What you need to know about the ongoing Amber Heard and Johnny Depp court case


Amber Heard and Johnny Depp awaiting the trial to begin.

Mahima Shankar, Staff Writer

Currently, Amber Heard and Johnny Depp have an ongoing defamation case occurring in court, after their supposedly loving marriage had ended in 2016. After several years of lawsuits and speculations, the trial to officially decide whether Johnny Depp can clear his name has begun. Here is the background and present information of the ongoing trial. 

Johnny Depp and Amber Heard both met on the set of ‘The Rum Diary’ in 2009 during filming. It was around 2012 that Depp and Heard had begun dating, and it was around that time as well that both individuals divorced their previous partners. They were married in early 2015, after many years of having a relationship. Things became awry in May of 2016, when Heard filed not only for divorce, but restraining order from Depp as well. Her lawsuit included alleged claims of physical abuse under the influence of drugs and alcohol. Although Depp denies many of these allegations, this still brings us forward to August of 2016, when Heard had testified under oath about her supposedly violent and toxic marriage. Luckily, both individuals eventually reached a joint statement, agreeing that “neither party has made false accusations for financial gain” as well as “There was never any intent of physical or emotional harm.” Heard received $7 million dollars, and she had allegedly donated all of this to charity, in an attempt to prove she had no benefits from this trial. 

Flashing forward to 2018, Heard had an Op-ed for the Washington Post, recognizing her endured mistreatment from previous domestic abuse. Heard felt as if she were a “public figure” for all poorly treated domestic abuse cases. Although Depp himself was never named in this article, many had already begun speculating about his involvement with Heard’s abusive past. In particular, this article had influenced directors of upcoming films to cut ties with Depp, or for Depp to resign from certain movies himself. 

This led to Depp suing Heard for $50 million over defamation concerning the Op-ed in the Washington Post. This case has often been mistaken for a divorce or domestic violence trial, but in reality this is a case of defamation. A defamation case appears when someone makes false statements about you, which eventually causes harm to your reputation, and calls for a lawsuit. Heard and Depp’s first trial, the Libel trial, began on July 7, 2020, but ended in November 2 notoriously ruling against Depp. Depp and his legal team attempted to appeal both in the Libel court and the Court of Appeals in London, but were denied at both opportunities. In order to clear her name as well, Heard countersued for $100 million in January of 2021. 

In 2022, the trial of Johnny Depp’s defamation case began in Virginia, on April 12. With this, the opening statements of the ongoing trial began as well, starting with Depp testifying and being questioned on the witness stand by his attorney, Jessica Meyers. The audio recording that was previously leaked in 2020, was brought to light again, “Tell the world, Johnny. Tell them, Johnny Depp, I, Johnny Depp, a man, I’m a victim, too, of domestic violence”, from Ms. Heard taunting Mr. Depp. 

In most of Heard’s testimony, she has testified to constant abuse from Depp, especially once it began during her 30th birthday, which lead to her decision of divorce. Her evidence included large amounts of Depp’s substance abuse issue, specifically pertaining to drinking and alcohol. One of her altercations with Johnny Depp included an instance in which she was supposedly defending her sister against Depp, and Heard remembered that she “actually hit him square in the face.” 

During Heard’s cross examination, she was questioned by Camille Vasquez, who has gained lots of attention from viewers of the trial. She is known in this trial for her tough questioning, objections, as well as her ability to slowly steal Amber’s credibility in the eyes of the jury. A specific point Vasquez grilled Heard about was her and Depp’s eye contact during the trial, in fact she subjected Amber to knowing exactly why he wouldn’t look back at her. Vasquez played an audio recording of the instance the conversation occurred, “You will not see my eyes again”, vowed Depp.

Currently the trial is still ongoing, and next to take the stand is Johnny Depp, who will be questioned by Heard’s legal team. The majority of viewers have appeared to take Depp’s side despite both the individual’s questionable decisions, the trial is causing much of Heard’s stories to be displayed as fabricated or half-truths. But this should remain a lesson to us all, and sheds light on how domestic violence can occur to anyone and is not specific to a specific gender.