Celebrity relationships have always been a focal point of public attention, with entire industries devoted to following and tracking every single aspect of a person’s life. Few have drawn more fervor than the one between Johnny Depp and Amber Heard, as their relationship—established Hollywood A-lister falls in love with rapidly ascending ingenue on their movie set—is a tabloid meet-cute staple. It’s a fairytale until it’s not.
As the relationship progressed, there were whispers of darkness creeping in around the edges; allegations of abuse emerged, with startling reports of violent rages and physical abuse, later backed by photo, audio and video evidence.
After a few years of silence, the Pirates of the Caribbean and Aquaman stars are again back in the spotlight as more information comes out about the relationship’s turmoil. Depp sued British tabloid The Sun, and the testimony unearthed all kinds of information about how chaotic the relationship was, and that has only continued during Depp’s defamation case against his ex-wife, which started in 2022. To put everything in perspective, we’ve pieced together a timeline of events charting the meteoric rise and fall of the couple. We’d also like to state that the events of physical abuse described herein might be triggering for some to read. Considering the ongoing court case, there’s likely to be more startling information to come—but here’s we are so far.
Filming on The Rum Diary begins
Date: March 2009
Johnny Depp is cast as Paul Kemp in the film adaptation of The Rum Diary. A fiction novel from famed gonzo journalist Hunter S. Thompson, the project and Depp’s casting seem like an attempt to recapture the success of Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas. Depp produces the movie, which is directed by Withnail and I’s Bruce Robinson. Then-rising actress Amber Heard is cast as the love interest, Chenault.
TheRum Diary debuts
Date: October 28, 2011
The movie is released to mediocre reviews and will go on to be a commercial failure, too. Looking for something to do in my college town, I purchase a ticket anyhow and realize very quickly that the one thing that even sort of works about the film is the chemistry between Depp and Heard.
Depp and Vanessa Paradis split after 14 years
Date: June 19, 2012
After 14 years of marriage, Depp and his partner Vanessa Paradis split. The couple states they “amicably separated” and request privacy from the media during this time.
Depp and Heard begin dating
Date: Sometime in 2012
No one can put a hard date as to when Heard and Depp began dating, but an E! report about the couple’s first public appearance (more on this in a second) states they’d been together since 2012. On June 21, 2012, a report from People mentions Heard as one of the women linked to Depp in the wake of the separation—but doesn’t officially confirm them as an item.
Depp and Heard make a first public appearance together
Date: Jan. 11, 2014
E! Online gets hold of a picture of the couple canoodling together at the Art of Elysium’s 7th Annual Heaven Gala, which serves as the de facto declaration that Depp and Heard are officially an item. The 50-year-old Depp and 27-year-old Heard seem smitten, which is why it’s not entirely surprising when…
Depp and Heard get engaged
Date: Jan. 17, 2014
...the two are engaged less than a week later. Heard was spotted by an eagle-eyed photographer leaving the LA restaurant Ago while being very intentional about covering her left hand.
Depp shows off his engagement ring
Date: Apr. 7, 2014
While making an appearance on David Letterman, Depp shows off an engagement ring he’s wearing on his hand stating it was “too big for my girl” before stating he “put it on [cause] she has the other one that fits.”
Texts from Heard detail assault by Depp
Date: Sometime in May 2014
Although they weren’t originally made public by ET Online until June 1, 2016, Heard has a text message conversation initially by a contact known as “Stephen” (presumed to be Stephen Deuters, Depp’s assistant) about Depp’s behavior. In the messages, Heard lays out several instances of physical assault, including a recent attack: “He’s done this many times before. Tokyo, the island, London (remember that?!), and I always stay. Always believe he’s going to get better...And then every 3 or so month, I’m in the exact same position.”
Deuters states Depp “cried” when he was informed he had kicked Heard.
Depp and Heard marry
Date: Feb. 3, 2015
Did you know Johnny Depp ::checks notes:: owns a private island? I didn’t! Found while he was shooting (you guessed it) Pirates of the Caribbean, the Bahamas-based island—called Little Hall’s Pond Cay—served as the location for the wedding of Depp and Heard. The couple took to the Pond Cay for a big celebration after being married on February 3 at their home in Los Angeles.
The ceremony itself looked extraordinarily pretty and picturesque.
Depp hurts hand while on location in Australia for Pirates 5 filming during a fight with Heard
Date: Mar. 10, 2015
Did anyone actually see the fifth Pirates movie? Outside of Javier Bardem joining the cast, the movie is largely famous for what happened off-camera. While Depp was on location in Australia for Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales, the actor suffered a hand injury. At the time, the accident was never fully explained, only that he wasn’t filming the movie when he hurt himself and had to return home to the United States for surgery.
Several stories about the incident will later come to light about the injury, including that it was due to the actor “punching a wall” during a fight he was having with Heard. A different story says Depp cut his finger off in a “fit of rage” by slamming a telephone against the wall and then...dipped the remaining stub in paint to write “Billy Bob” on a mirror. TMZ eventually got a hold of the photo of Depp’s finger as well as the mirror with the message. The Billy Bob message was an accusation on Depp’s part that Heard had cheated on him with her Friday Night Lights and London Fields co-star.
Heard gets in legal trouble for bringing dogs into Australia
Date: May 14, 2015You may have forgotten about this, but remember when all hell broke loose over Amber Heard bringing her two dogs into Australia? While Heard and Depp were in Australia for the filming of Pirates 5, Heard didn’t declare she had brought her two Yorkshire terriers, Boo and Pistol, along with her. Australia has an extremely strict policy around animal quarantine laws (the dogs should have been declared and then quarantined for a minimum of 10 days) in order to prevent bringing infections into the country. The situation was nothing short of a fracas and, at one point, involved Australian Agriculture Minister Barnaby Joyce threatening to put the dogs down unless they were exported home.
Depp addresses dog issue on Jimmy KimmelDate: Sep.10, 2015
While appearing on an episode of Jimmy Kimmel, Johnny Depp addressed the situation involving the dogs. “We were under the impression that we had all the paperwork done with the dogs, we were there with the dogs in front of everybody,” the actor stated. Kimmel at one point brings up the topic of Heard possibly having to do jail time and Depp responds by saying he’d fly to Australia and “assault” Minister Barnaby Joyce if that ends up being the result.
Heard injured in altercation
Date: December 2015
Although it wouldn’t become public knowledge until People published the details in June of 2016, Heard was injured in December 2015 as the result of an altercation between her and Depp. The photos, obtained by People, show Heard with a bruise and cut lip. Furthermore, the actress states she “feared for her life” during the incident.
Heard pleads guilty in court case, video apology from Heard and Depp publicly released
Date: April 17, 2016
The international canine incident come to a conclusion in mid-April 2016 as Heard pleads guilty to making a false statement surrounding the dogs. She’s given a slap on the wrist and everyone move on...until the Australian government releases an utterly bizarre apology video from both Heard and Depp. In the video, the two basically appear as if they’re being held hostage while expressing regret over the situation.
The video is wildly parodied and mocked.
Heard’s 30th birthday party turns violent—and defecatory
Date: April 22, 2016
In papers that are eventually made public through court documents and testimony, it is revealed on the night of Amber Heard’s 30th birthday things went terribly and horrifically awry. Heard says Depp showed up to the celebration late after receiving news that his accountant had failed to pay his taxes over the course of a 17-year period costing the actor a staggering $650 million.
From there, it’s been reported Depp and Heard began arguing over the fact Depp ruined Heard’s party which led to Depp hurling a magnum of champagne at Heard before grabbing her hair and tossing her to the bed. It’s also been claimed that Heard threw a punch at Depp before—and I cannot make this up—apparently taking a shit in the bed of their apartment.
Heard later stated the fecal matter was from their dogs.
Depp’s mother passes away
Date: May 20, 2016
ET reports Depp’s mother, Betty Sue Palmer, has passed away after a long battle with an unspecified illness. The two reportedly had a very close relationship; Depp had even tattooed her name on his arm.
Depp allegedly attacks Heard at their LA home
Date: May 21, 2016
In court documents obtained by ET Online, Heard stated that the day after Palmer’s passing, the two engaged in a “peaceful conversation” before Depp “began obsessing about something that was untrue and his demeanor changed dramatically.” Depp, “inebriated and high” demanded Heard call mutual friend iO Tillet Wright. As Heard spoke with Wright on the phone, Depp apparently then “ripped the cell phone out her hands and began yelling obscenities at Wright.” From there, Heard stated Depp “then grabbed the cell phone, wound up his arm like a baseball pitcher and threw the cell phone at me striking my cheek and eye with great force.” Depp would then “forcibly pull back [her] hair as [she] attempted to stand from the sofa” before eventually “striking [her] and violently grabbing [her] face.”
Heard and Depp separate
Date: May 22, 2016
Despite separating on May 22 and Heard filing for divorce from Depp on May 23, the public doesn’t learn about the events until May 25. In the statement, Heard cites “irreconcilable differences” and asks Depp to grant her spousal support.
Heard is granted restraining order against Depp
Date: May 27, 2016
Reported exclusively by TMZ, Heard is granted a restraining order against Johnny Depp after she appears in court. During this process, Heard submitted photos, which TMZ obtained, of Heard with a bruise from the May 21 fight. Furthermore, Heard stated that she “live[s] in fear that Johnny will return to the residence unannounced to terrorize me, physically and emotionally” and also outlines details around the aforementioned incident on May 21.
Depp’s family comes to his side
Date: May 28, 2016
In a since-deleted Instagram post, Depp’s daughter Lily-Rose came to the aid of her father stating Depp is the “sweetest most loving person.” Meanwhile, TMZ published statements from ex-partners Vannesa Paradis and Lori Anne Allison defending Depp; Paradis declared Depp “a sensitive, loving and loved person” while Allison stated Depp “never even screamed” during their time together.
June 1, 2016: Previously-mentioned People magazine cover story released
Peoplepublished a photo of an injured Heard on their front cover, where she had an apparent bruised eye and a cut on her lip, which they said was from the incident that took place between Heard in December 2015.
Video of physical altercation between Depp and Heard released
Date: Aug. 12, 2016
TMZ surfaces an exclusive video that shows Depp kicking and slamming doors to cabinets in their kitchen. Heavily edited—and therefore not allowed as evidence in any court cases—Heard is, well, heard apologizing for an unspecified event. Heard then asks Depp if he’s had wine while trying to calm him down. Depp then threw the bottle and glass before attempting to take the phone away from Amber. TMZ releases aforementioned photo of Depp’s severed fingertip on Aug. 15.
Depp and Heard settle divorce case
Date: August 16, 2016
TMZ learns Depp and Heard have officially settled their divorce case. In addition to dismissing the case with prejudice (meaning she can’t re-file), Heard also withdrew her restraining order petition as well. As part of the process, Depp agrees to pay Heard a $7 million settlement.
The two issued a joint statement that reads, “Our relationship was instantly 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 wishes the best for Johnny in the future.”
Heard to donate settlement money
Date: August 18, 2016
Heard told TMZ she planned to donate the settlement money among two charities, the ACLU and the Children’s Hospital of Los Angeles. “The donation will be divided equally between the ACLU, with a particular focus to stop violence against women, ad the Children’s Hospital of Los Angeles, where I have worked as a volunteer for the past 10 years,” she said in a statement. The ACLU comes forward in April 2022 to state that the actress had only donated less than have of the $3.5 million she pledged to give them.
Depp appears in Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them
Date: Nov. 18, 2016
Depp makes a surprise appearance at the end of the first Fantastic Beasts movie in a cameo performance as the legendary villain and dark wizard Gellert Grindelwald, a name diehard Harry Potter fans recognized as the precursor to Voldermort and lover of Albus Dumbledore.
J.K. Rowling defends Depp in blog post
Date: Dec. 7, 2017
As production on the second Fantastic Beasts movie is underway, J.K. Rowling defends Depp in a blog post on her site. “When Johnny Depp was cast as Grindelwald, I thought he’d be wonderful in the role,” she states. “However, around the time of filming his cameo in the first movie, stories had appeared in the press that deeply concerned me and everyone most closely involved in the franchise.”
Rowling continued stating, “Based on our understanding of the circumstances, the filmmakers and I are not only comfortable sticking with our original casting, but genuinely happy to have Johnny playing a major character in the movies.”
Rowling was spurred to publish the post after a photo of the sequel’s cast sparked a new round of debate over Depp’s continued involvement in the series. Harry Potter’s fanbase has always been incredibly vocal about how progressive and meaningful the series has been; considering the allegations against him, Depp’s involvement in the series flew in the face of that progressiveness. Combine that aspect with the timing of the #MeToo reckoning and it’s easy to understand why fans were upset. Plus, Depp’s on-screen time was so short that it could have been extremely easy to re-cast the part entirely. Rowling admitted she and Beasts director David Yates “considered the possibility of recasting,” but ultimately didn’t do it.
British tabloid publishes article about Depp
Date: Apr. 27, 2018
In a column for British tabloid The Sun writer, Dan Wootton goes after Rowling over Depp’s involvement. “For a holier-than-thou Twitterati preacher, JK Rowling tries to present herself as a leading light for women in the entertainment industry,’ Wootton writes.
Rolling Stone releases now-infamous Depp profile
Date: June 21, 2018
“So are you here to hear the truth? It’s full of betrayal.” In what quickly becomes a legendary profile, Rolling Stone publishes Stephen Rodrick’s profile of Depp. In the article, Depp boasts about spending absurd amounts of money on wine (”It’s insulting to say that I spent $30,000 on wine because it was far more”), admits to getting his lines fed to him through an earpiece, reflects on the deaths of his mother and friend Tom Petty, and liberally drinks and smokes weed throughout Rodrick’s time with him.
Fantastic Beasts actor Ezra Miller says cast wasn’t informed about Depp’s role
Date: Nov. 16, 2018
In an interview with Playboy, Fantastic Beasts actor Erza Miller states the whole cast of the Harry Potter prequel series weren’t informed about Depp’s cameo. “No, none of us were consulted. None of us knew.”
Heard releases Washington Post op-ed
Date: Dec. 18, 2018
In an op-ed for the Washington Post, Heard writes about her experience with Depp. The actress states she had to change her phone number on a weekly basis to avoid death threats. “For months, I rarely left my apartment, and when I did, I was pursued by camera drones and photographers on foot, on motorcycles and in cars,” she wrote. “Tabloid outlets that posted pictures of me spun them in a negative light. I felt as though I was on trial in the court of public opinion.”
Heard doesn’t ever mention Depp by name, but his presence lingers in the piece nonetheless. “...I became a public figure representing domestic abuse, and I felt the full force of our culture’s wrath for women who speak out. Friends and advisers told me I would never again work as an actress — that I would be blacklisted. A movie I was attached to recast my role. I had just shot a two-year campaign as the face of a global fashion brand, and the company dropped me.”
At the end of the piece, she asked Congress to “reauthorize and strengthen” the Violence Against Women Act and also had harsh words for Education Secretary Besty DeVos’ changes to Title IX.
Depp dropped from Pirates franchise
Date: Dec. 20, 2018
A few days later, Disney’s film production chief Sean Bailey seemingly confirms Depp will no longer be involved with the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise. In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Bailey statesDeadpool writers Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick had been hired to reboot the franchise in an attempt to “bring in a new energy and vitality.” “I love the [Pirates] movies, but part of the reason Paul and Rhett are so interesting is that we want to give it a kick in the pants,” he states.
Rhett and Paul would eventually be replaced by Chernobyl creator Craig Mazin and Pirates veteran Ted Elliot to work on the reboot in October of 2019. Additionally, it would be announced in June of 2020 that Margot Robbie would star in a female-fronted Pirates spin-off. Robbie will be joined by Birds of Prey screenwriter Christina Hodson on the project.
Depp files defamation lawsuit against the Post
Date: March 1, 2019
In the wake of Heard’s op-ed, Johnny Depp would eventually file a defamation suit against the Washington Post for the sum of $50 million. Filed in the Circuit Court of Fairfax, Virginia, Depp outlined that while he wasn’t named in the op-ed it was “clear” Heard was talking about him. Furthermore, Depp blamed the piece for costing him his role in the Pirates franchise.
Heard fires back, files a motion to dismiss the suit
Date: Apr. 10, 2019
Naturally, Heard takes action to dismiss the suit. In an incredibly detailed motion that outlined a number of intimate details of their time together, Heard declares that whenever Depp would start using drugs “He would become a totally different person, often delusional and violent. We called that version of Johnny, ‘the Monster.’” She continued, “Johnny often would not remember his delusional and violent conduct after he came out of his drunk or medicated states.”
Depp fires back against Heard’s statement, claims she “painted-on bruises”
Date: May 21, 2019
A little over a month later, Depp decides to take action against Heard’s motion. In a statement, Depp declares he “was the victim” and that Heard had attacked him. “While mixing prescription amphetamines and non-prescription drugs with alcohol, Ms. Heard committed innumerable acts of domestic violence against me, often in the presence of a third-party witness, which in some instances caused me serious bodily harm.”
The Daily Mail obtains audio of Heard admitting she hit Depp
Date: Jan. 31, 2020
In audio obtained by The Daily Mail from a “well-placed source,” Heard admitted to “hitting” Depp at some point during their relationship. “’I’m sorry that I didn’t, uh, uh, hit you across the face in a proper slap, but I was hitting you, it was not punching you. Babe, you’re not punched,” the recording states. She continued by saying, “I don’t know what the motion of my actual hand was, but you’re fine, I did not hurt you, I did not punch you, I was hitting you.”
Depp also responded in the recording by saying, “I left last night. Honestly, I swear to you because I just couldn’t take the idea of more physicality, more physical abuse on each other.”
Judge grants Depp allowance to pursue Post lawsuit
Date: Mar. 27, 2020
Despite the back and forth, Depp eventually got his way. In March of this year, a Virginia judge refused to dismiss the lawsuit and will allow Depp to move forward with his defamation claim. Judge Bruce D. White stated the “Plaintiff [Depp] has pleaded circumstances that would reasonably cause three of the four statements at issue to convey the alleged defamatory meaning that Mr. Depp abused Ms. Heard, and this alleged meaning is in fact defamatory.”
British libel trial begins
Date: July 7, 2020
While it’s unclear when the motion was actually filed, Depp and his team sought to bring The Sun to court over Dan Wootton’s Apr. 27, 2018 column. Alleging libel, Depp arrived at the High Court for the case, which had been delayed by the coronavirus.
Depp denies slapping Heard over altered “Wino Forever” tattoo, Heard email read, drug photo revealed
Date: July 8, 2020
Here’s where things start to get, somehow, even nastier than they were before. During his July 8 testimony, Depp denied, several times, slapping Heard during a March 2013 accident in which the actress made fun of his altered “Wino Forever” tattoo.
The tattoo famously once read “Winona Forever” but was altered after he and Winona Ryder split. According to court questioning, Depp was asked about slapping Heard three times after she made a joke out of the tattoo. Depp denied the claims but admitted to having fallen off the wagon after a sober period of roughly 160 days. This incident is one of 14 allegations of domestic violence that has been submitted for the court.
Additionally, the court read an unsent draft email from Heard to Depp wherein the actress wrote about Depp’s struggles with drug use and boozing before addressing more assault accusations. Drafted at some point in June 2013, Heard asserts that “You [Depp] have hit me repeated” before also stating “I myself watched you pass out cold on the floor, after drinking yourself sick.”
Finally, Heard presents evidence that details Depp’s extensive drug habit including four lines of cocaine, booze, and a Johnny Depp-branded pillbox. There’s also another image showing Depp totally passed out on the floor. Naturally, the photos made the rounds on social media.
Depp states that Heard is telling “Porky Pies”
Date: July 9, 2020
As the trial entered its third day, Depp told the British High Court that Heard had been telling “Porky Pies” (British slang for lies). In medical notes from Heard’s private doctor Dr. Connell Cowan, Depp was “threatened by her [Heard’s] career” and a movie the actress did with actor James Franco scared Depp so much that he went on a binge that landed him in the hospital.
Additionally, Depp’s private doctor David Kipper wrote a medical note detailing Depp’s issues with drugs. The note stated Depp “romanticizes the entire drug culture and has no accountability for his behavior.”
When asked why Heard would have told her doctor this, Depp declared that Heard was “telling porky pies with her psychiatrist.”
Court addresses Heard’s 30th birthday incident
Date: July 10, 2020
Depp provided his testimony around the aforementioned April 2016 incident on Heard’s 30th birthday. To recap, the evening turned violent after Heard expressed frustration around Depp’s late arrival to her birthday party that escalated into violence—claims Depp denied on the stand—and a shit in the bed.
Described by the court as the “defecation incident” Depp went on to say the shituation, in particular, felt like a “fitting end” to the relationship.
Depp concludes testimony, states he didn’t intend to headbutt Heard
Date: July 13, 2020
In his final day of testimony, Depp claimed he didn’t intend to headbutt Heard during a December 2015 incident that was outlined by the aforementioned People magazine article. Depp’s claim, rather, is that he was trying to “lock her arms” to stop her from attacking him, with the assumption that they accidentally bumped heads.
However, a provided audio recording tells a different story. Depp can be heard on the tape stating, “I headbutted you in the fucking forehead. That doesn’t break a nose.”
Depp’s former estate manager details 2015 Australia incident, Heard’s former assistant states Heard felt she was “above the law”
Date: July 15, 2020
Ben King, Depp’s former estate manager, testified about the circumstance surrounding the March 2015 incident wherein Depp cut off the tip of his finger. Depp states the accident was a result of Heard throwing a bottle of vodka at him, while Heard states it was because he smashed a telephone into a wall.
King was involved in cleaning up the mess after the fact and said he found the fingertip near the bar area with a trail of blood leading up to the bedroom. King also stated he didn’t “recall a phone having been ripped off the wall, or having to replace a wall telephone.”
Additionally, King noticed upon Heard’s return to LA after being in Australia, that the actress had some fresh cuts on one of her arms and told her that she “maybe should put your sleeve down.”
Meanwhile, Kate James—a former assistant to Heard—testified she believed Heard felt she was “above the law.” “[Heard] did not care about throwing anyone under the bus, if it meant saving her own skin,” James stated.
Furthermore, James declared Heard knowingly smuggled the dogs into Australia — even after Heard had been walked through the process. Apparently Heard “chose to ignore” James and “delicately smuggled the dogs into Australia.”
LA Penthouse concierge testifies Elon Musk regularly came to visit Heard
Date: July 17, 2020
Just when you think the case can’t get any stranger, Eastern Columbia Building concierge Alejandro Romero testified that Tesla founder Elon Musk regularly visited Heard late at night at the couple’s LA penthouse. Apparently Musk was there so frequently that he had his own key fob to make accessing the unit even easier.
In a statement, Romero declared that “From March 2015 onwards, Ms. Heard was visited regularly late at night, at around 11 pm to midnight, by Mr. Elon Musk. For his initial visits, I would receive a call from Ms. Heard who would tell me to give Mr. Musk access to the garage for the building and then send him up to the penthouse.” Romero continued, “After he had made a few visits, Ms. Heard provided Mr. Musk with his own garage remote and a fob to Mr Depp’s penthouse. I believe he visited Ms. Heard a few times a week and he would always visit when Mr. Depp was not at home.”
Additionally, Romero states that a few days after the May 21, 2016 incident he saw Heard and “did not notice any bruises, cuts, swelling, red marks or any other injuries of any kind to Ms. Heard’s face” when he encountered her four days later on May 25, 2016.
Heard testifies on Depp’s abuse, accusations of alleged affairs
Date: July 20, 2020
As the tenth day of hearings started up, Heard herself took the witness stand to give testimony to Depp’s alleged numerous incidents of verbal and physical abuse. According to NBC News, Heard stated that Depp “explicitly threatened to kill me many times” and that she was on the receiving end of “punching, slapping, kicking, head-butting and choking,” during their relationship.
Additionally, Depp accused Heard of cheating on him with a number of co-stars including the previously mentioned Billy-Bob Thornton and James Franco, Eddie Redmayne, Jim Sturgess, Kevin Costner, Liam Hemsworth, Channing Tatum, and Leonardo DiCaprio. Depp apparently had nicknames for some of the stars; DiCaprio was ‘pumpkin-head’, Tatum was ‘potato-head’, and Sturgess was ‘Jim Turd Sturgess’ according to E! Online. I regret to inform you all that these nicknames are rather humorous in their childishness and stupidity.
Heard admits to punching Depp
Date: July 21, 2020
During testimony, Heard admitted to punching Depp to stop the actor from pushing her sister down the stairs. “I did strike Johnny that day in defense of my sister. He was about to push her down the stairs,” she said. “In a flash, I reacted in defense of her.”
Court case concludes
Date: July 28, 2020
After a few more days’ worth of testimony, which include more details from Heard about alleged abuse at the hands of Depp, the court case comes to a close. Judge Justice Andrew Nicol says a verdict won’t be rendered until September 2020 at the earliest, but one doesn’t arrive until early November.
Depp loses UK case
Date: Nov. 2, 2020
In his verdict, Judge Justice Nicol declares the allegations about Depp being a wife-beater “substantially true” and says that “Mr. Depp did assault Ms. Heard.” Depp and his team now turn their attention to the Virginia libel case, brought on by the Washington Post op-ed Heard penned.
Depp dropped from the Fantastic Beasts franchise
Date: Nov. 6, 2020
A few days after the verdict, Warner Bros. announces that Depp will be removed from his role as the evil wizard Grindelwald in the Fantastic Beasts series, which was preparing to film its third installment. The Harry Potter prequel will later recast Mads Mikkelson in the role.
Before the official news, Depp released a statement via Instagram that he’d been “asked to resign” by Warner.
Petition to remove Heard from Aquaman sequel circulates
Date: Nov. 28, 2020
In the wake of Depp’s ousting from Fantastic Beasts, an online petition calling for the removal of Heard from the Aquaman sequel begins circulating. Despite 3.5 million signatures, Heard is kept in the James Wan-helmed DCEU installment. Producer Peter Safran later tells Deadline that the petition never held any water (pun intended). “One is not unaware of what is going on in the Twitter-verse, but that doesn’t mean you have to react to it or take it as gospel or accede to their wishes,” he says. “You have to do what’s right for the film, and that’s really where we landed on it.”
Depp’s appeal is denied
Date: March 25, 2021
Depp’s appeal over the UK libel ruling was initially submitted in early December 2020 but is later dismissed as the UK Court of Appeal upholds the initial ruling.
The US case heats up
Date: March 18, 2022
After a year-long delay, the preparation for the US libel case begins as the respective legal teams for Depp and Heard state they plan to bring a cavalcade of high-profile witnesses, including James Franco, Paul Bettany, Elon Musk, and Ellen Barkin. Additionally, text messages between Heard, Jason Momoa, and James Wan are entered into evidence, as well as exchanges between Depp and J.K. Rowling.
The trial in the US begins
Date: April 12, 2022
Opening arguments officially begin on April 12, with each side jockeying for control of the narrative. Heard’s team declares they intend to show “who the real Johnny Depp” is, while also stating that Depp was a “monster” who “would come out when he was drinking and when he would take the drugs.”
Depp’s legal team declares that Heard “took on the role of a lifetime” when she accused Depp, that she “painted herself before the world as a representative of abuse victims everywhere,” and that it was actually Heard herself who was violent.
Depp’s friend testifies on behalf of the actor
Date: April 13, 2022
Depp’s childhood friend Isaac Baruch states in testimony that he never saw Depp abuse Heard, nor did he see any bruises, marks, or injuries in the wake of the 2016 incident. “I am looking at the whole thing and I don’t see anything…I don’t see a cut, bruise, swelling,” Baruch declares. “It’s just Amber’s face.”
While Baruch witnessed verbal arguments between the two, he also states he “did not witness any physical violence.”
Depp’s doctor outlines history of opioid addiction; therapist details history of mutual abuse
Date: April 14, 2022
Dr. David Kipper takes the stand and outlines Depp’s history of opioid addiction, saying he developed a plan for the actor to detox in the Bahamas but that Depp was hesitant to move forward. Additionally, Kipper declares he received a text from Depp in March 2015 complaining about Heard and her behavior. Another text from later in the same month from Depp said that he cut his finger off. When Depp takes the stand later in the week, he says the injury happened when Heard threw a bottle of vodka at him during an argument. “My hand is on the edge of the bar and she threw the large bottle and it made contact and shattered everywhere. I didn’t feel the pain at first — what I felt was heat and something dripping down my hand,” the actor said. “I looked down and realized that the tip of my finger had been severed. I was looking directly at my bones sticking out and the meaty portion… blood was pouring out. Kipper states he visited Depp at the Australia rental house and noticed “things that had been thrown around.”
Earlier in the day, Dr. Laurel Anderson, who served as the couple’s marriage therapist, noted that the couple was engaging in “mutual abuse.” Anderson also read notes from a session that “he hits her. No closed fist. She hits back and starts it for pride because father hit her.”
Depp takes the stand
Date: April 18 – April 25, 2022
Over a one-week period, Depp takes the stand for questioning and addresses a myriad of topics, including his threatening texts about Heard to Paul Bettany (“none of it was ever intended to be real”), his addiction (“self-medication”), the 2016 incident (which he claims Heard made up, with her telling a friend over the phone in her “best freaked-out voice” to “Stop hitting me, Johnny”), his history as a child of abuse, his jettisoning from the Pirates franchise, and that he himself is a victim of domestic abuse at the hands of Heard herself. However, audio is also played wherein both Depp and Heard are speaking with one another, and Depp mentions that he’d “beat the shit” out of her.
Depp’s manager declares actor had massive Pirates deal on the table
Date: May 2, 2022
During testimony, Depp’s former agent and current manager, Jack Whigham, states Depp had a rumored $22.5 million deal on the table for a sixth installment of the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise. However, under cross-examination, Whigham states he had “not seen a document” confirming that specific figure. The manager did state that he’d learned in early 2019 that Disney was planning to go in a different direction in regard to the series and that Heard’s Washington Post op-ed was “catastrophic” to Depp’s career.
Psychologist details Heard’s alleged sexual assault
Date: May 3, 2022
Heard’s psychologist testifies that the actress has PTSD in the wake of “a number of incidents of sexual violence” from Depp. “Those are documented early on…where when Mr. Depp was drunk or high,” Dr. Dawn Hughes states. “He threw her on the bed, ripped off her nightgown, and tried to have sex with her.”
Hughes also details a moment wherein Depp, during their Australia stay, forced a bottle inside Heard while saying he’d “kill” her. Heard declares to Hughes that, during this incident, she was concerned as to whether this bottle was “the broken one.”
Hughes declares that Heard did engage in “mild violence” to Depp but that she “demonstrated very clear psychological and traumatic effects.”
Heard explicitly details alleged 2013 sexual assault
Date: May 4, 2022
During her first day of testimony, Heard—in detail—testifies about how Depp allegedly sexually assaulted her in 2013 and when she says he first hit her in the winter of 2011. These claims are extensive and deeply troubling, so proceed with caution.
Depp wins defamation trial against Heard
Date: June 1, 2022
After a long trial, a verdict was reached in the Depp and Heard defamation case on June 1. According to the Associated Press, the jury ruled in favor of Depp finding that he had proven elements of defamation and that his ex-wife “acted with actual malice.” Heard was ordered to pay compensatory damages in the amount of $10 million and punitive damages of $5 million. Heard was also awarded $2 million in damages in the Heard v. Depp counter lawsuit, after the jury determined that defamation had occurred. Heard was present in the courtroom in the Fairfax County Courthouse in Virginia, while Depp was absent due to a “previous commitment.” He performed at a concert the day prior in London, England.
Both parties shared statements following the verdict. “I’m heartbroken that the mountain of evidence still was not enough to stand up to the disproportionate power, influence, and sway of my ex-husband,” Heard’s statement read. “I’m even more disappointed with what this verdict means for other women. It is a setback. It sets back the clock to a time when a woman who spoke up and spoke out could be publicly shamed and humiliated. It sets back the idea that violence against women is to be taken seriously.”
“Six years ago, my life, the life of my children, the lives of those closest to me, and also, the lives of the people who for many, many years have supported and believed in me were forever changed. All in the blink of an eye,” Depp shared in his statement. “And six years later, the jury gave me my life back. I am truly humbled. … From the very beginning, the goal of bringing this case was to reveal the truth, regardless of the outcome. Speaking the truth was something that I owed to my children and to all those who have remained steadfast in their support of me. I feel at peace knowing I have finally accomplished that.”
We will continue to update this as more information comes forward.