Depp v. Heard More Than a Celebrity Feud

Johnny Depp has been in over 80 movies. During his 38-year-long acting career, he has received many accolades, including a Golden Globe award. For years, Depp had had a successful career until 2018, when Amber Heard, ex-wife and actress, wrote an op-ed about the domestic abuse she endured during their relationship. As a result of the allegations, he lost his role as “Gellert Grindelwald” in the 2022 film Fantastic Beasts: Secrets of Dumbledore, a role he had played in the previous two films. Due to this reason and more, Depp sued Heard for $50 million over the claims.


Johnny Depp and Amber Heard first met on the set of The Rum Diaries in 2009. The two began dating in 2012 and were married in 2015. Only a year later, in 2016, Heard filed for a divorce and, a few days after, filed for a restraining order against Depp. During this time, she was seen in court with a visible bruise on her face after the claims of abuse against Depp. Due to the social climate at the time and the #MeToo movement being an outlet for women who had suffered from domestic abuse, many slandered Depp and sided with Heard. The Sun was one of many that used this situation to smear Depp and his past struggles by calling him a “wife-beater” over the allegations. In turn, the tabloid was sued by Depp due to alleged libel.


Depp denied all allegations that Heard had disputed. In 2018, the Washington Post published an op-ed written by Heard about the abuse she went through during her relationship and marriage to Depp. In March of 2019, Depp sued Heard for $50 Million for defamation of character. Amber Heard’s legal team named this lawsuit an attempt to silence Heard. After this, in the summer of 2020, Depp’s lawsuit against The Sun went to court and ended with Depp being denied for appeal in 2021. Heard counter-sued Depp’s original suit for $100 million.


The current court case began on April 11th in a courthouse in Fairfax County, Virginia. In the first week, the first witness was Depp’s sister. His sister talked about how Depp would never hurt Heard because he was also a victim of their mother’s domestic abuse. A few more were to testify on Depp’s behalf. During the process, one of Heard’s friends, Eve Barlow, was removed from court after interrupting a testimony and using her phone to show Heard’s lawyer an Instagram story to be used as evidence. Still, Depp’s attorney saw that it was from early 2021 and accused Heard’s lawyer of giving a false account of evidence. Many witnesses said their relationship was “toxic” and there was “mutual abuse.”


In the second week, more witnesses testified for Depp. More claims of an unhealthy relationship and marriage between Depp and Heard were brought up. There were also claims that Heard was the true abuser and that she was harming Depp. Text messages, audio recordings, video recordings, and more show the strange state of their relationship. It was brought up during the testimony that Heard had left the fecal matter in Depp’s bed, which she blamed on the dogs, but later called a “horrible practical joke.”


The third week of the trial saw more witnesses testifying against Heard. A hotel manager that oversaw the couple staying at their hotel claimed she saw no abuse against Heard and that there were no injuries on her either. Heard’s mental state was also an area of concern, as worries about her having borderline personality disorder had arisen and how she could have made the allegations up, but a forensic psychologist, Dr. Shannon Curry, said she did not exhibit enough signs of the disorder. Curry also said that she was "grossly exaggerating symptoms of PTSD when asked about them.”


Due to the popularity of Johnny Depp, lots of this trial has been debated on social media. Many are siding with Depp and calling Heard the abuser and vice versa. The trial is projected to last about six weeks. In the next few weeks, witnesses on Heard's behalf are to testify, and more evidence will be brought against Heard and against Depp.


Through Teen Lenses: What do you think about the Depp v. Heard situation?


“I remember hearing a lot about it when they were talking about getting rid of her [Amber Heard] for the next Aquaman movie, but I didn’t pay too much attention to the situation.”
Brendan Paperd, 15, Freshman at Howell Highschool, Howell

“I think Amber Heard was very brave for coming out about the abuse, but now that it’s [lawsuit] actually happening and there is evidence of her being the abuser, I am a little confused on where I side.”
Sophia Dennis, 14, Freshman, Howell Highschool, Howell