A Hollywood Ending

Bixby Piccolo Hill, Writer

Johnny Depp and Amber Heard. Jack Sparrow, the swashbuckling buccaneer who frequents the Carribean and Mera, the redhead princess from Aquaman. This married starlet couple was one of the hottest topics online recently. Depending on who you ask, one is as innocent as a baby lamb, while the other is evil incarnate. However, looking merely at the surface will get you nowhere. While the tumultuous relationship blew up online recently because of an abuse court case, their toxic, abusive relationship has been going on for a lot longer.

The couple got married in 2015 at a small local wedding, and then broke apart in 2016 after Heard accused Depp of physical violence while on drugs and alcohol, and got a temporary restraining order against him. She also went to get a $50,000 per month spousal support request, but withdrew her request after a $7 Million Settlement. 

They released a joint statement which said, “Our relationship was intensely passionate and at times volatile, but always bound by love. Neither party has made false accusations for financial gain. … There was never any intent of physical or emotional harm.” However, this was then reported as a non-disparagement clause that was added to prevent any negative feedback for either side.

Later, in 2018, Heard wrote an opinion article for the Washington Post about how she had been abused, and how it was awful how society blames the victim, especially if they are a woman.  However, she was sued in 2019 for defamation by Johnny Depp, who claimed that he never abused her, and that she was trying to use it as an “elaborate hoax to generate positive publicity,” and accused her instead of being the abuser herself. 

Heard stuck to her story, though, and claimed that on multiple occasions had Depp assaulted her physically, some of which could have inflicted permanent damage. She also accused him of throwing a phone at her, but a police investigation showed that it was false. Depp, however, has stated that Heard was unstable, having done a “number 2” on their bed and blamed it on their dog.

In 2020 recordings were released which showed her admitting to hitting him, and being unable to promise not to do it again. “I did not hurt you, I did not punch you, I was hitting you.” 

The trial began on July 27, when Johnny Depp brought the publishers of the European tabloid The Sun, News Group Newspaper, to an English court to accuse his ex-wife of libel. In English court, the burden of truth is on the accuser, so because Depp was accusing The Sun of libel, he had to uncover his hidden lifestyle to prove that he had not abused his wife. This case was extremely important to Depp and Heard, as Depp had been dropped from the Fantastic Beasts third investment and Heard was about to star in Aquaman 2. Bad press can kill the career of someone in their positions, and this case would bury them deep if they lost. 

On the day of the trial, his two exes, each from long-term relationships commented that Depp  was a beautiful person who would never do any of the things that he was accused of. Heard, in her statement outside the courtroom, stated that she had not made this lawsuit, and that she just wanted to get on with her life. 

So what proof was there? Heard’s security manager alleged that Heard had been verbally and physically abusive towards Depp on multiple occasions, and that they had learned to see the signs and avoid the situation. Depp’s security manager was called in to extract Depp from a dangerous situation where his wife had allegedly injured him severely multiple times, having a picture of his injured finger after one such incident. Depp’s makeup artist testified that she had seen Heard the morning after Depp had allegedly abused her, and there was not a single blemish on her. Heard’s former personal assistant testified that Heard used her story of sexual abuse in her own case. Heard, however, has little to no evidence to back up her claims of abuse. Nevertheless, she ultimately won the case. 

Although Heard won the case in the English court, she lost hard in the court of public appeal. JusticeforDepp has been trending, and a petition to remove Heard from the Aquaman movie has reached over 1.7 million signatures. Depp has been removed from the final movie as Grindlewald and booted as Jack Sparrow, which might change as fans show outrage and protest this boot. 

As more and more evidence is piled up, and the public outrage only builds, it is hopeful that a drastic change will happen in the future, and this case will be precedent of the public stopping abusers in their tracks after they think they’ve gotten away scott free. But until then, it’s impossible to know.