Johnny Depp thanked his fans for “trusting” him throughout a difficult year while accepting an award at the 2017 People’s Choice Awards this week, in what was his first public appearance since his rancorous divorce from Amber Heard.

The 53 year old Pirates of the Caribbean star won the award for Favourite Movie Icon at the ceremony at Los Angeles’ Microsoft Theatre on Wednesday night (January 18th). Standing on the stage addressing the attendees, he made sure to acknowledge his loyal fanbase for standing by him.

Johnny DeppJohnny Depp made the speech in acceptance of his Favourite Movie Icon award this week

“I came here for one reason tonight and one reason only — I love you, too, kid, thanks. I came here for you, the people who through whatever good times or bad, you know, have stood by me, trusted me. Thank you,” a humble and grateful Depp told the crowd. “You very, very graciously invited me here once again tonight. So I appreciate that very much. You have no idea how much I appreciate it.”

Last week, Depp settled the lengthy divorce battle with Amber Heard, to whom he was married for 15 months. In May 2016, shortly after she filed for divorce, he was accused of allegedly physically and verbally abusing Heard.

More: Johnny Depp sues former business managers for $25 million

A restraining order against Depp was dropped, and a settlement was reached in August for $7 million, which Heard donated to the ACLU and Children’s Hospital Los Angeles.

Finally, on January 13th, the pair finalised their divorce. 31 year old Heard’s attorney Pierce O’Donnell said: “It is a great day. All Amber wanted was to be divorced and now she is. In the words of Gerald Ford, ‘Our long national nightmare is over’.”

“Why it is especially meaningful for me to be here in front of you is to say thank you and tell you that I truly feel the need to thank you,” Depp continued in his speech, visibly moved. “Because in all honesty we all know that none of us, especially me, would not be standing up here if it wasn't for all of you.”

Also this month, Depp announced that he was suing his former business managers for “gross misconduct” to the tune of $25 million, which he claims their actions cost him.

He is currently in Los Angeles filming LAbyrinth, a movie concerning the investigation around the murders of rappers Tupac Shakur and Notorious B.I.G.

More: Johnny Depp and Amber Heard finalise divorce