Mike Vulpo & Gabrielle Chung
Content warning: This story discusses sexual assault and abuse.
Johnny Depp and Amber Heard are ready for a battle in the courtroom.
More than five years after their breakup, Depp’s $50 million defamation lawsuit against his ex-wife is taking center stage in a Virginia courtroom. In opening statements shared on April 12, Depp’s lawyers argued that Heard ruined the actor’s reputation by “choosing to lie about him for her own personal benefit.”
Back in 2018, Heard wrote an essay for the Washington Post in which she described herself as a “public figure representing domestic abuse.” Although the article never mentioned Depp by name, his attorneys previously said in court documents that Heard’s op-ed was all part of an “elaborate hoax.”
The Pirates of the Caribbean star also claimed in court documents that Heard concocted her story in the hopes of generating “positive publicity” and to “advance her career.”
Days before the trial began, Heard made a rare statement on Instagram announcing a break from social media.
“Johnny is suing me for an op-ed I wrote in the Washington Post, in which I recounted my experience of violence and domestic abuse,” she wrote on April 9. “I wrote about the price women pay for speaking out against men in power. I continue to pay that price, but hopefully when this case concludes, I can move on and so can Johnny.”
As the trial continues and is broadcast live on TV, E! News is keeping track of the biggest revelations from both sides. Keep reading to get the latest before a jury reaches a verdict.
Johnny Depp Defends His “Burn Amber” Texts With Paul Bettany
During a redirect on April 25, Depp told the court that his 2013 text exchange with his friend Bettany—in which he wrote in part, “Let’s burn Amber!!! Let’s drown her before we burn her!!”—was a reference to a Monty Python sketch about burning witches.
“This is a film that we’d all watched when we were 10, and it’s just irreverent and abstract humor,” he said. “That’s what we were referring to in those texts.”
While the texts did show Bettany rebuffing the idea, Depp testified that Heard had an “abominable” relationship with the WandaVision actor.
“Ms. Heard despised Mr. Bettany because mainly we had become such close friends. For her, he was a threat and would take me away from her,” Depp said. “If Paul Bettany was getting attention from me, that was a showstopper. It would cause all kinds of unpleasantries.”