Amber Heard and Johnny Depp’s case started as an almost normal divorce case in 2016 but soon turned ugly after Heard alleged in court papers that she was abused by Depp throughout their 15 month marriage. On May 25th 2016 the news of the divorce filing broke and on May 23rd 2016 Heard officially filed for divorce citing irreconcilable differences in the court petition. This soon became a highly publicized libel trial and the former couple launched a number of lawsuits against each other and a second trial which was launched by Depp against his ex-wife. In her petition for filing for divorce Heard also asked for spousal support from Depp. Soon after Depp asked the judge to deny Heard’s demand for spousal support via a response filed May 25th by his attorney Laura Wasser. Amidst of all of the drama Depp’s mother Betty Sue Palmer passed away on May 20th. On May 26th sources close to the couple began to speak out and details started to emerge about the couples rocky relationship and on May 27th Heard alleged Depp abused her and went to the court to file a temporary domestic violence restraining order. Heard stated that Depp was verbally and physically abusive throughout their 4 year relationship while also stating he has a substance abuse problem. She also stated that the latest incident was May 21st and that Depp started to argue with her and then proceeded to hit her in the eye with a cell phone and she submitted evidence photos of her apparently bruised face and damaged property from their apartment. In court Heard appeared to have a visible bruise on her right eye and the judge granted her a temporary restraining order requiring him to stay 100 yards from her and gave her sole use of their downtown LA apartment but declined to order any temporary spousal support for her or require Depp to stay away from her dog, Pistol. Depp then responded to the allegations in court papers submitted by his attorney Laura Wasser saying Heard’s domestic abuse claims are “financially motivated”. Police stated that they had seen no evidence of a crime and an LAPD spokesman was contacted by a news source said officers investigated the May 21st incident after a 911 call and saw “no evidence of any crime”. Heard also declined to file a report and according police Depp had already left the apartment. A source close to Heard came forward and stated that “she was to shaken to file a report at the time” and that Depp knew about Heard’s plan to file the restraining order and offered her money not to do so. The day that Heard appeared in court in LA Depp was in Portugal playing and making a charity appearance with his band Hollywood Vampires. Depp’s family started to come forward on social media to defend him regarding Heard’s allegations. Depp’s daughter Lily Rose who was 17 at the time took to Instagram on May 29th posting a photo of them with the caption stating “ my dad is the sweetest, most loving person I know, he’s been nothing but a wonderful father to my little brother and I, and everyone who knows him would say the same”. Also Lily Rose’s mother Depp’s longtime partner of 14 years Vanessa Paradis reportedly wrote him a hand written letter calling him a “ sensitive, loving and loved person”. Paradis and Depp also share a 14 year old son Jack. Heard’s lawyer soon explained that she didn’t tell police about her alleged abuse to “protect her privacy and Johnny’s career. Depp and Heard finalized their divorce in January of 2017 and they reached a 7 million dollar settlement out of court in August that Heard stated she was going to donate the entirety of the funds to the ACLU. The judge denied Depp’s request to impose a $100,000 sanction on Heard for allegedly delaying the proceeding and Depp was ordered to pay $500,000 towards Heard’s legal fees according to court papers. A couple years later in March 2019 Depp filed a 50 million dollar lawsuit against Heard seeking damages for her 2018 Washington Post op-ed in which she wrote about surviving domestic violence but never mentioned Depp specifically. The lawsuit was delayed several times due to Covid-19 and picked back up in 2022. The defamation trial began Monday April 11, 2022 in Fairfax Virginia. The entirety of the case was televised and became extremely popular from start to finish. The jury found Heard could not substantiate her allegations against Depp and that she knew her claims of abuse were false when she published her 2018 essay. The jury also determined that Heard acted with actual malice when writing her op-ed. Depp was awarded 10 million dollars in compensatory damages and 5 million dollars in punitive damages in his defamation suit. Heard then countersued for 100 million dollars and said she was only ever violent with Depp in self-defense or defense of her younger sister. The jury awarded her 2 million dollars in compensatory damages and 0 dollars in punitive damages. The Johnny Depp and Amber Heard case blew up on social media and television and essentially had the whole world watching. Their divorce turned into a massive defamation case and brought out many different things between the ex couple. Divorce is not easy especially when things turn south. That’s why it is vital to find a good dedicated lawyer to help with your unique situation.
Johnny Depp and amber Heard Divorce and Defamation Case