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Johnny Depp v Amber Heard trial: When did their relationship begin and how long were they together?

Former couple Johnny Depp and Amber Heard are locked in a high-profile defamation lawsuit over Heard’s claims of domestic abuse.

Update:
Actor Amber Heard leaves during a break in the courtroom during closing arguments during her ex-husband Johnny Depp's defamation case against her at the Fairfax County Circuit Courthouse in Fairfax, Virginia, U.S., May 27, 2022. Steve Helber/Pool via REUTERS
POOLREUTERS

Hollywood actors Johnny Depp and Amber Heard are waiting for the veredict in a $50 million defamation case, some seven years after embarking on a marriage that quickly fell apart amid claims by Heard of domestic abuse. The dramatic trial is about to come to an end and maybe it is time to look back to where all of this started.

Depp has brought the lawsuit against Heard over an op-ed she wrote in the Washington Post in 2018, in which she didn’t mention her former husband by name, but described herself as a “public figure representing domestic abuse”. Heard, best known for her role in the 2018 superhero film Aquaman, is countersuing Depp for $100 million.

Depp and Heard met 13 years ago

Depp and Heard first met in 2009 while shooting the movie The Rum Diary, in which both starred. During his testimony at the Circuit Court of Fairfax County, Depp recalled the on-set chemistry between the pair, who were both in relationships at the time. “There was a scene where I’m taking a shower and then she comes into the room and she opens the shower and we kiss,” he said. “And that moment was… it felt like something that I shouldn’t be feeling, because she had her wife and I had Vanessa [Paradis, Depp’s then-partner] and kiddies.”

By 2012, Depp and Heard had begun dating, and in January 2014 were reported to have become engaged. They married in February 2015. According to the magazine People, they tied the knot at Depp’s home in Los Angeles, before heading to the 58-year-old’s private island in the Bahamas for a second wedding ceremony in front of “only a few dozen of their closest family and friends”.

Heard files for divorce a little over a year into marriage

However, 15 months later, in May 2016, Heard filed for divorce. She also took out a temporary restraining order against Depp, claiming he had been “verbally and physically abusive” to her throughout their relationship. “Johnny has had a long-held and widely-acknowledged public and private history of drug and alcohol abuse,” the 36-year-old said in her complaint. “He has a short fuse.”

In August 2016, the couple then reached a divorce settlement, with Heard pledging to donate the $7 million Depp had agreed to pay her to the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and the Children’s Hospital of Los Angeles.

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Washington Post article leads to lawsuit

Just over two years later, Heard, who is an ambassador for women’s rights with the ACLU, penned an op-ed in the Post entitled: “I spoke up against sexual violence - and faced our culture’s wrath. That has to change”. In the article, she said she had lost work over her allegations of domestic abuse.

“Like many women, I had been harassed and sexually assaulted by the time I was of college age. But I kept quiet - I did not expect filing complaints to bring justice. And I didn’t see myself as a victim. Then two years ago, I became a public figure representing domestic abuse, and I felt the full force of our culture’s wrath for women who speak out.

A movie I was attached to recast my role. I had just shot a two-year campaign as the face of a global fashion brand, and the company dropped me.”

Depp denies being violent towards Heard, and indeed alleges that she abused him. He launched his defamation suit against his former wife in 2019, arguing that he has lost acting roles as a result of her Post piece.

Depp speaks with a member of his legal team during his $50 million defamation case against ex-wife Amber Heard at the Fairfax County Circuit Courthouse in Fairfax, Virginia.
Full screen
Depp speaks with a member of his legal team during his $50 million defamation case against ex-wife Amber Heard at the Fairfax County Circuit Courthouse in Fairfax, Virginia.POOLREUTERS

Depp fails in libel lawsuit against The Sun

In 2020, Depp also sued the newspaper The Sun for libel in the UK, over a 2018 article that described him as a “wife beater”. He lost the case, however, after the court found that The Sun had proven the contents of the article to be “substantially true”.

Watch the Depp vs Heard defamation trial live

Depp’s defamation case against Heard is now in its fifth week. Follow live video of the trial.

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