More than three years after Johnny Depp sued his ex-wife amber heard for libel over an opinion piece she wrote for the Washington Post about surviving domestic abuse, jurors returned a split verdict on the former couple’s dueling libel claims.
After six weeks of testimony, totaling 61 hours awarded to each side, the Depp-Heard saga was only at first glance a libel case. It gave Depp the opportunity to air his narrative of a 15-month love-hate marriage, and Heard, in return, to describe hers.
Both left no stone unturned in that quest, and their respective positions drew fans and detractors from the public. However, there was no devastating test change moment or uplifting clarity. Rather, it was a slow routine of mutual degradation.
Here are some notable moments:
Depp was the first of the pair to testify, swearing in April that Heard’s “egregious” and “disturbing” abuse allegations against him forced him to appear in court to show people the claims were “not based on no kind of truth.”
“I never got to the point of hitting Mrs. Heard in any way, nor have I hit any woman in my life,” Depp said.
He admitted to abusing alcohol and drugs, sometimes referring to his self-intoxication as the “freak”. But he also claimed that Heard had “grossly embellished” his admitted substance abuse.
Depp told jurors that his ex-wife verbally scolded him and sometimes “hit” him. The jury was shown a photo of Depp with a bruise on his face and a second with scratches.
“If I stayed to argue, eventually, I was sure it would turn to violence, and many times it did,” Depp testified.
Heard’s lawyers, however, maintained that Depp’s drug and alcohol abuse, and unreliability, were what cost him his career, specifically his chance to reprise his role as Jack Sparrow in a planned sixth installment. from Disney’s Pirates of the Caribbean franchise.
Under two days of direct questioning, Heard said she had felt like “the most beautiful person in the entire world” at the beginning of their relationship. But he said a dozen incidents of physical and sexual abuse against her accompanied Depp’s lifestyle of heavy drinking and drug use.
She claimed that he regularly beat her and that she sometimes feared for her life. The jury was shown emails from Depp to her friend Paul Bettany that described a desire to hurt her. “Let’s drown her before we burn her” and “Then I’ll fuck her burned corpse to make sure she’s dead,” she wrote in one.
Depp claimed that the messages were taken out of context and drawn in part from the histrionics of the Monty Python sketches.
Heard denied Depp’s claim that he threw a bottle of vodka in Australia that severed the top of Depp’s middle finger. In fact, she told the jury that Depp sexually assaulted her by inserting a liquor bottle into her vagina. “She was scared,” she said. “I had just married him.”
A wide supporting cast (including dogs)
But the testimony of the two actors, each delivered with considerable theatrical synchronization, was perhaps less important than the testimony of witnesses called to support or supplement their claims.
Those who testified on Depp’s behalf said they did not see him hit Heard, but said they saw him get jealous and angry. Depp’s attorney, Camille Vasquez, tried to highlight the lack of medical records to support Heard’s abuse claims.
At a key point in the testimony, a lawyer for the American Civil Liberties Union acknowledged that his communications team had written the first draft of the Washington Post article and submitted it to the newspaper for publication on the same day that Aquaman was released. heard.
Jurors also heard that Heard had reneged on her promise to donate $3.5 million to civil rights groups and that part of what had been paid, $1.3 million, had come from Elon Musk, whom Heard met at a benefit gala at the time he applied. temporary restraining order against Depp. Heard said that she stopped paying the donation when Depp sued her.
The couple’s two dogs, “teacup” Yorkshires named Pistol and Boo, also made cameo appearances, though not on the dais. In 2016 feces were discovered in the marital bed. Depp stated that he could not have come from either dog. A security guard for Depp said Heard told him it was “a horrible prank gone wrong.” Heard denied any involvement.
Celebrities from both sides
Model Kate Moss appeared briefly to quell rumors that Depp had pushed her down some stairs during their relationship. But actress Ellen Barkin said that Depp once threw a bottle of wine across a room. Other witnesses scheduled to appear for Heard, including Musk and James Franco, did not testify.
But the trial was also marked by objections from lawyers and frequent sidebars without audio. At one point, an attorney for Heard objected to his own question.
However, the attorney’s frequent calls for the judge to rule “hearsay,” “unsubstantiated,” or “beyond scope” pointed to how witnesses can often be misled by evidence supporting defamation claims by either party. parts.