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The Stars Were Misaligned: Johnny Depp and Amber Heard

Today is April 11th and Johnny Depp’s defamation trial against ex-wife Amber Heard has begun in Fairfax, Virginia.  You can watch it here.  The pair met in 2011 during production of The Rum Diary and married in 2015.  In May 2016, the pair split when Heard filed for a domestic violence protective order against Depp.  Heard alleged Depp abused her and Depp denied the claims.  They settled their divorce in August 2016.


The defamation trial involves Depp’s claim against Heard related to her 2018 Washington Post op-ed.  Within the op-ed, Heard wrote about surviving domestic violence and the need for society to support women who speak out about the issue.  Heard never mentioned Depp by name in her op-ed.


In November 2020, Depp lost his libel lawsuit filed against The Sun, a U.K. tabloid, for calling him a “wife-beater.”  In this defamation lawsuit, which Depp originally filed in March 2019, Depp is suing Heard directly and not a media company.  Therefore, Heard is obligated to participate and has called on several fellow actress and actor friends to testify on her behalf.  James Franco, Ellen Barkin, and Elon Musk are all set to testify virtually as witnesses for Heard.


It will be interesting to see how this lawsuit plays out, especially since it is receiving live television coverage by Court TV.  Evidence such as text messages between Depp, Heard, and their colleagues is also set to be presented in court.  Additionally, messages between Depp and J.K. Rowling, who has publicly defended Depp, will reportedly be revealed.  At the end of the day, the stars may see a greater divide depending on the outcome of the trial.