Divorced stars Johnny Depp and Amber Heard are duking it out in a suburban courtroom near Washington, D.C. The issue is libel. Depp decided to sue his ex-wife for $50 million after Heard wrote in support of the Violence Against Women Act that drew on her own experiences as a survivor of domestic abuse and sexual assault.
“Like many women, I had been harassed and sexually assaulted by the time I was of college age,” Heard wrote. “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.”
Heard’s essay in the Washington Times does not name specific perpetrators, but it contains claims against Depp the actress raised during their 2016 divorce. Those issues were never resolved and the dissolution of their year-long marriage was settled out of court. Under the scrutiny of entertainment media, Depp and Heard jointly issued a statement reading: “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”.
Depp, 58, is claiming that Heard, 35, defamed him in her essay because, lawyers say, it refers to allegations she’s made before.
The libel trial began in Fairfax, Va., with seven jurors and four alternates, who, as part of the screening process, were asked if they were aware of Depp’s work in various films.
The trial is expected to last a month.