Johnny Depp and Amber Heard got married in 2015 in Los Angeles and a year later, the 34-year-old actress filed for divorce.
Trigger warning: Domestic abuse
The breakdown of a relationship is hard for anyone. For actress Amber Heard, who was married to one of the most famous men in the world, Johnny Depp, it also meant having her name dragged in the mud as well as defending her claims that this former heartthrob physically assaulted her multiple times. Being Amber Heard is difficult but she won a significant victory recently when the UK courts ruled against her former partner.
Heard, 34, and Depp, 57, started dating "around the end of 2011 or the start of 2012," according to a court filing. The Tourist actor left his long-time partner Vanessa Paradis in 2012. They have two children, Lily-Rose (born in 1999) and John Christopher (2002), according to Insider. Depp and Heard got married in 2015 in Los Angeles and a year later, the 34-year-old Aquaman actress filed for divorce.
She also obtained a restraining order against him alleging he abused her during their relationship while under the influence of drugs or alcohol. She said that she filed for divorce after being hit in the face with a phone. Depp said she was "attempting to secure a premature financial resolution by alleging abuse" and a police officer found no evidence that he hit her, according to People.
A divorce settlement of $7 million was finalized after which she withdrew her restraining order request. Heard donated the entirety of the amount to charities but the former couple said in a statement, "Our relationship was intensely passionate and at times volatile, but always bound by love. Neither party has made false accusations for financial gain. There was never any intent of physical or emotional harm."
The deal included a non-disparagement clause, which meant that neither of them could say anything negative about the other. However, Heard wrote an op-ed without naming Depp. "I became a public figure representing domestic abuse, and I felt the full force of our culture's wrath for women who speak out," she wrote in Washington Post. As a result, the multi-millionaire Pirates of the Caribbean actor sued his ex-wife for $50 million in a defamation case.
He also sued British tabloid The Sun’s publisher, News Group Newspapers (NGN), and its executive editor, Dan Wootton, for calling him a "wife-beater" in one of their stories. The article had the headline: "Gone Potty: How can JK Rowling be 'genuinely happy' casting wife-beater Johnny Depp in the new Fantastic Beasts film?" On November 3, he lost the libel case against them and a judge said that Depp was, indeed, abusive towards Heard.
In the ruling, quoted by the Guardian, Justice Nicol said, "The claimant [Depp] has not succeeded in his action for libel … The defendants [the Sun and News Group Newspapers] have shown that what they published in the meaning which I have held the words to bear was substantially true. I have found that the great majority of alleged assaults of Ms Heard by Mr Depp have been proved to the civil standard."
The judge didn't accept the Lone Ranger actor's description of his ex-wife as a gold-digger. Nicol noted, "Her donation of … $7m to charity is hardly the act one would expect of a gold-digger."
Anti-domestic violence charities in the UK said that the four-week trial revealed techniques used to silence and discredit victims. Heard had reported 14 incidents of assault and the judge said that in at least 12 of them the allegations were proved. "I do not regard [the Sun’s] inability to make good these allegations [in the other two incidents] as of importance in determining whether they have established the substantial truth of the words that they published," the judge said.
While Heard has also been accused of domestic abuse by Depp, those allegations haven't been proven yet. Through his representatives, he said that he will be appealing the judge's decision.
"This decision is as perverse as it is bewildering. Most troubling is the judge’s reliance on the testimony of Amber Heard, and corresponding disregard of the mountain of counter-evidence from police officers, medical practitioners, her own former assistant, other unchallenged witnesses, and an array of documentary evidence which completely undermined the allegations, point by point. All of this was overlooked. The judgment is so flawed that it would be ridiculous for Mr Depp not to appeal this decision," said Jenny Afia, the solicitor at the London law firm of Schillings who represented Depp, as per the Guardian.