Amber Heard And Johnny Depp: Their Legal Battle Explained

If there is one celebrity who has undergone a stressful time during the pandemic, it would have to be Pirates of the Caribbean actor, Johnny Depp. Indeed, the man who portrays the very popular character of Jack Sparrow, and has acted in countless amount of successful movies, as well as growing a loving fanbase, is now legally bound to accept the label of “wife-beater”.

To understand how the 57-year-old 1990s heartthrob got himself into this pretty nasty situation, one must go back to 2009, when Johnny Depp met his future ex-wife and court “buddy” – or should we say nemesis; Amber Heard.

Both actors met on set while filming The Rum Diary, an American comedy-drama based off of Hunter S. Thompson’s book of the same name, where Johnny Depp played the role of  Paul Kemp, a journalist and Amber Heard his love interest – Chenault, a woman engaged to another man.

Following the movie’s premiere in 2011, Amber Heard and Johnny Depp began their promotion tour, thus continuously spending time together and eventually openly dating in 2012, following Johnny Depp’s public divorce to French-singer Vanessa Paradis, consequently ending a 14-year-old marriage.

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Fast-forward to two years later, when it was reported that Johnny Depp was engaged to Amber Heard. The actress had been spotted with an engagement ring before marrying the father-of-two divorcee in a private ceremony in 2015.

Nevertheless, their marriage ended a year later. Before filing for divorce, Amber Heard alluded to some problems in her relationship with Johnny Depp when she said in an interview for Marie Claire: “I try not to react to the horrible misrepresentation of our lives, but it is strange and hard.”

It pretty much went all downhill from there, with the Aquaman star filling for divorce citing “irreconcilable differences” in 2016.  Not only did the actress officially end her marriage, but on May 27, 2016, she also obtained a temporary restraining order against Johnny Depp.

A post shared by Amber Heard (@amberheard)

It was then, that Amber Heard alleged to the Oscar-nominated actor physically abusing her and that he was also misusing drugs and alcohol. There began a long and tedious battle between the two high-profile celebrities.

On May 26, 2016, Johnny Depp’s representatives issued the following statement:

“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.”

This statement appeared as a preparation for what was coming next – as a judge granted Amber Heard’s temporary restraining order the day after, which prohibited the actor from getting less than 100 feet close to the 34-year-old actress, as well as prohibiting any contact with her.

Everything escalated, to the point where pictures were shared, videos leaked, and seriously damaging statements made. As a matter of fact, TMZ, which was the first news outlet to break the story, released the actress’ court statements, including the following:

“I live in fear that Johnny will return to the residence unannounced to terrorize me, physically and emotionally.”

In August 2016, TMZ also released a video showing Johnny Depp visibly angry, without specified context as to why, while kicking and slamming cupboards in a kitchen. The video, which was recorded by Amber Heard, also revealed the actress in a distressing position, as she was apologizing and displaying fear. Moreover, the video exposed the Edward Scissorhands pouring himself a glass of wine.

The same month, TMZ published – once again – shocking content regarding the celebrities’ tumultuous relationship. Indeed, photos of the actor’s fingertip cut-off surfaced on the internet. TMZ reported that Johnny Depp had severed his finger accidentally in a “fit of rage”, before dipping it in blue paint and writing “Billy Bob” on the wall. It was confirmed that the name referred to the actor, Billy Bob Thornton – noticeably known as Angelina Jolie’s ex – who was also rumored to having an affair with Amber Heard.

Later that month, the actors settled their divorce and issued a joint statement mentioning how their relationship was “intensely passionate” and “volatile”. It was further on announced that Amber Heard received $7 million from the divorce settlement, which she pledged to give to an organization focusing on stopping violence against women, as well as Children’s Hospital Los Angeles. Johnny Depp is to this day trying to prove that the actress has yet to donate the money.

As a non-disparagement clause, preventing either party from saying anything negative about their relationship and failed marriage was inserted into the divorce settlement, the story could’ve ended there. However, In December 2018, the Never Back Down actress wrote that she was abused in an opinion piece for The Washington Post.

Although Amber Heard did not mention her ex-husband’s name in the article, it was very clear that she alluded to Johnny Depp. 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.”

This ultimately led to the Charlie and the Chocolate Factory actor suing his ex-wife for $50 million for defamation. Johnny Depp’s lawyers stated that Amber Heard’s “implication that Mr. Depp is a domestic abuser is categorically and demonstrably false.”

The actress attempted to dismiss her ex-husband’s defamation suit in a court filing while giving multiple pieces of evidence of alleged abuse. This suit is currently ongoing in the USA, with a trial that has recently been pushed to April 11, 2022.

A post shared by Amber Heard (@amberheard)

Nevertheless, Johnny Depp and Amber Heard already faced an extremely high-profile trial last year, in the UK.

Fast-forward to 2018, when the British newspaper, The Sun, published an article referring to Johnny Depp as a “wife-beater”. The actor sued the publishing company; News Group Newspapers, as well as The Sun’s executive editor, Dan Wootton for libel.

It wasn’t before July 7, 2020, that an intense three-week libel trial began, where both actors had to travel to London and testify against each other. Once again, pictures were shown, videos were played and shocking revelations were revealed.

Among the most memorable moments from the trial, Johnny Depp alleged that his ex-wife had defecated in his bed. Meanwhile, Amber Heard accused the actor of throwing a phone at her face, resulting in bruising – photos from the actress’s blacken face were highlighted on many national front pages.

Unfortunately for Johnny Depp, Judge Mr Justice Nicol ruled, three months later, that The Sun was correct in reporting his abuse towards Amber Heard, making it legal for any media in the UK to call him a “wife-beater”.

While continuously denying any domestic violence claims, the actor and his team tried to appeal the court’s ruling in November 2020. This attempt at overturning the initial judge’s decision was unsuccessful, and thus, Judge Nicol refused to grant Johnny Depp the permission to appeal against his judgment.

Johnny Depp’s team tried again, this time at the Court of Appeals, which is the second-highest court in the country. This was once again unsuccessful, as the Court of Appeal judges denied the actor’s application to appeal against the high court’s ruling.

Hopeful and reluctant to his status as a “wife-beater”, Johnny Depp will now have to wait until next year to have a chance at convincing the American people that he is not an abuser.

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Sources: Hollywood Reporter, TMZ, Insider, Variety

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