2016 was a rough year for actor Johnny Depp. He had to deal with public accusations of abuse and a messy, public divorce stuck in litigation for some time. All of this came to a head on Wednesday night at the People's Choice Awards, where Depp gave an emotional speech while receiving an award.

The award

In the "Movie Icon" category, Depp went up against some other hard-hitting actors with illustrious careers, an almost impossible choice. Denzel Washington, Samuel L. Jackson, Tom Cruise, and Tom Hanks were all nominated for the award and it wouldn't have been surprising to see the People's Choice Award go to any of them.

Instead, it went to the "Alice in Wonderland" actor, who looked satisfied and self-assured as he strode up to the mic to make his speech and accept the award from actress Jada Pinkett Smith.

When he reached the stage, however, Depp became much more reserved and fragile than people are used to seeing him, making it one of the more shocking moments of the People's Choice Awards. In his speech, the actor discussed how grateful he was to the fans who stuck by him and how much their support meant to him. He avoided discussing his personal business in explicit terms, but the notion of it was littered throughout his time at the mic -- it was a surprisingly emotional scene.

Turning the page on the year

Depp sank to an unimaginable low in 2016, impacted by his divorce from Amber Heard. The filing of papers followed extremely serious allegations of domestic abuse on the part of Depp toward his now ex-wife, which the actor denied.

Eventually, the two settled their differences and money exchanged hands, with the divorce becoming final just a week before the People's Choice Awards.

Perhaps his speech on Wednesday will mark the beginning of a new chapter. Depp is making music he loves with Hollywood Vampires. His cameo in "Fantastic Beasts" is set to turn into a leading role in the franchise, while he's also starring in the first "Pirates of the Caribbean" film in six years. There's nowhere for him to go, but up.