The defamation case by actor Johnny Depp against his ex-wife Amber Heard is in session. This trial will likely take weeks to conclude and live streaming cameras show every moment to the world. This legal battle was a long time coming, it seems. Depp and Heard’s relationship began over a decade ago and ended extremely badly. They separated in 2016, but in 2018, their toxic marriage returned to the limelight. Heard wrote a tell-all for The Washington Post in 2018 where she described surviving domestic abuse. She didn’t mention Depp’s name, but it seemed like she didn’t have to.
In this ongoing case, Depp is suing for $50 million in damages. He denies ever becoming physically violent with Heard. Meanwhile, Heard is countersuing for $100 million and claims she had only been violent with Depp in self-defense or to defend her younger sister. This case is all over social media, analyzing the testimonies and clips from the courtroom. However, it seems that most people have sided with Johnny Depp with the hashtag “JusticeForJohnnyDepp” trending on Twitter and TikTok.
Depp and Heard’s Relationship Timeline
Johnny Depp and Amber Heard met in 2009 while filming “The Rum Diary” together. They began dating in 2012 according to court documents presented by Heard’s legal team. Also in 2012, Depp and Vanessa Paradis ended their relationship of 14 years. They have two children together. In 2014, Heard appeared in public with an engagement ring on her finger. Depp later confirmed their engagement in interviews.
They married in a private ceremony in 2015. Soon after, they received backlash for smuggling their dogs, Boo and Pistol, into Australia. The pair released an apology video; Heard later got charged with two counts of illegally importing the dogs into Australia and one count of presenting a false document.
Then, in 2016, Heard filed for divorce and received a temporary restraining order against Depp. She claimed that Depp had thrown a phone at her, leaving bruises. In a sworn declaration, she said, “During the entirety of our relationship, Johnny Depp has been verbally and physically abusive to me. He has a short fuse. He is often paranoid and his temper is exceptionally scary for me.” She added that she was living “in fear that Johnny will return to [our house] unannounced to terrorize me, physically and emotionally.”
At the time, police did not press charges against Depp who denied attacking Heard. Additionally, a judge denied Heard’s request for Depp to attend anger management classes for a year and rejected her request for a restraining order to prevent Depp from seeing their dogs.
In 2017, their divorce became finalized.
Amber Heard’s Article on Washington Post
Then in 2018, Heard published the article that became central to the defamation lawsuit.
In it, she wrote, “I became a public figure representing domestic abuse, and I felt the full force of our culture’s wrath for women who speak out.”
She described abuse from her childhood and adulthood. Depp’s name never appeared. However, his legal team found strong similarities between the incidents in the article to her claims of abuse during their divorce.
The next year, Depp sued Heard for defamation, seeking $50 million in damages. He calls the Post article a ruse to build up positive press. He also said that she is not the victim rather the perpetrator of domestic violence.
In 2020, The Daily Mail published audio of Heard allegedly saying he hit Depp. Meanwhile, Depp claims that Heard had affairs with actor James Franco and entrepreneur Elon Musk. He also claimed that Heard was physically violent toward him, citing an incident where she put her own feces in their bed. His ex-partner, Paradis, speaks out in a statement saying Depp “is the farthest thing” from a violent individual. 
Later on, Johnny Depp sued the British newspaper “The Sun” for calling him a “wife-beater.” But in November, the judge ruled in favor of The Sun. “Domestic abuse victims must never be silenced and we thank the judge for his careful consideration and thank Amber Heard for her courage in giving evidence to the court,” the newspaper said in a statement.
That same month, Depp released a statement explaining that Warner Bros asked him to resign from his role As Grindelwald in the Fantastic Beasts series. He added that “I intend to prove that the allegations against me are false. My life and career will not be defined by this moment in time.”
In 2021, Heard countersues Depp for $100 million.
Johnny Depp’s Defamation Case
And in April 2022, the defamation trial began. So far, the case included a reading of Heard’s Post article; Heard’s team presented Depp’s drinking, drug use, and vulgar text messages where Depp talked to friends about killing and defiling his wife at the time. Meanwhile, Depp’s team argues that the alleged incidents of abuse are false and his behavior while intoxicated are exaggerated.
They presented a 2015 argument where the tip of Depp’s finger got cut off. Jurors listened to audio clips of Depp berating his wife and a clip where Heard seems to taunt him, saying he won’t be believed if he tried to tell the public she was an abuser. “Tell them, I, Johnny Depp, I’m a victim of domestic abuse … and see how many people believe or side with you,” Heard says on the recording.
The case becomes more complex as it goes on, with new evidence and testimonies being streamed to the public. Social media users recount more shocking or entertaining moments from the trial, while others suggest unproven theories. Many seem to sympathize with Johnny Dep as he quietly and calmly talks about his drug use and personal issues. For others, this case is much-needed representation of a male victim of domestic abuse. Meanwhile, others suggest Depp is benefiting from misogyny, asking what happened to “believe all women”?
However, no matter who’s side the internet is on, the case is not over. There are more testimonies and evidence to be shown. And although it seemed like most of the public has sided with Depp, the real verdict has yet to be announced.