Johnny Depp and Amber Heard: The Defamation Trial That’s Rocking The Nation

Kayla Person, Student Reporter

On April 11, the media exploded as the long-awaited defamation trial between Johnny Depp and his ex-wife and accused abuser, Amber Heard, finally kicked off. Depp originally sued Heard for defamation back in 2019, after Amber Heard wrote an op-ed with the Washington Post about her alleged experiences as a domestic violence victim. 

Though this is a defamation case, fans of Depp across both the nation and the world are treating this as the trial that will finally prove that Johnny was and always has been the victim of domestic abuse. The trial is taking place in Fairfax, Virginia, with Depp and Heard battling to prove who was lying and who is the victim once and for all.

Fans are especially anxious about the outcome of this trial after Depp lost the libel trial held in the United Kingdom back in 2020, after British newspaper “The Sun” referred to Depp as a ‘wife-beater’. Depp sued the company, but it proved to be of no fruition after the court sided with Heard. “After the ruling, Depp posts a statement on Instagram saying he had been asked to exit the “Fantastic Beasts” franchise” (Rosenblatt, 2022).

Many lawyers and other professionals in law and trial proceedings have taken to the internet to analyze things like Depp and Heard’s body language and how they answered questions during their testimony and providing definitions for some of the terms used. TikTok users Maclen and Ashleigh, who operate under the handle ‘@the.law.says.what’, are a married couple of Harvard Law graduates that have become a crucial source of information to those who are not experienced in the world of law. Shannon Hill, a journalist in pop culture, has also taken to the internet to clarify parts of the trial for those following it. They have covered definitions of terms such as a hearsay, which is, as defined by Google, “information received from other people that one cannot adequately substantiate”. 

The users have also explained what certain moments in the trial mean. For example, during her testimony, Amber Heard brought up Depp’s ex-girlfriend, British model Kate Moss, and an alleged incident between the two back in 1994 that resulted in Depp’s arrest. Clips spread across the internet of Depp’s team seemingly celebrating the mention of Kate Moss, as that opened up several more questioning opportunities during Heard’s cross examination. 

The testimonies of both Heard and Depp have been emotional all around. During Depp’s testimony, several topics were addressed, such as his former addiction and the infamous audio recording of Heard mocking Depp and urging to come forward about his domestic abuse and “see how many people believe [him]”. Many people have speculated that Amber’s team tried multiple times to get a rise out of Johnny, but he remained calm regardless. One thing many fans noticed is that Depp also remained true to the vow he made to Heard in 2016 during their divorce when he told her  “I am nothing to you, and I will always be nothing to you” and promised Heard that “[she] will not see [his] eyes again”.

Whereas Depp’s testimony was calm and collected, Heard’s was tearful and very emotional. Numerous people who tuned in to watch the trial speculated that Heard was fake crying in order to garner sympathy from the jury. Both Heard’s testimony and cross examination have been mocked mercilessly by the public, with many of her stories missing details or not lining up correctly. 

All in all, this trial has proved to be a very time-consuming endeavor for all parties involved. With the trial scheduled to end on May 27, the media will have to sit through eight more days of testimony and anticipation before a verdict is reached and it is finally decided whether or not who is truly a victim and who is truly a liar.