The latest on Johnny Depp vs. Amber Heard
For the past three weeks, Hollywood’s eyes have been on Fairfax, Va., where a high-profile trial is taking place, revolving around a defamation lawsuit A-list actor Johnny Depp filed against his ex-wife, actress Amber Heard.
In November 2018, Heard published an op-ed in The Washington Post about speaking up against sexual violence. While she didn’t name Depp in the op-ed, he alleges that the article damaged his reputation since he hasn’t been cast in a major film since then.
Depp is suing Heard for $50 million in damages. The trial will also decide Heard’s counterclaim of $100 million against Depp for damaging her reputation by calling her a liar following her allegations of sexual violence against him.
This trial follows the libel lawsuit Depp lost against News Group Newspapers, the publisher of The Sun newspaper, in which the United Kingdom’s High Court ruled that 12 of the 14 incidents of alleged domestic abuse presented to the court were “substantially true.” Depp filed the lawsuit when The Sun newspaper labeled him as a “wife beater.”
The outcome might be different for Depp in this case, but Heard and her witnesses have not taken the stand yet. Here’s what you may have missed from Depp and his witnesses:
Audio revealed that Heard admitted to hitting Depp
As part of Depp’s testimony, audio was released of Heard telling Depp that she didn’t punch him, she only hit him.
“You didn’t get punched, you got hit. I’m sorry I hit you like this, but I did not punch you. I did not f—ing deck you. I f—ing was hitting you,” she continues.
“I am sorry,” Heard repeatedly says. “Why are you obsessing over the fact I can’t remember it the way you remembered it? I said I was sorry, I didn’t deny it.”
In court documents filed in 2019, which sought to dismiss Depp’s suit against Heard, it alleged that only Depp “regularly abused Amber Heard – both physically and emotionally – throughout much of their relationship.”
The actress was also heard saying, “Tell the world Johnny, tell them I, Johnny Depp, a man, am a victim too of domestic violence.” Depp’s lawyer Camille Vazquez then asked him if he was and the actor responded, “Yes, I am.”
Depp’s ex-house manager testifies that Depp lost his fingertip during a fight
Ben King, who worked for Depp from 2015 to 2016, corroborated Depp’s claim that Heard threw a vodka bottle at him during a fight at their house in Australia, which resulted in a severe injury to his finger.
“I spoke to [the doctor] David Kipper, who was in the kitchen area, seemingly rummaging through a bin,” King said on the stand. “He said Mr. Depp had sustained an injury to his finger, one of his fingers, and he was looking for the fingertip that had been severed.”
That same fight left the house in shambles, King said, detailing a chunk of the marble staircase missing, a collapsed ping pong table, and a smashed potted plant.
He claimed that he found Depp’s fingertip in a “scrunched-up piece of paper on the tiled floor at the end of the bar.” He said around the bar, items were damaged, including a cracked television and mirror.
Depp said the fight was a result of Heard’s anger over a meeting with Depp’s lawyers about why they did not have a post-nuptial agreement, which sent her into a “tailspin.”
“She was irate and she was possessed, and when I tried to remove myself as I normally would from the situation, she’s hammering me with brutal words,” Depp said, noting that he locked himself in bathrooms to get away from her.
Depp said he planned on giving Jack Sparrow a “proper goodbye”
Depp’s most well-known character is arguably Jack Sparrow, the main protagonist of Disney’s “The Pirates of the Caribbean” — a franchise with five films that have brought in around $4.5 billion at the box office.
But Disney dropped Depp from the franchise following the op-ed, now focusing on a female lead for the next film.
“My feeling was that these characters should be able to have their proper goodbye. There’s a way to end a franchise like that,” Depp said. “I planned on continuing until it was time to stop.”
Depp also acknowledged that Disney was weary of continuing their relationship with him after his explosive divorce from Heard, considering the allegations of physical abuse even before Heard published her op-ed.
“Two years had gone by of constant worldwide talk about me being this wife beater,” Depp testified. “So I’m sure that Disney was trying to cut ties to be safe. The ‘Me Too’ movement was in full swing at that point.”
His former agent Christian Carino said it was understood that Depp was cut off because of the allegations.
Disney, however, hasn’t removed Depp as Jack Sparrow from its theme parks or merchandise.
“They didn’t remove my character from the rides,” Depp said. “They didn’t stop selling dolls of Captain Jack Sparrow. They didn’t stop selling anything. They just didn’t want there to be something trailing behind me that they’d find.”
Even if Depp is victorious against Heard in the suit, he said he would not rejoin the franchise if Disney walked back their decision of firing him.
LAPD officers say Heard had no marks on her face in alleged domestic abuse incident
Depp’s lawyers also called upon police officers as witnesses who responded to a domestic abuse call at the couple’s house in May 2016, testifying that Heard did not sustain any injuries.
The incident occurred on May 21, six days before Heard obtained a temporary restraining order against Depp. While at the courthouse to obtain the restraining order on May 27, Heard had a mark on her face.
Heard filed for divorce on May 23, 2016, two days after she reported the incident.
“Just because I see a female with pink cheeks and pink eyes doesn’t mean something happened,” officer Tyler Hadden said in a recorded deposition Wednesday.
Heard’s lawyers questioned why the officers didn’t investigate the case more thoroughly and brought up the point that Heard could’ve covered her mark with makeup initially.
Heard and her witnesses have not taken the stand yet. While Elon Musk, who she reportedly dated, and James Franco, her former co-star, were rumored as potential witnesses, The New York Post reported they will not be testifying on her behalf.
Depp is done testifying on his own behalf but his witnesses continue to take the stand.