Johnny Depp v Amber Heard: A Timeline of Their Relationship and Court Battles

LJohnny Dep’s lawsuit against Amber Heard is pending in Virginia.

Depp sued Heard in March 2019, alleging that a column Heard wrote in Washington Post about familair violence was defamatory and asked for US$50 million in damages. Heard filed a counterclaim for $100 million.

The proceeding is scheduled to begin on April 11, 2022 in Fairfax, Virginia. Heard’s witnesses are expected to include James Franco and Elon Musk.

Here’s a timeline of Johnny Depp and Amber Heard’s relationship, breakup, and court battles, from when they are said to have started dating to the last trial:

2012: Johnny Depp and Amber Heard start dating

Johnny Depp and Amber Heard are believed to have started dating that year, after Depp split from his longtime partner, French actress Vanessa Paradis. Depp and Paradis have two children: a daughter named Lily-Rose and a son named Jack.

Heard and Depp are believed to have met on the set of the 2011 film The Rum Diaryin which both participated.

March 2014: Johnny Depp and Amber Heard get engaged

Johnny Depp confirms that he and Amber Heard are engaged, after a couple of months of speculation. “The fact that I’m wearing a girl’s ring on my finger is probably a dead giveaway,” he says while promoting the film. Transcendence. “Not very subtle.”

February 2015: Johnny Depp and Amber Heard marry

Amber Heard and Johnny Depp get married. According to the magazine Peoplethey had two ceremonies: the first at Depp’s home in Los Angeles and the second on Depp’s private island in the Bahamas.

Amber Heard and Johnny Depp at a gala on January 9, 2016 in Culver City, California

(Alison Buck/Getty Images)

May 2016: Amber Heard files for divorce

Amber Heard files for divorce from Johnny Depp, arguing irreconcilable differences exist. That same month, a judge grants Heard a restraining order against Depp for allegations of family violence on her part.

In an affidavit, Heard alleges that Depp threw a cell phone at her during a fight, hitting her in the eye and cheek, and that he yelled at her, punched her, violently grabbed her face and pulled her hair. According to The Associated Press, she gives the court a photo of her bruised face when she requests the restraining order.

Heard is seen with “a bruise on her right cheek below her eye,” according to AP, during a court appearance.

“During the entirety of our relationship, Johnny has been verbally and physically abusive to me,” Heard writes in the application. “I endured excessive emotional, verbal and physical abuse from Johnny, including angry, hostile, humiliating and threatening assaults whenever I questioned his authority or disagreed with him.”

She also writes: “I live in fear that Johnny will return to (our home) unannounced to terrorize me, physically and emotionally.”

Depp has denied the allegations of family abuse. His attorneys alleged in a 2016 court document that Heard was “attempting to secure a premature financial resolution by alleging abuse.”

The Los Angeles Police Department said in May 2016 that police officers who responded to a radio call about a domestic incident on May 21 found “no evidence of any crime.” Los Angeles police have since been subpoenaed by Heard’s legal team in connection with that same call as part of the ongoing defamation court case between Heard and Depp.

Amber Heard’s attorney Samantha Spector (L) arrives for a court appearance on August 9, 2016 in Los Angeles.

(Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)

August 2016: Johnny Depp and Amber Heard agree to their divorce

After months of contentious proceedings, Depp and Heard reach an agreement on their divorce.

“Our relationship was intensely passionate and at times volatile, but always bound together by love,” the couple said in a joint statement at the time. “Neither party has made false accusations for financial gain. There was never any intention of physical or emotional harm.”

Heard agrees to donate Depp’s $7 million to the American Civil Liberties Union and Children’s Hospital Los Angeles. (In August 2021, a New York judge partially granted a request by Depp to determine whether these donations had been made.)

January 2017: The divorce is official

Depp and Heard formally finalize their divorce.

“We are all pleased to put this unpleasant chapter in the life of Mr. Depp and his family behind us,” writes Depp’s lawyer, Laura Wasser, in a statement. “The fact that the request for registration of the dissolution judgment has been granted has made today a particularly lucky Friday the 13th.”

Heard’s attorney tells Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Carl H Moor that his client “would be very happy to get on with her life.”

June 2018: Johnny Depp sues over the owner of The Sun

On June 1, 2018, Depp sues News Group Newspapers, the company that publishes The Sunfor alleged defamation due to an article published in the tabloid newspaper in April of that year, with the headline: “Gone Potty: How can JK Rowling be ‘genuinely happy’ casting wife beater Johnny Depp in the new Fantastic Beasts film?” (“Insane: How is it possible that JK Rowling is “genuinely happy” about the participation of Johnny Depp, the wife beater, in the new film of Fantastic Beasts?”).

Depp would subsequently lose the case.

December 2018: Amber Heard publishes an opinion piece

On December 18, 2018, Amber Heard publishes an opinion piece on Washington Post titled: “I spoke up against sexual violence — and faced our culture’s wrath. That has to change” (“I spoke out against sexual violence and faced the wrath of our culture. That has to change”).

There, she writes: “Like many women, she had been sexually harassed and assaulted when she was of college age. But I kept quiet, I did not expect to file complaints to do justice. And I didn’t see myself as a victim.”

“Then two years ago I became a public figure representing family abuse and felt the full force of our culture’s anger at women speaking up.”

Depp is not mentioned by name in the op-ed. The op-ed would later become the basis of Depp’s $50 million libel lawsuit that names Heard as a defendant.

March 2019: Johnny Depp sues Amber Heard

Depp files a $50 million lawsuit against Heard, alleging that she defamed him in her op-ed Washington Post.

“The op-ed relied on the central premise that Ms. Heard was a victim of domestic abuse and that Mr. Depp perpetrated domestic violence against her,” the complaint alleges in part, calling the domestic abuse claim “categorical.” and demonstrably false.

Amber Heard makes a statement as she leaves court following the final day of Johnny Depp’s libel trial against News Group Newspapers in London on July 28, 2020.

(NIKLAS HALLE’N/AFP via Getty Images)

July 2020: Johnny Depp’s lawsuit againstThe Sun comes to trial

The trial begins on July 7, 2020 in London. Johnny Depp and Amber Heard arrive at the High Court of Justice, where Heard was scheduled to testify in support of TheSun.

Depp’s lawyers argue that he is seeking “vindication,” not money, and Depp himself denies the allegations of family abuse. A Heard spokesperson tells Vanity Fair that Heard “never asked for these procedures to be carried out” and “has tried to move on with her life.”

The trial lasts three weeks, and explosive allegations emerge as part of the evidence and testimony. The process concludes at the end of July.

Johnny Depp leaves the courthouse on July 28, 2020 in London

(Stuart C Wilson/Getty Images)

August 2020: Amber Heard countersuit

Heard files a $100 million counterclaim against Depp in response to his defamation suit, accusing him of allegedly orchestrating a “smear campaign” against her and describing his own suit as a continuation of “mistreatment and harassment.”

In the application, Heard asks the court to grant her immunity from Depp’s lawsuit and requests compensatory damages of “not more than $100 million,” specifying that this is “double the amount Depp claimed against Heard.”

November 2020: Johnny Depp loses his defamation battle againstThe Sun

The court rules in favor of The Sun in the defamation lawsuit. Judge Andrew Nicol said the defendants had shown their claims about Depp to be “substantially true,” The Associated Press reports at the time.

“I have found that the vast majority of Depp’s alleged attacks on Heard have been proven in the civil standard,” the judge writes in a ruling.

A lawyer for Depp says the ruling is “so flawed that it would be ridiculous for Depp not to appeal this decision.”

March 2021: Johnny Depp is denied permission to appeal defeat at thecase ofThe Sun

Two appeals court judges refuse to grant Depp permission to appeal the judge’s decision in his defamation lawsuit against TheSun.

According to the AP, Judges James Dingemans and Nicholas Underhill ruled that the original hearing was “full and fair” and that the judge’s decisions “have not even been shown to be tainted by any error of approach or error of law.”

Dingemans and Underhill found that “the appeal has no real prospect of success and no other compelling reason for it to be heard.”

“It is clear from reading the sentence as a whole that the judge based his conclusions on each of the incidents on his extremely detailed review of the evidence specific to each incident,” they said.

“In such an approach, there was little need or room for the judge to give weight to any overall assessment of Heard’s credibility.”

Amber Heard walks the runway at Paris Fashion Week on October 3, 2021 in Paris, France

(Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images For L’Oreal)

April 11, 2022: Defamation case will go to trial in Virginia

The trial in Depp’s libel case against Heard is scheduled to begin on April 11, 2022, in Fairfax, Virginia. (Washington Postwhere Heard’s opinion piece was published, has its printing facilities in that state).

Heard’s witnesses are expected to include James Franco and Elon Musk, who are listed as potential witnesses who may participate via video link.

Depp recently suffered a significant setback when the judge in the case, Virginia Judge Penney Azcarate, found that Heard could argue that his opinion piece was about a matter of public interest.

According to the AP, Depp’s legal team had tried to argue that Heard shouldn’t be able to hide behind Virginia’s anti-SLAPP legislation. Anti-SLAPP (Anti-Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation) laws are designed to protect people from being sued when they speak out on matters of public concern.

Judge Azcarate ruled that Heard could, in fact, invoke Virginia’s anti-SLAPP legislation in her defense and argue to the jury that it should apply to her op-ed.

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