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The Trial of Johnny Depp and Amber Heard

Trigger warning: mention of domestic and sexual abuse

Emily McQueen

Staff writer

If you’ve been on the internet in the past two weeks, I’m certain you’ve seen clips or news about the Johnny Depp and Amber Heard defamation trial, which is being broadcasted on many TV channels. The trial is taking place because Johnny Depp is pursuing Amber Heard for defamation over a 2018 article in The Washington Post in which Heard writes about surviving domestic abuse. Although the article never mentions Depp by name, the public assumed it was about him, and there were serious consequences on his career and image. The actor is filing this 50-million-dollar lawsuit after losing a highly publicized lawsuit against The Sun for calling him a “wife-beater” in 2020.

Johnny Depp and Amber Heard met in 2009 while shooting The Rhum Diaries. Dating rumors started appearing in 2011. Heard explains in her testimony that Depp would take her on generous trips at the beginning of their relationship. She remembered him taking the foil off of a bottle and putting it on her ring finger, while they had only been together for days, maybe weeks. She remembers it all feeling very intense. Depp’s security guard told the courts that at the beginning of their relationship, they were loving, but as time went on Amber Heard changed and became grumpier. The couple got married in 2015 and they broke up the next year when Heard filed for a restraining order against Depp, accusing the actor of abuse. The couple finally got divorced in August 2016.

Johnny Depp has testified multiple times that he never struck Heard or any woman, and that his goal in this trial is truth. He hopes to clear his name in this trial and then move on with his life.

Heard, who has filed a countersuit against Depp, testified about many instances of domestic and sexual abuse by Johnny, including him conducting a “cavity search” on her for cocaine. Depp allegedly told her that he would kill her once after he believed she had told his children that he was drunk while on a boat. She also testified that Depp would often pass out in his bodily fluids because of his substance abuse and that she and other staff would have to clean up after him and change him.

Many other witnesses took the stand to testify, including the couple’s marriage counselor, who stated that Heard never gave Depp the chance to speak. The counselor also mentioned a reported slap given to Heard by Depp. Johnny Depp’s security guard testified that he never saw bruises on Amber Heard but many on Johnny Depp which escalated over time. Both legal teams also had psychologists testify. The psychologist hired by Johnny Depp’s team argued that Amber Heard does not have symptoms of PTSD but of two other personality disorders: borderline personality disorder and histrionic personality disorder. In contrast, a psychologist hired by Amber Heard’s team argued that Heard does present symptoms of PTSD.

Images, recordings, and texts were all presented in court. Of the most notable was a recording of Heard admitting to hitting Depp as she calls him a baby. In another recording, Amber mockingly asks Johnny Depp if he, as a man, is a victim of domestic abuse, to which he answers he is. Texts between Johnny and a friend discussing killing and burning Amber’s body were also presented as evidence by Heard’s team, along with many images of injuries on both parties' faces and bodies.

The trial is not over yet. Both Amber Heard and Johnny Depp’s lives and careers are forever changed by these accusations.

If you are a man, woman, or neither, and are a victim of domestic or sexual abuse, you can get help at (514) 491-0495, an emergency shelter hotline. If you believe your life or safety is in danger, please call 911.


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