Johnny Depp v. Amber Heard and the Claims Behind Their Cases

Johnny Depp and Amber Heard‘s case is with the jury for deliberation, and a verdict is anticipated any day now. Both parties claimed to have been abused and slandered by the other, and their cases each hung on specific claims made to the public. Read on to find out more about those statements.

Johnny Depp and Amber Heard have presented their cases to the jury
(L) Amber Heard and her attorney Steve Helber/POOL/AFP/Getty Images (R) Johnny Depp and his attorney | Steve Helber/POOL/AFP/Getty Images

Johnny Depp sued Amber Heard for defamation based on three claims in her op-ed

According to Depp, Heard’s op-ed in The Washington Post effectively ended his career as he knew it. He sued her in Virginia for defamation, claiming $50 million in damages. His case was hinged on three statements in that essay, and they are:

  • The headline: “I spoke up against sexual violence — and faced our culture’s wrath. That has to change.”
  • Heard wrote, “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.”
  • “I had the rare vantage point of seeing, in real time, how institutions protect men accused of abuse,” she said.

Depp and his legal team argued that the op-ed, drafted with the ACLU’s help, implied he was the perpetrator of the abuse claims without naming him. An expert explained how studios no longer wanted to work with the actor because the essay was seen as a call to action away from him.

Furthermore, Depp claimed Heard frequently instigated physical fights and hit him throughout their marriage, but he denied he ever struck her in return. He also alleged she severed the tip of his finger when she threw a glass bottle that hit his hand.

Amber Heard countersued Johnny Depp for defamation based on claims made by his lawyer

In response to Depp’s lawsuit, Heard countersued for defamation based on statements by Depp’s lawyer, Adam Waldman. Her team claimed Depp and his attorney worked together to have The Daily Mail publish remarks alleging Heard lied. Those comments by Waldman included the following, per The Independent:

  • Waldman accused Heard of committing “defamation, perjury, and filing and receiving a fraudulent temporary restraining order demand with the court.”
  • “Amber Heard and her friends in the media used fake sexual violence allegations as both sword and shield, depending on their needs. They have selected some of her sexual violence hoax ‘facts’ as the sword, inflicting them on the public and Mr. Depp,” he said.
  • He alleged, “Quite simply this was an ambush, a hoax. They set Mr. Depp up by calling the cops but the first attempt didn’t do the trick. The officers came to the penthouses, thoroughly searched and interviewed, and left after seeing no damage to face or property. So Amber and her friends spilled a little wine and roughed the place up, got their stories straight under the direction of a lawyer and publicist, and then placed a second call to 911.”
  • He also claimed, “Ms. Heard continues to defraud her abused hoax victim, Mr. Depp, the #metoo movement she masquerades as the leader of, and other real abuse victims worldwide.”

Throughout the viral-moment-filled defamation trial, Heard described violent marriage details meant to disprove allegations of a hoax. She provided photos of alleged injuries from Depp and claimed she feared he would eventually kill her.

Both Johnny Depp and Amber Heard claim their cases are not about money

Though each party has sued for damages, both Depp and Heard denied money was their motivation. He said his biggest concern was the impact her allegations have had on his life, reputation, and family.

On the other hand, her lawyer, Elaine Bredehoft, said they doubled Depp’s ask of $50 million for their $100 million counter-claim. But she said they wanted the jury to decide what would be fair.

How to get help: In the U.S., call the RAINN National Sexual Assault Telephone Hotline at 1-800-656-4673 to connect with a trained staff member from a sexual assault service provider in your area. 

How to get help: In the U.S., call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233 or text START to 88788.

RELATED: Johnny Depp v. Amber Heard: Hollywood Experts Discuss Chances of Comebacks After the Trial