Amber Heard Hopes She and Johnny Depp Can “Move On” After Trial
Content warning: This story discusses sexual assault and abuse.
Johnny Depp is denying the sexual assault allegations his ex-wife Amber Heard‘s lawyer made against him on the first day of his $50 million defamation trial.
The former couple is squaring off in the Fairfax County Courthouse in Virginia after Depp sued Heard over a 2018 op-ed she wrote for the Washington Post about surviving domestic violence. While the 35-year-old never mentioned Depp by name in the article—entitled “Amber Heard: I spoke up against sexual violence—and faced our culture’s wrath. That has to change”—her attorney Ben Rottenborn now claims it was Depp who was the alleged abuser.
“Tragically, it’s true,” Rottenborn told the courtroom in Virginia in April 11 during his opening arguments. “Amber did suffer sexual violence at the hands of Depp.”
He also said the actress suffered domestic abuse by Depp that “took many forms,” including physical, emotional, verbal and psychological abuse.
“You will hear in the most graphic and horrifying terms about the violence that she suffered,” Rottenborn said about Heard’s upcoming testimony. “You’ll hear that straight from her. She will get on the stand and she will tell you that. It happened.”
A spokesperson for Depp, 58, denied the allegations, saying the actor believes it is no coincidence that they are just now coming to light.
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“These fictitious claims were never made at the onset of Amber’s allegations in 2016, and only advantageously surfaced years later once she was sued for defamation after noting in her op-ed that she was a victim of ‘sexual violence,'” a spokesperson for Depp told People in a statement on April 11. “Words are key in a defamation case and conveniently, this allegation only came after that.”
The statement continued, “This follows a pattern of her elaborate, erroneous claims which have continued to change and evolve over time for the purpose of Hollywood shock value of which Amber has mastered and used to exploit a serious social movement.”
E! News has reached out to reps for Heard and Depp for comment.
During the trial’s opening statements, which broadcast live by Court TV, Depp’s attorney Camille Vasquez accused of Heard of manufacturing the “false allegations” to boost her career in light of the #MeToo movement at the time. Depp’s lawyers also argued that Heard added sexual assault to a list of allegations because she “panicked” when she realized the “seriousness of what she’d alleged” and couldn’t back down from her notoriety as a survivor.
Vasquez also prepared to the court what for allegedly “explosive” stories from Heard’s lawyers “designed” to “distract” from “common sense.”
Depp has already lost a different libel case in London in November2020 He sued The Sun for calling him a “wife beater,” but a judge found that the newspaper had proved the article was substantially true.
Depp and Heard met while filming 2011’s The Rum Diary and wed four years later. The couple split in May 2016 and Heard filed a domestic violence restraining order against Depp, accusing him of abusing her.
“During the entirety of our relationship, Johnny has been verbally and physically abusive to me,” she wrote in court documents obtained by E! News at the time. “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.”
Depp denied the accusation and the former couple eventually settled out of court. Their divorce was finalized in January 2017.
Ahead of their most recent court face off, Amber took to social media to say she hopes she and Depp can “move on” at the end of the trial.
“I have always maintained a love for Johnny and it brings me great pain to have to live out the details of our past life together in front of the world,” she wrote on Instagram on April 9. “Hopefully when this case concludes, I can move on and so can Johnny.”
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