Actor Johnny Depp describes leaving Hollywood for rural France as the best decision he ever made.

The Pirates Of The Caribbean: CURSE OF THE BLACK PEARL star turned his back on California in 1998 to move to France with his French lover VANESSA PARADIS.

The couple, who now live in a remote farmhouse in the Provence region, have two children - LILY-ROSE MELODY, four, and one-year-old JACK - and Depp insists the French lifestyle has benefited them particularly - even if it wasn't his original motive for moving.

Speaking in Venice, Italy, while promoting new movie ONCE UPON A TIME IN MEXICO, Depp says, "It's a different pace of life there. I originally said that I moved to France so I would be allowed to smoke - but it's now for the kids.

"I have a house in LA and it's nice to go there sometimes because I miss the hot-dogs, but it's all too fast-paced and the values are all to do with business.

"If we lived there full-time it wouldn't be good for the children. It's not healthy for children to be raised in the over-hyped world of Los Angeles."

29/08/2003 13:24