I confess that every journey that I follow Johnny Depp’s trial against Amber Heard Live, I can’t help but always imagine the same thing. I listen to the increasingly severe accusations, the exposed intimacies and the apparently lived extremes in the relationship, that my mind flies imagining the actor’s lawyers trying to persuade him before filing the lawsuit. “You have millions in the bank Johnny, you lived years of success, let it be, the remedy may be worse than the disease”, I imagine them telling him in the face of the media catastrophe we are experiencing and that nobody knows how it will end.
And it is that the accusations and stories that have been uncovered paint us a bleak picture that, in my opinion, makes clear an enormous truth.
And it is that, in the end, neither fame, success nor money give any stability. Whether you are rich, famous or the most popular being on the planet, you are worth nothing if you do not enjoy a stable emotional life. And I do not mean to position ourselves in favor of one in particular, as Johnny Depp fans or public opinion in general are inevitably doing, but to take a step back and observe the panorama with a certain amount of neutrality.
Two successful people. He having become an actor adored by the world, with a legacy of films and characters that earned the unconditional love of viewers. From Don juan de marco a Gilbert Grape passing by Edward Scissorhands or Captain Jack Sparrow, among many others. She climbing the rungs in Hollywood, ascending her career steadily until she reached the precious world of blockbusters at the hands of Aquaman.
Two successful people, amassing their own fortunes based on work, economically privileged, with access to places and luxuries impossible for mere mortals. Vacationing on private islands, with constant job opportunities, literally having the world at your feet. But there they were, according to each one’s account, living personal stories that are far removed from the superficial happiness that the Hollywood spotlights sometimes sell us.
Because over the last few weeks we have heard all kinds of revelations, allegations and accusations. And it is that no matter how much you take sides or give your opinion freely in the face of the opposing accusations of each side, this legal battle is airing as many personal intimacies as supposed embarrassing situations that hint at an unstable life that has nothing to do with the magic they create in the big screen.
From the detailed account of Johnny Depp sharing his childhood with a mother who physically and psychologically abused his father, carrying a trauma throughout his life that led to dependence on alcohol and drugs. We learned details of his stages, of his addiction to an opioid medication, losing consciousness and feeling out of himself until he underwent the difficult detoxification treatment. There was talk of nurses continually by his side, relapses, bodyguards helping to move him… all while he was making millions spreading adventures and sympathy with Pirates of the Caribbean.
We hear stories of exposed penises, of alleged times when Depp would have urinated in front of his bodyguards; of Amber Heard and the repeated story of the defecation in the bed of her ex. In the trial, all the details of the lives of two famous beings are being aired, with drugs left and right, from cocaine to ecstasy on planes with a stewardess, hallucinogenic mushrooms and marijuana, a lot of marijuana.
Fights were also uncovered that led to alleged bottles thrown into the air, houses and apartments destroyed, writings in blood on the walls… and me while, thinking, how terrible to get to that point.
Amber Heard has accused Depp of sexual abuse, assuring that he threatened her with death, that he looked for drugs in her private parts and raped her with a bottle. She says she used to punch him and even head butt him in the nose. While he maintains that the ex is lying about her, that it was he who suffered physical violence. The physical evidence, so far, is scarce, while there are many accusations and testimonies. From employees talking about Depp’s generosity to a former assistant who accused Heard of spitting in his face. From a psychologist hired by Depp who says that the actress suffers from “borderline personality disorder”, and the one used by Heard who ensures that she suffers post-traumatic stress from an abuse victim. A constant push and pull of opposing stories, and several testimonies are still to be heard.
So far, neither side has missed an opportunity to hurl accusations at each other. Depp says that he was the victim, accusing his ex of lying about him to take advantage of the situation by sinking him along the way. Heard says that it was her, that she fell madly in love, but that the alleged abuse began after the wedding, coming to experience alleged moments of violence in public, witnessing the extremes of the actor as a result of his addictions and detoxification processes, until to suffer an alleged violation with a bottle of alcohol. All this bathed in insults, shouts and threats.
And throughout this process, while Depp tries to clear his name and Heard maintains his story as a victim of violence, they have brought out the apparent worst sides of each one. On the one hand with photographs of Johnny Depp allegedly intoxicated by alcohol and drugs, images of Heard with alleged marks of physical abuse, and audio. Many audios that hint at a toxic relationship where Depp is heard profaning but also Heard admitting that he hit the actor. In short, testimonies that are dividing public opinion -especially Depp’s staunch fans who do not give any kind of truth to Heard’s testimony and even crowd at the doors of the Fairfax courthouse in Virginia, receiving Depp as in his best years of fame- but, in short, they paint lives that have nothing to do with the fictitious brilliance that Hollywood sells us.
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Because there they are, those two figures who for a couple of years walked red carpets hand in hand in their best clothes, detailing luxury trips, private islands, yachts and parties when they were at the top of their careers. But also throwing the other side of the coin, uncovering a relationship full of accusations, extreme situations, alleged violence and abuse with anecdotes that will mark their media profiles for life.
And I think that is why they leave us something very clear: on the one hand, that nothing in Hollywood is as they show it and that, in the end, neither fame, success or money are any reference to real happiness. Because they will have paraded before the cameras as a happy couple, starring in successful movies while an entourage of employees pampered them and the money allowed them to surround themselves with mansions, yachts and luxuries. However, fame was the smoke that covered toxicity, past traumas and the long etcetera that everyone wants to believe in this story.
The jury will have a difficult task starting on May 27, when the trial reaches closing arguments. They must then meet and reach a verdict, deciding if Johnny Depp has proven that Amber Heard defamed him with her article published in Washington Post in 2016 -where she proclaimed herself a victim of gender violence without naming her ex-husband-. Or the opposite. And they don’t have it easy.