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WATCH LIVE: Johnny Depp and Amber Heard Defamation Trial


Actors Johnny Depp, 58, and Amber Heard, 35, continue the ugly fallout from their contentious divorce. This time, jurors in Fairfax County, Virginia will decide whether Heard defamed Depp in a Washington Post op-ed from 2018. Opening statements began at 10 a.m. ET on Tuesday, April 12.

Court has been dark on Fridays, but closing arguments are scheduled for Friday, May 27.

It is the next stage of their raucous split. Heard filed for divorce in 2016 and claimed he was abusive throughout their relationship. Depp has said that the allegations damaged his reputation and career. He answered back with recriminations. Heard was the actual abuser, he said.

He filed the lawsuit in question after The Washington Post published an op-ed she wrote in 2018. Though she did not name Depp in the article, she wrote about getting blowback for stepping forward with her abuse claims.

“Friends and advisers told me I would never again work as an actress — that I would be blacklisted,” she wrote. “A movie I was attached to recast my role. I had just shot a two-year campaign as the face of a global fashion brand, and the company dropped me. Questions arose as to whether I would be able to keep my role of Mera in the movies ‘Justice League’ and ‘Aquaman.'”

Depp’s complaint said Heard had a history of being an abuser.

“With a prior arrest for violent domestic abuse and having confessed under oath to a series of violent attacks on Mr. Depp, Ms. Heard is not a victim of domestic abuse; she is a perpetrator,” the lawsuit stated. “Ms. Heard violently abused Mr. Depp, just as she was caught and arrested for violently abusing her former domestic partner.”

Heard was arrested in 2009 for allegedly striking then-girlfriend Tasya Van Ree at the Seattle-Tacoma International Airport. Prosecutors in King County, Washington, declined to formally press charges though police took her in for misdemeanor assault in the fourth degree/domestic violence, according to USA Today.

When news of the arrest surfaced in 2016, Van Ree said Heard was “wrongfully” accused.

“It’s disheartening that Amber’s integrity and story are being questioned yet again,” she reportedly wrote. “Amber is a brilliant, honest and beautiful woman and I have the utmost respect for her. We shared 5 wonderful years together and remain close to this day.”

Depp lost a separate libel lawsuit in the United Kingdom. Tabloid The Sun described him as a “wife beater” in a headline.  The trial court ruled that the headline was “substantially true.” His appeal failed in March 2021.

[Image via Alison Buck/Getty Images]

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