Johnny Depp vs Amber Heard: What we know with one week of evidence to go

The trial enters its final week on Monday, with Heard’s witnesses in the stand

Johnny Depp and Amber Heard? Are they making another film together. Because everyone loved the Rum Diary. It was almost as good as Pirates of the Caribbean : Salazar's Revenge! 
They're certainly drawing a lot of eyeballs – though not in a way their agents would like.

So no Rum Diary 2: 2 Rum 2 Furious? 
No, this is a lot bleaker than a sub-par Johnny Depp vehicle. Depp is suing his ex-wife for $50 million, claiming she defamed him in a 2018 Washington Post opinion piece about domestic abuse. Heard didn't name Depp in the article – however, he says the allegations have impacted on his ability to work. And it's all playing out on court TV.

Oh so this IS a sequel. Wasn't the original set in London?
That's correct – in 2020 Depp lost a libel case against the Sun newspaper over an article that referred to him as a "wife-beater". He stepped down from the Fantastic Beasts franchise shortly afterward and was replaced by Mads Mikkelsen.

So what is different about this case? 
Both Depp and Heard, who were married from February 2015 to January 2017, have taken to the stand and each has made devastating accusations. Heard gave evidence in the past week. She said Depp was a "self-described" monster who would hit her in jealous, drug-fuelled rages. She has also accused him of sexually assaulting her. And in a deposition this week an acquaintance of Heard, Raquel Pennington, testified to seeing Heard's injuries after an altercation with Depp in December 2015.

And does he accept this?
Depp has for his part claimed he was assaulted by Heard, telling the court, "Ms. Heard came at me with her nails"

How is this all playing out in the court of public opinion? 
After #MeToo, the consensus was that women needed to be listened to when they speak out about assault. And yet much of the online response to the case has been in favour of Depp, whose legions of fans – many Millennials and Gen Zers – have used social media to lash out at anyone speaking up on behalf of Heard. It is quite a maelstrom.

And quite a saga.
The case is now in its fifth week, with jurors in Fairfax, Virginia (where the digital edition of the Washington Post is hosted) hearing testimony from family, friends, medics, expert witnesses and staff members. The trial enters its final week on Monday, with Heard's witnesses in the stand.

Without prejudging the outcome, it all sounds massively unsavoury.  
You can say that. Depp is accused of holding a dog out a moving car window and of painting messages in blood on the wall of a house in Australia. And he has accused Heard of faking injuries with red nail polish – and of defecating in their bed.

This can't be good for their careers? 
Depp says that he has been blacklisted by Hollywood. But he is still working and stars in a French-language costume drama, Jeanne du Barry, in which he plays King Louis XV. "It's been six years of trying times," Depp stated early in the case. "It's pretty strange when one day you're Cinderella, so to speak, then 0.6 seconds [later] you're Quasimodo." Heard says she has paid a price, too, and that she was cut extensively from the forthcoming Aquaman 2. "I fought really hard to stay in the movie. They didn't want to include me in the film."

Read More