s quotations came from about sitting in a 1,000 degree sauna.
Gossip Cop, however, looked into it and the unattributed comments in the RadarOnline article actually came from an interview Depp gave in October in Zurich’s FilmPodium. If one watches the talk, which touched on his characters, collaborations with Tim Bruton and other topics (linked above), it’s clear Depp was joking when he told the crowd how sitting in the hot sauna “affect[ed] me mentally” as he tried to figure out how to portray Jack Sparrow. Depp shared with the audience how he felt Sparrow’s “brain has been part-boiled to some degree,” not his own as the website falsely suggested.
And far from having personally “boiled” his brain, one can see from how Depp addressed the audience in Zurich, he was clear-minded and simply being engaging and funny. Still, a result of the outlet’s claim, Gossip Cop investigated and found out that saunas are good for one’s brain. A 2016 study showed how saunas could actually reduce in a dramatic manner the risk of Alzheimer’s and various forms of dementia. Additionally, Depp’s longtime rep felt the site’s premise about the actor having brain damage from using saunas was “absurd.”
And it is absurd, because it’s impossible to turn up a sauna to 1,000 degrees. While researching this report, which bizarrely got picked up by other outlets without any fact-checking, Gossip Cop learned that while it’s possible to get a bit warmer, virtually no saunas exceed much more than 230 degrees.
Our attention was also drawn to article in 2010 about the previously annual World Sauna Championships in Finland. Eight years ago, a Russian finalist and former third-place finisher named Vladimir Ladyzhensky died after being in a sauna for just six minutes at 230 degrees during that competition. His Finnish opponent, Timo Kaukonen, who was the defending champion, was rushed to a hospital with severe burns from enduring the same temperature during that same brief contest.
Depp’s fondness for saunas, and why he uses them when trying to figure out characters, is not new information. As far back as 2004, Depp said he perfected his Jack Sparrow character while in the sauna. His off-the-cuff remark in Zurich about “1,000 degrees,” however, was nothing more than hyperbole and him kidding around. Depp also explained in a 2011 interview with The Mirror he likes saunas because the “solitude allows you moments of creativity.” “I was by myself in the sauna, 200 degrees, sweating and cooking myself and that’s where Captain Jack and Willy Wonka were born,” he added.
To recap: The website took Depp’s joke about turning up his sauna to “1,000 degrees,” which is impossible, and used it to concoct a narrative about how he’s damaged his brain, which explains the actor’s “bizarre behavior.” The reality is, while Depp has been eccentric since well before his Jack Sparrow days, the actor was extremely coherent last month in Switzerland when he regaled an audience about sitting in a sauna to create his pirate character. He said he felt Sparrow’s brain was “boiled to some degree,” not his own.
Gossip Cop has determined this story is totally false.