Johnny Depp-Amber Heard: Their Relationship, Legal Battles & The Ongoing Trial

The latest trial revolves around a defamation suit filed by Johnny against Amber in 2019.

6 min read

The much talked-about trial involving actor Johnny Depp and his ex-wife and actor Amber Heard began on 12 April in Fairfax, Virginia. The latest trial revolves around a defamation suit filed by Johnny against Amber in 2019 about an op-ed she wrote about domestic abuse in 2018. Johnny has alleged that the piece has ruined his career.

After 13 days of testimony, Johnny Depp’s legal team rested its case on 3 May. Amber Heard testified for the first time on 4 May.

Before the trial concludes, here's a timeline of Johnny and Amber's relationship, their separation and the court battles they were embroiled in:

2012: Johnny Depp & Amber Heard Start Dating

The latest trial revolves around a defamation suit filed by Johnny against Amber in 2019.

Amber Heard and Johnny Depp when they were in a relationship.

(Photo Courtesy: Instagram/Siterg)

Reports state that Johnny Depp and Amber Heard started dating in 2012, the year Johnny separated from his partner, French actor Vanessa Paradis. Vanessa and Johnny have two children.

Johnny and Amber are believed to have met on the sets of the 2011 film The Rum Diary.


2014: The Actors Are Engaged

The latest trial revolves around a defamation suit filed by Johnny against Amber in 2019.

In 2014, Depp & Heard were engaged.

In March 2014, Johnny confirmed that he and Amber are engaged. "The fact that I’m wearing a chick’s ring on my finger is probably a dead giveaway. Not very subtle", he said while promoting Transcendence.

2015: Johnny & Amber Get Married

In February 2015, the actors tied the knot. A report by People magazine stated that the couple had two ceremonies - one at Johnny's Los Angeles home and the other at his private island in the Bahamas.

2016: Amber Files For Divorce

Citing irreconcilable differences, Amber filed a divorce in May from Johnny. The same month, a judge granted her a restraining order against her partner over allegations of domestic violence on his part.

Amber had alleged that Johnny threw a cellphone at her during a fight, which struck her in the eye. He also allegedly screamed at her, violently grabbed her face and pulled her hair. As per The Associated Press, Amber submitted a photo of her bruised face to the court while requesting a restraining order.

Amber reportedly wrote in her petition,

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

She added: “I live in fear that Johnny will return to (our house) unannounced to terrorise me, physically and emotionally.”

Johnny Denies Allegations

Johnny denied all allegations of domestic abuse. His lawyers alleged in a court document in 2016 was “attempting to secure a premature financial resolution by alleging abuse”.

The LAPD said in May 2016 that police officers who responded to a domestic incident radio call on the 21 of that month found “no evidence of any crime”. Heard’s legal team has since subpoenaed the LAPD in connection to that same call as part of the ongoing defamation court case.

August 2016: Johnny & Amber Settle Their Divorce

The latest trial revolves around a defamation suit filed by Johnny against Amber in 2019.

The couple got divorced in 2016.

(Photo Courtesy: Pinterest)

After months of court proceedings, the couple reached a settlement in their divorce in August. They released a joint statement that 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.”

Amber pledged to donate the seven million dollars from Johnny to the American Civil Liberties Union and the Children’s Hospital Los Angeles. In 2021, a New York judge partially granted Johnny's petition to determine whether the donations were made.

2017: The Divorce is Official

The couple finally formalised their divorce.

2018: Amber Publishes an Op-ed on Sexual Violence

In December 2018, Amber published an opinion piece in The Washington Post titled, "I spoke up against sexual violence — and faced our culture’s wrath. That has to change.”

The actor wrote in her piece: “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.”

Johnny Depp wasn't mentioned in the piece, but it would become the basis of the 50 million dollar lawsuit filed by him, naming heard as a defendant.


2019: Johnny Depp Sues Amber Heard

The latest trial revolves around a defamation suit filed by Johnny against Amber in 2019.

Actor Johnny Depp sued Amber Heard for her article in The Washington Post.

(Photo Courtesy: Instagram)

Johnny filed a 50 million dollar lawsuit against Amber Heard, alleging that she defamed him in her piece. In his complaint, Johnny called Amber's claims of domestic abuse "categorically and demonstrably false”. It further stated that the op-ed "depended on the central premise that Amber Heard was a domestic abuse victim, and that Johnny Depp perpetrated domestic violence against her".

2020: Trial Resumes on Johnny's Lawsuit Against 'The Sun'

In 2018, Johnny had sued the company that publishes The Sun over an article with the headline, "Gone Potty: How can JK Rowling be ‘genuinely happy’ casting wife beater Johnny Depp in the new Fantastic Beasts film?”

The trial eventually began on 7 July, 2020. Amber was scheduled to testify in support of the tabloid. The trial lasted for three weeks, and explosive allegations emerged.

August 2020: Amber Countersues

The latest trial revolves around a defamation suit filed by Johnny against Amber in 2019.

Amber Heard countersued Johnny Depp for 100 million dollars.

(Photo Courtesy: Pinterest)

Amber Heard filed a 100 million dollar countersuit against Johnny Depp's libel lawsuit. She claimed that her ex-husband was running a "smear campaign" against her and described his lawsuit as continued "abuse and harassment".

Heard asked the court to grant her immunity from Depp’s complaint and asks for compensatory damages of “not more than $100m”.


November 2020: Johnny Loses His Case Against 'The Sun'

The court ruled in favour of The Sun. “I have found that the great majority of alleged assaults of Ms. Heard by Mr. Depp have been proved to the civil standard,” the judge wrote in a ruling.

An attorney for Depp called the judgment “flawed".

In March 2021, two court of appeal judges find against granting Johnny permission to appeal the judge’s decision in his libel suit.

2022: Trial For Defamation Case Starts in Virginia

The trial in Johnny Depp’s defamation case against Amber Heard began on April in Fairfax, Virginia.

April 2022: Johnny Depp's Testimony

Johnny spoke about a childhood filled with verbal and physical abuse, his first encounters with Heard, and how the success of the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise transformed his life. He denied all allegations of violence, and claimed that Amber was violent towards him. He cited an instance when he was injured after Amber allegedly threw a vodka bottle at him.

The actor also discussed how he was dropped from the sixth Pirates of the Caribbean film after the publication of Amber's op-ed.


May 2022: What Amber Said in Her Testimony

Amber took the stand for the first time on 4 May. She testified to physical violence in her relationship, claiming that it was triggered by Johnny's abuse of drugs and alcohol. “I struggle to find the words to describe how painful this is,” she said as she began her testimony. “This is the most painful and difficult thing I’ve ever gone through, for sure.”

Amber further said in her testimony that when she and Johnny had started dating, he would shower her with gifts. However, she claimed, it took a violent turn in 2012 when Johnny allegedly started drinking again after stopping due to a health issue. Amber said he would take drugs and often accuse her of cheating.

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