The legal battle between actor Johnny Depp and his ex-wife, actress Amber Heard continues to develop. As the time before the defamation lawsuit shortens, the Pirates of the Caribbean actor has been granted access to Heard’s phone records by the Virginia court.
The two Hollywood stars met on the set of The Rum Diary (2011) before marrying in 2015. Shortly after, Depp and Heard divorced and domestic abuse allegations were made by both sides. Over the years that followed, lawsuits and court cases ensued, with the $50 million defamation suit made by Depp going to court in Fairfax County, Virginia in April next year.
Prior to this, the Captain Jack Sparrow actor sued British tabloid The Sun and Dan Wootton after the publication — which is owned by News Group Newspapers — called him a “wife-beater “. Multiple people offered testimony in the libel lawsuit with Justice Andrew Nicol finding Heard’s allegation of domestic violence substantially true despite support from Depp’s ex-partners, Vanessa Paradis and Winona Ryder. Depp lost his libel case appeal in London earlier this year despite his own allegation that it was he who was the victim of domestic abuse.
As a result, his time with the Disney Pirates of the Caribbean franchise is currently up in the air. As for his role as Gellert Grindelwald in JK Rowling’s Fantastic Beasts franchise, Depp resigned from the third installment when asked to by Warner Bros. leading to Mads Mikkelsen carrying on the Dark Wizard’s legacy.
Heard is currently filming director James Wan’s Aquaman (2018) sequel, Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom (2022), where she is reprising her role as Mera alongside Jason Mamoa’s Arthur Curry/Aquaman. The contrasting effects the lawsuits have had on both parties have been noticed by Depp fans in particular, with #JusticeForJohnnyDepp and #FireAmberHeard often trending on social media.
Now, as court rulings build in relation to the defamation suit — the lawsuit Depp took against Heard after she published an OpEd in The Washington Post in 2018 — the actor has been granted access to Heard’s phone records. The move comes from Depp’s lawyer who aims to prove that the images Heard used as proof of a physical attack were fabricated.
From The Independent:
Depp’s lawyer said: “Ms Heard’s counsel has repeatedly used these phony photographs at deposition.” He also claimed that the LAPD “disavowed the photographs” and “did not depict what they saw”.
Heard’s claims from the 2016 physical assault include that she suffered “two black eyes, a broken nose, and a broken lip” at the hands of the Pirates actor. The report continues:
In response, Heard’s attorney stated: “Amber Heard remains willing and able to support the authenticity of her evidence, and her IT forensics expert has cooperated in this effort. In sharp contrast, Mr Depp has been unable to produce even the audio tapes from which he leaked a partial out-of-context portion, much less any support for the authenticity of any of his evidence.”
With this latest ruling, the #JusticeForJohnnyDepp trend reignited on social media with many of Depp’s loyal fans voicing their thoughts on the developing situation regarding Heard’s allegations. This new ruling also comes at the one-year mark since Depp’s resignation from Fantastic Beasts and his role as Grindelwald, further adding to the outcry.
The phone record ruling is just the latest in the defamation case which also comes a year after Depp’s libel trial against The Sun. Heard’s team has repeatedly tried to get Depp’s lawsuit tossed out of court with Judge Penney Azcarate eventually ruling in favor of Depp and sending the defamation to court next year. In addition, Heard’s donations of her divorce settlement to the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) have once again been called into question, with the court now requiring receipts for these reported amounts. She has also allegedly pulled the LAPD back into proceedings by requesting records and footage from the night police were called to her apartment over the alleged incident.
In a separate case, and amid filming for the Aquaman sequel, Heard is now reportedly facing an FBI-backed perjury investigation as Australian officials reopen the historic controversy surrounding her entry into Australia with her two Yorkshire terriers without declaring and quarantining them.
As for Depp, the actor recently won the prestigious lifetime achievement award — the Donostia Award — at the San Sebastian Film Festival and called out that “no is safe” from cancel culture.
The defamation lawsuit with each party’s legal team will go to court in April 2022.
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