November 29, 2022

The Defamation Case of the Decade: What You Missed in the Depp v. Heard Trial

By Anna Rose

Unless you live under a rock, you probably have heard about the ongoing and drama intensive defamation case between Hollywood ex-lovers Amber Heard and Johnny Depp. From severed fingers to defecated sheets, the trial has been anything but boring and has uncovered shocking detail after shocking detail. 

Aside from the widely entertaining and unhinged plot that has unfolded, the public can’t help but wonder how this case will end and what the verdict means for their careers. If by some chance you are not up to date on the complete mess that has unraveled, here is a brief synopsis. The couple met on set of The Rum Diary in 2009, sparked dating rumors by 2012, and made it official in their 2015 wedding. The marriage quickly fell apart into shambles with tabloids highlighting their dog smuggling incident alongside general odd behavior. It wasn’t long before a divorce was filed and rumors of domestic violence from Depp went soaring through the media. Claims of violence, substance abuse, and manipulation tainted the previous idea of the once beloved Pirates of the Caribbean and Edwards Scissorhands actor. 

Flashforward to 2019, Depp filed a $50 million defamation suit for the claims made against him that he credits for the rapid downfall of his acting career. Heard quickly countersued for $100 million as she asserted that the defamation suit was put forth to solely hurt her reputation. That just about brings us to today where the case has been very publicly displayed from the Virginia courthouse. The recent testimonies and revelations have shocked millions as marriage counselors, past partners and colleagues have come forward to say their piece about the whirlwind romance. The multitude of traumatic recounts from family members and friends have solidified the fact that there was mutual abuse, both physical and emotional. But what separates truth from fiction in these claims is a mystery and has made it increasingly difficult to predict the outcome of the case. 

Drama and entertainment value aside, there have been people who have expressed disappointment about the coverage of the case as it has at times poorly covered domestic violence and the impact it has on survivors. Many feel that the condemnation of Amber Heard has exceeded the condemnation of male counterparts such as Chris Brown, Jared Leto, Sean Penn, Charlie Sheen and more who have continued their careers after almost ending their partners lives. 

I personally have been caught up in the insanity of this case and feel that both Amber Heard and Johnny Depp are both perpetrators and victims of domestic abuse. I am curious to see the outcome and wonder what this means for the remainder of their careers.

16 thoughts on “The Defamation Case of the Decade: What You Missed in the Depp v. Heard Trial

  1. Hi Anna,
    I think this is such a current and important topic to write about and really enjoyed reading this blog. One point that you made that I feel passionately about it the fact that I don’t feel that this is case is bringing good attention to the scary reality of domestic violence. The amount of drama and televised attention this case has gotten almost distracts from the bigger issue. Millions of people have to fight through horrid circumstances when it comes to domestic violence and I wish this this public case brought more awareness to this issue.

  2. Hi Anna!
    Reading this blog post today was particularly interesting because on every media platform I have looked at today, the ruling of the case has been announced. While I wasn’t one who personally followed the case too closely, it was interesting to think about how much I knew about what was going on without even searching for it. The media has a way of sharing things with such a wide audience that it normalized this huge personal drama to make it feel much less intimate than it would be for any non-celebrity couple. Now, post-ruling, I am curious about what this case will look like in the media, and how long it will take for us to stop hearing about it.

  3. Hey Anna,

    I’m glad you wrote this blog because this defamation case is everywhere on the news and social media. Johnny Depp’s win was huge not only for himself but for others going through abuse. The media spread this news like wildfire and I’m glad things worked out the way they did. Depp didn’t deserve what he went through and the losses he took.

  4. Hi Anna,
    I read your post after the verdict was announced today. I was taken aback by all of the coverage I was encountering on social media these past few weeks. Personally speaking, I do not like the fact that it was televised – it was made into a spectacle and form of entertainment rather than an issue that should have been addressed in court. Sexual assault and abuse are two issues that are notorious for going unreported and not receiving justice and this broadcast, helped reduce it into hashtags and tik toks. I am deeply concerned this will lead to exhaustive and terrifying barriers for victims to face if they come forward. I’m disturbed by what this means for the future.

  5. Hi Anna,
    With hashtags like #JusticeforJohnnyDepp circulating the internet, it is hard not to take the actors side as we have been given no type of platform to support Amber Heard. I think most people, from watching snippets of the case through TikTok, would say they thought Amber’s actions were to be laughable and a joke, as she portrays herself to be doing a poor acting job and getting wrapped up in her lies. Defamation is very difficult to prove, and Johnny apparently fought to have it broadcasted so he could aim to show the world the real truth of the matter. While the verdict was just announced yesterday that Depp won the case, it will be interesting to see how the public reacts now with Heard’s statement about how this sets women back in domestic violence cases.

  6. Hi Anna, I have also been keeping up on this case as well. I was surprised by the verdict they came to yesterday because Defamation is incredibly hard to prove. While it was clear to me that Johnny Depp was being more transparent, it only takes one vote of the Jury for her not to be found guilty. I can’t imagine how much of a breathe of fresh air this was for Johnny Depp. Its also interesting how the general public was united against Amber Heard regardless of the outcome of the trial. This sets a good precedent that men can also be victims of domestic abuse. Anyways, great post!

  7. Hello Anna,

    I found the verdict to be a bit confusing. I am glad you wrong this blog post because I was not sure how to interpret and assess the results. Having Depp win helps bring to the surface the topic of abuse on husbands too. His suffering allowed him to come out a winner on the other side as he should be. My question is will Heard be outcast from the acting realm in Hollywood? There are Muir’s she was kicked off the Aquaman movie.

  8. Super interesting blog post, Anna! I think the craziest/coolest part of this case is the way it has blown up on social media. Until I saw video clips from the courtroom come across my FYP I had no idea that the case was ensuing. As you mentioned, I quickly got pulled in. And so has everyone else i’ve talked to! Of course, the people involved are public figures but seeing the magnitude and publicity that social media brought to the case was crazy. And probably the first time I have paid attention to something like this in “real time”!

  9. Reading this article, I appreciated how serious the tone of it was. It has been so, so disheartening to open my phone to a million jokes from professional brands (that I respect) about the defamation case. I personally feel that in 20 years, posts from brands that approached the situation with a humorous take on their social media will have to come out and apologize for these posts. Regardless of who the joke was in favor of, all these jokes about Depp and Heard are taking domestic abuse and assault and literally treating it as a laughing matter. I also very much agree that both Depp and Heard have been both abused and abusive.

  10. I really enjoyed reading this article! You gave a great overview of the trial with no bias. You came with the facts and research, and I felt like it was a thorough summary. Really great writing!

  11. Hi Anna,
    While I must admit some of the commentary on social media has been entertaining, I have also found a lot of the coverage and posts around the trial to be disheartening. Domestic abuse is not something that should be taken so lightly and have jokes made about. Commenting after the verdict has been released, I also have to say that while I do think Depp deserved to win it is scary to think how many men will likely use Amber Heard as an excuse not to beleive women in the future.

  12. Hi Anna!
    This was such a great read! I hope to pursue law in the future and this case has been something so interesting to me. The interest in this case has played a huge role in my opinion. The jury has not been allowed to look at any social media regarding the case which has been a very interesting part of the case that I think most people do not know about!

  13. I really enjoyed reading your article. I thought you did a really good job at covering all the different aspects of this trial and explaining the impact social media had on public opinion. Like Kate said, some of the posts have been really entertaining, but when you realize the way its changed the conversation surrounding domestic abuse it’s hard to watch. Overall, I thought you did a really great job with this blog and I really enjoyed reading it!

  14. Hi Anna! I enjoyed reading your blog post as I have been closely following this defamation case between Depp and Heard. In relation to your post, I think you did an excellent job providing the entire picture of the case while providing connections to the realities of domestic violence and survivors. In reaction to the recent verdict, I’m happy that Depp had the opportunity to share his story in relation to the abuse he experienced; however, I’m interested in learning how this case may impact the future of the conversation surrounding domestic violence in the media.

  15. Hi Anna,
    I enjoyed reading your blog about the trial. It’s been all over the internet, and it’s crazy how much it’s blowing up on TikTok. It makes me believe that this whole trial would not be such a big deal if we lived in an era without TikTok. The stakes of this case are huge; millions of dollars are on the line. The amount of comedy that has been added to this case is crazy. Personally, I have not been following this case closely, but by having TikTok, it’s impossible to not be informed and up to date on what is happening.

  16. I love that you chose this as the topic for your blog because it has been so heavily talked about on social media. The way each sides cases have been presented and the constant posts on social media that make light of the situation is a terrible thing when it comes to spreading domestic assault awareness. Shedding light on abuse no matter the crazy history between a couple is never okay and to have this case be so public and not shine more light on the issues of domestic violence is very saddening to me.

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