Johnny Depp and Amber Heard have had a tumultuous relationship. After dating and being married for a few years, Heard eventually filed for divorce and a domestic violence (DV) restraining order way back in May 2016 and accused Depp of alleged physical abuse.
The two actors reached an out of court settlement in August 2016 and Heard withdrew her request for a DV restraining order; then in 2017, the divorce was finalised. A year later in 2018, Heard wrote an op-ed for The Washington Post about how after publicly announcing she’d been allegedly physically abused and experienced DV, she received “death threats” and was “recast” in a movie she’d been working on; although this article never mentioned Depp by name.
In response to the op-ed, in 2019, Depp sued Heard for defamation and said that he never abused her; she allegedly abused him. Heard swiftly filed counterclaims and this intense legal battle is actually ongoing. In fact, the case goes to trial in the United States just next week on April 11.
Depp also sued News Group Newspapers for libel over an article The Sun published in 2018 that called Depp a “wife-beater”. Ultimately, in November 2020, the court ruled against Depp because the judge believed he had allegedly assaulted Heard and therefore the article was “substantially true”. But this verdict does not mean Depp was convicted of DV or physical assault, nor does it determine whether Heard ever abused Depp; plus, Depp has attempted to appeal the court’s ruling multiple times since then.
A few days after Depp lost his case against the UK publisher (November 2020), he was essentially fired from Warner Brother’s Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore. Depp took to Instagram to announce that “in light of recent events” he’d been “asked to resign by Warner Bros. from [his] role as Grindelwald in Fantastic Beasts.”
And this is where Johnny Depp fans think Warner Bros. was hypocritical; at that point in 2020, both Depp and Heard had been accused of physical abuse – by one another – and the trial that would determine who abused who, still hadn’t commenced. And Depp wasn’t the only one involved with a Warner Bros. franchise; Heard was too – Depp with Fantastic Beasts and Heard with Aquaman & the DCEU – but only Depp was asked to resign.
Yes, we should always believe a victim when they bravely come forward; and as a woman myself, I know that women are rarely believed when they speak up – which is despicable – but in this bizarre case, it’s almost impossible to tell whether Heard is the victim, Depp is the victim or whether the two were so toxic together that they were both simultaneously the victim and the perpetrator.
Especially considering the audio The Daily Mail obtained and leaked to the public in February 2020 – months before Depp was ‘fired’ from Fantastic Beasts – where Heard reportedly confesses to hitting Depp and says, “I can’t promise you I won’t get physical again. God, I f**king sometimes get so mad I lose it.” The audio also features Depp saying, “I left last night. Honestly, I swear to you because I just couldn’t take the idea of more physicality, more physical abuse on each other.”
Again, it’s virtually impossible, from all the evidence that’s been presented in court (Depp has provided the court with images of him bruised, etc. and Heard has also provided images to the court of her bruised, etc. plus, both have provided character witnesses as well as a ton of other evidence against one another) to tell whether Heard or Depp or both are the victims of DV.
Depp fans are adamant he’s the victim, Heard is the abuser and she should be fired from Aquaman 2.
It seems unlikely that Warner Bros. will fire Heard from the upcoming sequel to Aquaman despite Twitter users getting the hashtag ‘fire Amber Heard’ to trend repeatedly as well as many users Tweeting they’ll boycott both Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore and Aquaman 2.
As for how the judge and jury rules in the upcoming trial between Depp and Heard, only time will tell.