The high-profile defamation trial case involving actors Johnny Depp, 58, and his ex-wife Amber Heard, 36, began April 12 in Fairfax, Va.
The trial has swept the nation and is centered around a defamation lawsuit Depp filed against Heard in 2019 about an op-ed she wrote about domestic violence in 2018.
Depp says the article about the alleged physical abuse irreparably damaged his career.
The trial has put the Hollywood heavyweights’ tumultuous relationship on full display inside the courtroom in Fairfax, Virginia.
Here’s what you’ve missed so far.
The Relationship Between Amber Heard And Johnny De
Amber Heard and Johnny Depp met on the set of The Rum Diary.
They began dating in 2021 after Depp separated from his partner of 14 years, Vanessa Paradis.
Heard also broke up with her partner, Tasya van Ree.
The actors were married in early 2015 and Heard filed for divorce just 15 months later.
Depp released this public statement after the divorce:
“Given the brevity of this marriage and the most recent and tragic loss of his mother, Johnny will not respond to any of the salacious false stories, gossip, misinformation, and lies about his personal life. Hopefully the dissolution of this short marriage will be resolved quickly.”
Why Is Johnny Depp Suing Amber Heard?
So, why is Depp suing Heard?
Depp brought a $50 million defamation suit against Heard in March of 2019 after an article published by Heard was released in the Washington Post the previous December.
In the article Heard referred to herself as a “public figure representing domestic abuse” and how women in sexual assault cases were treated.
Depp was never mentioned by name.
Depp claimed he was dropped from his role in Disney’s Pirates of the Caribbean franchise just days after the article was published and insists the article caused irreversible damage to his career.
However, some allege Depp’s career was already on the rocks after the couple’s publicized breakup and the abuse allegations between them.
Why Is Amber Heard Suing Johnny Depp?
Heard’s lawyers tried to get Depp’s defamation lawsuit dismissed after losing a similar case in the U.K. case.
However, the judge refused, citing differences in U.K. and U.S. defamation laws.
The judge also pointed out that Heard was not a defendant in the case against The Sun.
This led Heard to file a $100 million countersuit against Depp.
She claimed Depp defamed her when his legal team referred to her claims as “fake” and a “sexual violence hoax.”
The trial is taking place in Fairfax, Va where Washington Post is published due to Heard’s op-ed being published in the Washington Post, so the trial ., where the newspaper is printed.
What Was In The Washington Post op-ed?
Heard’s Washington Post op-ed headline was, “I spoke up against sexual violence — and faced our culture’s wrath. That has to change.”
She discussed the public backlash she received after she “became a public figure representing domestic abuse” in 2016.
She’d go on to advocate for more support for victims of domestic violence.
Even though Depp was never mentioned by name, the events she described in the article aligned with the couples 2016 divorce.
What’s Happened In Court So Far?
Now about a month into the trial, both Heard and Depp have testified.
Both parties have gotten emotional at times sharing allegations against one another and recounting their rocky relationship.
They’ve discussed meeting on the set of 2011’s “The Rum Diary,” their initial romance, their marriage, divorce, and all the fights in between.
Depp maintained he “never struck Ms. Heard in any way, nor have I ever struck any women in my life.”
On the other side, Heard’s team argued the 2018 op-ed in the Washington Post column did nothing to damage Depp’s reputation.
They claimed the abuse accusations had already been public for two years, and Depp’s spiraling career was the result of his drinking and substance abuse.
That’s what made him an unreliable commodity to Hollywood studios.
Christian Carino was a one-time agent for both Depp and Heard.
He testified that Heard’s abuse allegations resulted in Hollywood agents and producers wiping Depp from a “Pirates of the Caribbean” sequel as Captain Jack Sparrow.
He was unable to provide any evidence for the claim.
It is understood within the industry, Carino said.
The general counsel for the American Civil Liberties Union, Terence Dougherty, told jurors there was a push and pull between Heard, her lawyers, and the ACLU.
The ACLU drafted the 2018 Washington Post op-ed piece under Heard’s name, reflecting her role as an ACLU ambassador on gender violence issues.
The ACLU worried about potential violations of a non-disclosure agreement from Depp and Heard’s 2016 divorce settlement and urged Heard’s lawyers to review the original piece.
Shannon Curry, a forensic psychologist, testified on behalf of Depp.
After a dozen hours of interviews with Heard and a review of her mental health records, she concluded that Heard suffers from both a borderline personality disorder and histrionic personality disorder.
The first witness to take the stand on Heard’s behalf, Psychologist Dawn Hughes, testified that Heard had post-traumatic stress disorder.
She also testified that Heard’s PTSD stems from the violence she suffered at the hands of Depp, including multiple acts of sexual assault.
What Was The Sun Lawsuit About?
Some of the allegations were also presented during a 16-day trial in the U.K. in the summer of 2020.
Depp sued the British tabloid, The Sun’s publisher, for libel over a headline calling him a “wife-beater.”
Heard testified in the trial and made 14 allegations of abuse against Depp.
Depp denied all accounts of physical violence, 12 allegations had been “proved to the civil standard and that The Sun’s headline was “substantially true” according to the judge.
Who Won The Johnny Depp v. Amber Heard Trial?
No one has “won” yet, and the trial is still ongoing.
The trial could last up to six weeks altogether.