By: Miranda Connolly, Senior
Johnny Depp first met Amber Heard in 2009. They were both filming for The Rum Diary. Little did Johnny Depp and Amber Heard know that in 13 years they would be in the middle of a defamation trial being broadcasted to the entire United States. The movie was released in theaters in 2011, and a year later Johnny Depp and his partner at the time, Vanessa Paradis, split up. Johnny Depp and Amber Heard began their relationship after Depp’s break-up. Although Johnny Depp was quoted saying he never felt the need to marry Vanessa Paradis during their 14 year long relationship, three years after he and Heard began dating, they were married.
A little over a year after their marriage (2015), Amber Heard filed for divorce and had a restraining order placed against Johnny Depp. Heard claimed Depp abused her while under the influence of drugs or alcohol during their marriage, however Depp denies these allegations. In 2016 a settlement of 7 million dollars was reached in court, but only after Heard withdrew her requests for a restraining order for domestic violence and for spousal support. The divorce was finalized in 2017.
In 2018 Amber Heard wrote an opinion piece about her experiences as a “public figure representing domestic abuse” (Heard). Although Heard did not mention Johnny Depp by name, he was accused by the media of being an abuser.
In 2019, Johnny Depp sued Amber Heard for 50 million dollars; his defamation suit was over the opinion piece Amber Heard had written for The Washington Post. Johnny Depp also sued the publisher of the British paper Sun after it called him a wife-beater. The libel trial began in 2020 and lasted for three weeks. By its end, the court ruled against Johnny Depp. After this ruling, Johnny Depp was asked to resign from the movie franchise Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them.
Although there was an audio recording of Amber Heard admitting to hitting Johnny Depp during an argument, and an accusation of Heard defecating in Depp’s bed, the judge ruled that the Sun was justified in calling Depp a wife-beater. Depp was ordered to pay The Sun over 800k in legal fees, and was twice denied the right to appeal the court’s ruling.
Now Amber Heard and Johnny Depp are in the middle of a 100 million dollar libel suit that began on April 11th. Thousands of people have been following the trial, and outraged Depp fans are calling for justice, using the hashtag justiceforjohnny. Although the end result of the trial is still not clear, it seems Johnny Depp is gaining more and more support from the public, and that the truth of what happened during Heard and Depp’s relationship will finally be unraveled.
The Washington Post and Insider.com were consulted in the writing of this article.