Amber Heard was “on the precipice of a meteoric rise” before the negative press caused by allegedly defamatory comments made by Johnny Depp’s legal team, a court has heard.
Entertainment industry expert Kathryn Arnold, said she believed Ms Heard had lost out on up to $50 million after her claims of abuse by her former partner were labelled a “hoax” by Adam Waldman in 2020.
Mr Depp (58) is suing Ms Heard (36) for $50 million over an article that appeared in the Washington Post, which his lawyers say falsely implies he physically and sexually abused her while they were married.
Mr Depp has denied all accusations. Ms Heard is counter-suing for $100 million, arguing that Mr Depp smeared her by calling her a liar.
Giving testimony in the final week of the six-week defamation case, Ms Arnold said Ms Heard had suffered from a negative publicity campaign on social media, and continued to suffer from lost job opportunities.
She also said that Mr Depp’s multiple public lawsuits and “erratic behaviour” was contributing to his career decline before the publication of Ms Heard’s article and that the piece had had “zero” effect on his reputation or damages.
“Amber has had a pretty long career for someone who is pretty young still...she had a consistent working actor’s career,” she said.
“Her career was following a very nice steady rise and was on the precipice of a meteoric rise with Aquaman and Aquaman 2, prior to the statements.”
She added that the resulting backlash online had made it “hard for to work with Amber on any level because of the negativity brought to their product or service or film” and that the campaign was ongoing.
“In the public it’s been very negative, in the industry they like her work but they can’t work with her right now because every time her name is mentioned, the negativity flares up again.”
Ms Arnold said that despite questions over Ms Heard not being hired for Aquaman 2, the film’s director James Wan and star Jason Momoa remained “committed” to the actress.
She added that Ms Heard was “comparable” to actors including Mr Momoa, Wonder Woman star Gal Gadot and Zendaya, all of whom have gone on to secure lucrative contracts with brands and other film and television.
Ms Arnold said Ms Heard’s potential losses over a period of five years could potentially be between $45 and $50 million.
Closing arguments in the case are expected to be given on Friday.
Mr Depp has told jurors he never hit Ms Heard and argued that she was the abuser in their relationship. He said Ms Heard threw a vodka bottle at him in early 2015, severing the top of his right middle finger. Ms Heard said she did not cause the finger injury and said she only hit him to defend herself or her sister.
On Monday, jurors were shown graphic photos of Mr Depp’s bloody finger and heard testimony from a hand surgeon, Dr. Richard Moore, who was called as an expert witness for Ms Heard.
Mr Moore, who reviewed Mr Depp’s medical records, said he did not believe Mr Depp’s injury was sustained in the way the actor described. “The wound doesn’t really appear to be a sharp glass laceration,” he said. Mr Moore said he believed it was instead a “crush injury,” though he acknowledged under questioning from Mr Depp’s lawyers that he could not say for sure what happened to the finger.
Ms Heard had testified that she thought Mr Depp might have injured himself when he smashed a wall-mounted phone into “smithereens” during their argument that night in Australia, where Mr Depp was filming the fifth “Pirates” movie.
Mr Depp and Ms Heard met in 2011 while filming “The Rum Diary.” They wed in February 2015 and their divorce was finalized about two years later.
British supermodel Kate Moss, who dated Mr Depp in the 1990s, is also expected to appear in court by video link later this week to give evidence, a source close to Mr Depp.
Both Mr Depp and Ms Heard have already given evidence themselves, with Ms Heard concluding her testimony last Wednesday.
Mr Depp’s legal team were seen appearing to celebrate when Ms Heard mentioned Ms Moss, as she described hearing a rumour that Mr Depp had pushed the model down a flight of stairs.
Jurors have previously heard multiple allegations of both physical and sexual abuse against the actor, with testimony provided by people including Ms Heard’s sister Whitney, friend Raquel Pennington and another of Mr Depp’s former partners, actor Ellen Barkin.
In video deposition played to the court last week, Animal Kingdom star Ms Barkin claimed Mr Depp was controlling during their short relationship. – PA
Additional reporting: Reuters