Speaking with Charlie Rose on CBS This Morning Monday, Depp said honesty guided the family in handling the breakup.
"When you have children, there is no room for lies, no room for anything but the truth. Anything other than that is a bad example, I believe," said Depp, father of Jack, 11, and Lily-Rose, 14.
"We were just very truthful with them and they were just incredibly understanding, incredibly accepting. I was extremely proud of them, the way they dealt with it."
Depp, who plays sidekick Tonto to leading man Armie Hammer in the new film adaption of The Lone Ranger, opening July 3, said he's also grown more comfortable as he ages, noting that playing a No. 2-role suits him just fine.
"I would rather be a Keith than a Mick," Depp, a musician who has played in bands, said of the Rolling Stones' hierarchy of Richards and Jagger.
He is also fine with aging, saying his 50th birthday June 9 opened the door for more freedom in his life.
"I suppose the only thing at 50 you can really start to look forward to is just total irresponsibility," he joked about aging. "As you get older you can just sit in a chair, wear anything you want, you know you can walk down; old people dress cool. You know they wear sweatpants. The elderly have it down."
It will be sometime, however before he can shirk parenting duties and let himself go. He said his children have made him grow up and have forced him to stay responsible just a bit longer as they grow up.
"You know you start getting hit with some very interesting situations in life, you as a parent when they approach that teenage area, which is frightening because you still have memories of that age and the things you were doing at that age…. Please don't do what I did."