The Background Behind the Depp v Heard Case

Liv Swaney


Two weeks into the trial of Depp v Heard, the celebrity case is spreading across social media like a wildfire. This is not the first time Depp and Heard have been in court, but the first time their private lives have been put on blast. Reader warning, the case contains descriptions of domestic violence and abuse, some of the contents and quotes from the case may be triggering to certain readers.

The origins of the current case started back in 2015 when actress Amber Heard filed for divorce after 15 months of marriage to actor Johnny Depp. Along with the divorce papers, she got a temporary restraining order from Depp for abuse. The $7 million settling claims filed by Heard were denied, and the two went their separate ways, until 2018.

Depp is suing former wife Heard in the amount of $50 million for defamation of character over an article she wrote in 2018 in The Washington Post about surviving domestic violence. While Depp was never explicitly mentioned, the contents of the article Heard wrote were within the time period she was married to Depp and alluded to him. This is not the first time Depp has had to defend his name against the media.

In 2020, Depp sued the English tabloid The Sun, for calling him a “wife-beater”. Depp lost the case because the court upheld the claims as being “substantially true” and Heard testified to back up the claims. Later in 2021, Depp was denied his motion to overturn the decision made in 2020.

The difference in the two cases is Depp is now actively suing his former wife Heard, rather than a publication company. Testimonies for the case began on April 11th. Originally, Depp filed the lawsuit in 2019, but no proceedings were made due to COVID.

Over the past weeks, testimonies on both sides have been nothing less than messy and disturbing. Recordings of fights consisting of accusations of physical abuse, screaming, and grotesque insults have been used as evidence. Screenshots of text messages and testimonies from officers, former lovers, and coworkers have made this case truly painful to watch unfold.

For victims of abuse at any degree, reliving moments when they were at their lowest is extremely difficult emotionally and psychologically. During points of the trial, Depp can be seen crying and portraying signs of distress as he reads and listens to interactions with his previous wife. For both parties, the trial is nothing short of mentally crippling.

The trial is set to last six weeks, with the start day on April 11th. The last day of testimonies ended on April 24th, with a closing statement from the actor being, “Yes,” when asked by his lawyer in a final question if he was “a victim of domestic violence.” The case will continue to be debated for the next four weeks by Heard and Depp’s lawyers. Media coverage of the updates on the case will continue to be plastered across headlines for the duration of the trial.