Johnny Depp denies anti-American interview remarks. He says a German magazine took his comment that the U.S. was a ''dumb puppy'' out of context

By Gary Susman
Updated September 05, 2003 at 04:00 AM EDT

Johnny Depp does not want to be the next Natalie Maines. On Thursday, the ”Pirates of the Caribbean” star disavowed an interview in the German magazine Stern, published this week, that quotes him as calling America a ”dumb puppy” and a ”broken toy.” In a statement, he said his remarks were taken ”radically out of context,” adding, ”There was no anti-American sentiment.”

Depp, who has lived in France for five years with French singer/actress Vanessa Paradis, was quoted in Stern as saying, ”America is dumb, it’s like a dumb puppy that has big teeth that can bite and hurt you, aggressive.” Of the couple’s two children, he was quoted as saying, ”I’d like them to see America as a toy, a broken toy. Investigate it a little, check it out, get this feeling and then get out.”

In his statement on Thursday, Depp said, ”What I was saying was that, compared to Europe, America is a very young country and we are still growing as a nation. My deepest apologies to those who were offended, affected, or hurt by this insanely twisted deformation of my words and intent.”

Said the Kentucky-born actor, ”I am an American. I love my country and have great hopes for it. It is for this reason that I speak candidly and sometimes critically about it. I have benefited greatly from the freedom that exists in my country and for this I am eternally grateful.”