Johnny Depp: Amber Heard speaks outside the High Court
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The multimillion pound lawsuit against Amber Heard is about to kick off in Fairfax, Virginia, and both she and Johnny Depp are expected to give evidence. The scenes outside the courtroom featured devoted fans of movie star Depp gathered together to protest his innocence.
After the pair’s ill-fated marriage fell apart, Amber had written an opinion piece for the Washington Post telling the world she had “spoken out against sexual violence” – something which an infuriated Johnny claimed would implicate him.
Despite a court previously ruling that allegations of physical and emotional abuse against Amber at his hands were “substantially true”, Johnny is proceeding with a new $50 million (£38.2 million) case against her.
Johnny, who once wrote her messages in his own blood, is arguing that the abuse implications are damaging his career and causing the film industry to avoid offering him lucrative new roles.
The offices of the Washington Post are based in Virginia, so the court case will be held there.
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However Amber’s lawyers are expected to argue that she should be immune from the libel suit due to a law specific to the state of Virginia called the anti-Slapp provision (strategic lawsuit against public participation.)
The provision is designed to prevent people from being sued for speaking out about matters that are of public concern.
Amber’s lawyer insists that her account of harrowing experiences of domestic violence – something which affects a significant number of women – is very much a public concern.
Meanwhile Amber is counter-suing, having previously claimed that her own film career also lay in tatters after being accused of “lying” about being an abuse victim.
“I became a public figure representing domestic abuse, and I felt the full force of our culture’s wrath for women who speak out,” she had written.
“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.”
She added: “I had just shot a two-year campaign as the face of a global fashion brand, and the company dropped me.”
Meanwhile, she also explained that questions arose about whether she could keep her role playing Mera in the movies Justice League and Aquaman.
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She did not mention her ex Johnny by name, but given the bitter divorce battle that had played out between the pair before, there was little question in many movie fans’ minds about who she was referencing.
Johnny also lost his role as Captain Jack Sparrow in the blockbuster Disney movie franchise Pirates of The Caribbean after the scandal between the pair erupted.
Meanwhile, in July 2021, a case against The Sun newspaper for describing Johnny as a “wife-beater” was dismissed after the court ruled the claims in the article were “substantially true”, ruling Depp had indeed been violent with his ex-wife.
Johnny has since been denied permission to appeal the ruling, and continues to deny the allegations against him.
The mud-slinging began when Amber sought a divorce back in 2016 and filed a restraining order against her ex.
She was granted it, along with a $7 million settlement the following year.
However the lurid claims that emerged during the divorce battle followed the pair afterwards.
Johnny claimed Amber had defecated in his bed, providing photos, but a judge ruled the offending product likely came from one of the couple’s dogs.
Johnny also claimed the tip of his finger was severed when Amber threw a glass bottle at him and it smashed, and he then admitted to writing a message to his ex-wife in blood from the injury.
Both parties have claimed to have been physically attacked by the other, and they both deny being the perpetrator.
As the case begins, many of Depp’s fans have stuck by him and protested his innocence following the end of his troubled marriage.
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