Johnny Depp denies claims of domestic violence against Amber Heard; a timeline of their legal battle
Johnny Depp's libel case begun in UK High Court on 7 July, with the actor up against a tabloid over allegations he was violent towards his ex-wife Amber Heard.
Johnny Depp, on Wednesday, 8 July, denied claims of domestic violence against his former wife Amber Heard, during the second day of questioning in his libel trial in London.
Depp is suing The Sun's publisher, News Group Newspapers, and its executive editor, Dan Wootton, over an April 2018 article that said he had physically abused Heard. The Pirates of the Caribbean star said Heard’s claims that he assaulted her on multiple occasions are “totally untrue.”
NGN is disputing the claim for libel and said there is "overwhelming evidence" that he attacked Heard while under the influence of alcohol and drugs between 2013 and 2016.
The former couple first met on the sets of the 2011 film, married in 2015 and divorced two years later. As allegations of abuse emerged, with various accusations being made back and forth, it seems that the two have been embroiled in a never-ending legal and personal battle.
Here’s a look back at Depp and Heard’s legal battle
Depp and Heard first met while filming The Rum Diary where they were cast as each other’s love interests in the film adaptation of the Hunter S. Thompson novel.
The pair began dating after Depp split from his previous partner, Vanessa Paradis.
Depp and Heard got married at the actor’s private island in the Bahamas.
Soon after, while filming Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales in Australia, Depp allegedly suffered an injury in his hand for which he needed to undergo surgery. Depp reportedly received the injury during an argument with Heard.
Later that year, Depp and Heard faced legal trouble in Australia when it was revealed that the couple illegally transported their pet Yorkshire Terriers over, failing to put them through Australia’s ten-day pet quarantine. The couple were let off the hook after issuing an apology video.
In March 2015, Depp reportedly got into an argument with Heard and proceeded to smash bottles, windows, and other items around the residence.
Heard files for divorce from Depp after 15 months of marriage, citing "irreconcilable differences." Less than a week later, she files a domestic violence restraining order against Depp, which is granted.
According to court documents, Heard claimed that Depp showed up to her birthday party on 22 April “inebriated and high” and “violently shoved me to the floor” after grabbing her by the hair. The actress referred to Depp as "the monster" multiple times in the court filings and claimed he wouldn't remember the abuse due to his excessive drinking and drug use.
By August 2016, the couple finalised their divorce, reaching a $7million settlement, which Heard went on to donate to the Children’s Hospital Los Angeles and the American Civil Liberties Union.
Heard wrote an op-ed piece which was published by The Washington Post about the aftermath of accusing Depp of domestic violence, though she did not identify him by name. The Aquaman actress wrote that she "felt the full force of our culture’s wrath for women who speak out".
Post this, Depp and his legal team filed a $50 million defamation lawsuit against his ex-wife in March 2019, where they argued that the claims made in the op-ed were “categorically false.” The lawsuit also suggests that Heard was was actually the aggressor in the relationship and had abused Depp.
Depp believed that Disney dropped him from the Pirates Of The Caribbean franchise in the wake of Heard’s op-ed, which his attorneys believed Heard wrote in an attempt to “generate positive publicity for Heard and advance her career.”
In a statement to E! News, Depp's attorney, Adam Waldman, said, "We filed a partial list of evidence that we will use to disprove the fraudulent underlying allegations against Mr Depp."
The whole case was further muddled in early 2020 when audio from a 2015 therapy session involving the then couple was leaked online.
It was an informal two-hour ‘therapy’ session recorded consensually on Heard’s cell phone and exclusively obtained by DailyMail.
In the audiotape, the couple can be heard discussing an incident that got physically violent. Heard said at one point, "Babe, you're not punched ... I don't know what the motion of my actual hand was, but you're fine. I did not hurt you, I did not punch you, I was hitting you."
On 26 February, Depp attended a preliminary hearing for the libel trial at the High Court in London. According to Metro UK, it was ruled that some of Heard’s evidence would be given in private.
Earlier in June, a UK High Court judge ruled that Depp violated a court order by failing to disclose evidence relating to his drug use to lawyers for British tabloid The Sun, which he is suing for libel. The tabloid's lawyers argue the case should be dismissed because the actor failed to disclose text messages he exchanged with an assistant showing that he tried to buy “MDMA and other narcotics” while he was in Australia with Heard in 2015.
Depp’s lawyer’s application to have Heard excluded from court until she gives evidence was denied, with the High Court three-week trial beginning on 7 July.
Depp strongly denies being violent, and the emotionally charged case has drawn in celebrities including Depp’s former partners Paradis and Winona Ryder, who claim he has 'never been violent' to them and Heard’s former paramour Elon Musk.
Meanwhile, proceedings in the defamation suit were supposed to get started in early February, but they have since been delayed until 3 August when it will be held in Fairfax County, Virginia.
(With inputs from agencies)
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