Depp v. Heard: An overview

Veronica Langrehr, Editor

    The media has swarmed the courtrooms since April 11, 2022 when famous actor, Johnny Depp and actress Amber Heard sued each other. The two got married in 2015 and later filed for divorce in 2016 and finalized it in 2017. The relationship was said to be “toxic” and each party is claiming the other is a perpetrator of domestic abuse. 

    Depp, most famously known for his roles in Pirates of the Caribbean, Fantastic Beasts and many more, sued Heard for defamation after her 2018 piece in the Washington Post about being a victim of domestic abuse. She does not directly name Depp, however, because of their recent split, it is assumed to be indirectly referencing him. Because of the allegations Depp was dropped from Pirates of the Caribbean and other franchises, his name was severely damaged. 

    “[I lost] Nothing less than everything,” Depp said.

    In 2019 Depp sued for $50 million on grounds of defamation and claims that Heard is not a victim of abuse but the perpetrator. Heard then countersued for $100 million and claimed she was only violent in self-defense. 

    In 2020 the case made major news, audios were released by the newspaper The Daily Mail of Heard saying she hit Depp. This causes many people to reevaluate the case. During this period, investigators were also taking statements from people including Depps’ ex-partner from 1998-2012, Vanessa Paradis, she says he is “the farthest thing” from a violent person. 

     Jumping to 2022, the trial commences in April and the jury hears testimonies from both sides. This trial is expected to take six weeks and is taking place in Fairfax County, Virginia. 

    The defense is claiming Heard is safe under free speech and used this in their opening statement. The prosecution summoned the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) and psychologist Shannon Curry to take the stand. The LAPD states when they arrived at the couples apartment when Heard called about violence there was no sign of that or property damage. Additionally, Curry explained Heard displays signs of histrionic and borderline personality disorders. 

    The trial is also being subjected to massive media coverage, this publicity and the status of both Depp and Heard is playing a significant part. Major companies are also becoming involved, makeup company Milani Cosmetics recently made a TikTok against Heard after their product was used as evidence in the trial. Heards’ attorney claimed she carried a color correcting palette with her everyday during her relationship with Depp to “hide bruises”. However Milanis’ video stated the product they showed was not released until 2017, after their divorce. This directly contradicts the defense and social media has rapidly shared this. 

     “The entire case is really about Heard’s credibility, if she is going to lie about something easily verifiable, you have to ask yourself – what else is she lying about?” stated journalist and author Cooper Lawrence in regards to Heard not fulfilling her word to donate $3.5 million to the American Civil Liberty Union. 

   

Depp took the stand for four days, being questioned about his past and relationship with Heard. (Photo from cbs19news.com)

The trial is being watched by millions live everyday, and it is uncertain which way the jury will sway.