JUSTICE – This time, it may be the right one. This Tuesday, May 31, the seven jurors in the ultra-publicized trial between Johnny Depp and Amber Heard are back in court in Fairfax, near Washington, to resume their deliberations, their discussions last Friday not having resulted in a decision. common.
Who of Johnny Depp or Amber Heard damaged the reputation of the other? While the second asked the jury to dismiss the first’s defamation complaint to “let her continue her life and raise her child”, the Hollywood actor is claiming 50 million dollars in damages, estimating that the tribune in which his ex-wife accuses him (without naming him) of domestic violence has destroyed his career and his reputation.
Since it started in mid-April, the trial of the two Americans has made a lot of noise. The Pirates of the Caribbean star assured that he never raised his hand on Amber Heard, with whom he was married for fifteen months, from 2015 to 2017. This is not what the 36-year-old actress says. , after the complaint filed by her former husband, has, in turn, accused him of defamation. For her, he is “a monster”.
This is not the first time that the two exes have found themselves in court, nor that their private lives have made the headlines. As on the occasion of their divorce, a previous trial initiated by Johnny Depp against the British daily The Sun had, in 2020, exposed many sordid details of their past altercations.
This second legal act was particularly followed in the press, on American television (where it was broadcast live) and on social networks. On TikTok, in particular, Amber Heard was the target of a violent outpouring of misogynistic hatred undertaken by fans of Johnny Depp, as this article from the World.
Why has the case generated so many reactions? As we approach the final decision, where are we? The HuffPost invites you to come back point by point on what you need to know to better understand this extraordinary trial.
Johnny Depp, 58, and Amber Heard, 36, met on the set of the movie Express rum in 2009. It was not until 2012 that they officially appeared together. He had separated from his ex-girlfriend, Vanessa Paradis. She, from her ex-partner, photographer Tasya van Ree. A few years later, they get married. In May 2016, Amber Heard filed for divorce.
What happened? Rumors about the reasons for their separation are rife. In the papers she filed for the divorce, Amber Heard testifies “to a serious incident that occurred in December 2015 where [elle a] really scared for [sa] life”. When the divorce proceedings begin in court, and under the eye of the tabloids, the actress is seen with bruises on her face. Johnny Depp allegedly threw an iPhone in her face during an argument a few days earlier, according to a complaint filed by Amber Heard, as reported by the magazine The Cut.
The actor has denied all the allegations. An agreement was finally reached in the summer of 2016. “Our relationship was intensely passionate and sometimes volatile, but always bound by love,” they have publicly declared. Amber Heard has withdrawn her complaint. As for Johnny Depp, he paid him seven million dollars. A sum that the actress then donated to associations. That didn’t end the litigation.
The trial, which has been held since mid-April near Washington, stems from a column published in 2018 in the washington post and in which Amber Heard described herself as a “victim of domestic violence” bullied by society after coming out of silence two years earlier. The actress did not quote Johnny Depp at any time, but the events related left little doubt about the man she implicated.
After the publication of this forum, the actor decided to file a defamation suit against Amber Heard, claiming 50 million dollars in damages. “The platform, which implicitly accuses Johnny Depp of being an abusive husband, is categorically false” and aims to “generate positive publicity” around Amber Heard, argued his defense. It is in the state of Virginia, where the washington post is printed and where the legal framework is more favorable to complaints of defamation than in California, the place of residence of the two stars, that he filed his complaint.
The actress then counter-attacked, in turn filing a defamation complaint to obtain 100 million dollars. “The futile complaint filed by Johnny Depp against Amber Heard prolongs the abuse and harassment” he imposed on her during their marriage, said the actress.
The precedent in London
This scenario strangely resembles the one that played out in 2020 in London. Except that at the time, Johnny Depp had sued the publishing company of the tabloid The Sun after an article portraying him as an abusive husband. To prove his good faith, the tabloid had called his ex-wife to the bar. She had described a dozen assaults committed by a husband transformed into a “monster” by his excessive use of drugs.
At the helm, he admitted to consuming too many drugs and alcohol, but claimed to have never raised his hand on a woman, supported in this regard by the written testimonies of his ex-companions Vanessa Paradis and Winona Ryder. British justice had finally decided in favor of the tabloid, considering that “the vast majority of the alleged attacks had been proven”.
Many sordid details were then exposed. During the trial, the American actor notably accused his wife of having defecated on the marital bed in 2016. He would have taken photos to keep track of this “joke” in bad taste. Amber Heard admitted to hitting the actor in a 2015 incident to stop him from pushing his sister, Whitney Henriquez, down the stairs. Several liaisons, including one with actor James Franco and another with Tesla boss Elon Musk, have also been accused of him.
The new trial unveiled new controversies. From the first days of the hearing, we learned of the existence of messages sent in 2013 by Johnny Depp to friends in which he wrote that he wanted to “burn Amber” and “kiss near her burned corpse, to (s) ‘ensure that ‘she was dead’.
Johnny Depp downplayed the cruelty of these remarks by speaking of “misunderstanding”. “It’s just irreverent, abstract humor,” the Hollywood star explained. It’s a Monty Python reference.” His legal team has largely disputed the relevance of private messages, exchanged between the actor and his relatives, which the defense tried to add as evidence in the file.
Earlier, the actor lamented that he lost everything, that Amber Heard changed his life and reputation forever. He assured to have lost, “whatever the outcome of the trial”. The media coverage of this alleged violence has, according to him, put a stop to his career. “It didn’t take long for Disney to decide to withdraw me from the saga Pirates of the Caribbean”, he denounced. Another example: Fantastic Beastsfranchise in which he was replaced by Mads Mikkelsen.
As for Amber Heard, she appeared upset during the screening of a video she had filmed without the knowledge of her husband at the time, which we see violently slamming kitchen cupboard doors before walking away. serve a large glass of wine. At the helm, too, she described the rape of which she was the victim, during a stay in Australia just a month after their marriage in 2015.
This would have taken place after a violent argument during which the actor had the end of the right middle finger severed and was hospitalized. He claims it’s the splinter of a vodka bottle thrown by Amber Heard. Her, that he hurt himself. He then used his blood to inscribe insulting messages on the walls, mirrors and lampshades of their rental house.
The “soap opera” of networks
Even though several hundred people greeted Johnny Depp in court every morning, passions were unleashed on social networks and in particular on TikTok, where the hashtag #JusticeForJohnnyDepp generated more than 15.3 billion “views”. That in favor of Amber Heard, some 8 million.
The hostility towards the ambassador of the civil rights organization CLU for domestic violence has been very strong, Internet users often accusing the actress, less known than her ex-partner, of wanting to talk about she. According to her lawyer Elaine Bredehoft, Amber Heard’s life “has become hell” since the start of the trial.
The cyberbullying campaigns she has been the target of can testify to this. As in the previous trial, they generally followed the statements of Johnny Depp’s lawyers. It is also in this context that a petition to remove the actress from the film Aquaman 2 garnered millions of signatures. It is, to date, one of the ten most signed petitions on the Internet.
According to Jason Mollica, professor of communication at American University interviewed by AFP, Internet users have here expressed “their opinion without being experts in justice”. This trial has, according to him, revealed “the most flashy sides of the case, but we may never have the truth, buried in the muddy waters of social networks”.
See also on The HuffPost: The trial arguments between Johnny Depp and Amber Heard have come to an end