Hollywood has never seen a blockbuster movie quite like her – a charismatic man, a former leading lady, and a racing rollercoaster that has captivated a global TV audience for more than six weeks.
The one-time couple fought fiercely for their reputation – and careers – in a stunning sequel to the original two years ago, when the High Court in London ruled that Johnny Depp was a wife-beater.
Last night, it was Depp who won – and the key to his victory may have been the three minutes given by his ex-girlfriend, Kate Moss.
Moss—who was Depp’s partner for four years until 1998—was rushing over Zoom from her Cotswolds home, dismissing allegations repeated by Amber Heard that Depp once pushed her down the stairs.
Amber Heard waiting in front of the jury says she believes she denigrated ex-husband Johnny Depp
And then it was revealed that far from paying more than $7m (£5.6m) from her divorce to charity – as Miss Heard had promised – she was forced to admit to a seven-member jury that she had stumbled upon only a fraction of that sum. .
Clinged to his chair from start to finish, Daniel Bates recounts the winding twists and turns of a trial that has captivated and astounded the world.
Over six weeks in court in Fairfax, Virginia, the turbulent four years that Depp and Miss Heard spent together have been a revelation for all.
Through their highly paid legal teams, the former lovers tore each other on the details of their short marriage as they demanded large sums of money, each claiming to have been defamed by the other. The Pirates of the Caribbean star wanted a jury to hand him up to $50m (£40m) but, more importantly, made the insinuation that he was hitting his wife (the claim in a London court case was ‘much true’ big ”).
In return, his ex-star Aquaman has demanded double compensation – $100m (£80m) – saying her life was ruined by a smear campaign against her when she divorced him and publicly accusing Depp of assault in 2016.
While Depp hoped the trial would help restore his reputation, it turned into a scene of a sinister pairing.
With millions watching the proceedings broadcast live on the Internet via a dedicated court broadcast, the Hollywood love story has turned into a bitter hate.
The trial heard how the couple met 13 years ago with a kiss on the set of The Rum Diary in 2009 while they were watching other people – in the case of Depp the mother of his two children, French singer Vanessa Paradis.
Johnny Depp’s attorneys Camille Vasquez and Ben Chiu outside Fairfax County Courthouse today
Depp and Miss Heard met in 2012, married in 2015 and then split after 15 turbulent months when she applied for a restraining order, arriving in court with a bruise that sparked a slew of speculation.
The jury viewed dozens of texts, photos, videos, medical records and even pages from the former couple’s “Love Journal” in which they wrote to each other.
But bitterness in every aspect now overshadowed the love that had been lost.
Deb and his mother
Speaking in a paused and rambling voice, Depp portrayed himself as a “southern man” scarred from his Kentucky upbringing at the hands of an abusive mother.
As with his mother, Depp would try to stay out of the conflict but Heard never left him, he told the jury.
He said Miss Heard’s allegations were “outrageous and disturbing” and “not based on any kind of truth”.
Depp said that at the beginning of their relationship, Miss Heard felt “too good to be true” but then began to “reveal itself”.
She subjected him to an “endless display of insults” and uncontrolled anger, and as Depp told the jury, “I wasn’t allowed to be right. I wasn’t allowed to have a voice.”
According to Depp, she felt that he was rekindling his relationship with his mother, and Heard had a “pure hatred” of him and was jealous of his career.
In a dramatic moment, Depp puts his hand on the side of the witness box as he explains how Miss Heard threw a bottle of vodka at him in Australia in March 2015, cutting off the tip of his finger.
But after questioning, Depp had to explain shocking texts to British actor Paul Bettany in which he wrote: “Let’s burn amber.” In a letter to another friend, Depp said he wanted to see “Miss Heard’s body decompose in the trunk of a Honda Civic.”
Then there was the 2014 trip from Boston to Los Angeles where Miss Heard claimed Depp was drunk and abusive before he passed out. The court played an audio recording of Depp moaning “like an animal” after his death.
There was also a video of Depp crashing the kitchen of his Los Angeles home while drinking what was described as a “huge glass” of wine. In an attempt to explain himself, Depp said, “I’m used to two lockers but I haven’t touched Miss Heard.”
Heard told the jury that she went from feeling like “the luckiest woman in the world” when she and Depp started dating to being called a “c***” on an almost daily basis.
She described Depp as a violent and jealous man who would have vetoed the films she wanted to do because he didn’t want her exposing her body in front of the camera.
Miss Heard cried repeatedly as she described in detail how Depp sexually assaulted her with a bottle in Australia in March 2015, one of a series of horrific incidents. It happened during what Miss Heard called a “three-day hostage situation” while Depp was “out of his mind” about ecstasy and cocaine pills while he was supposed to film Pirates of the Caribbean 5.
Then there was the “cause-hunting” incident, in which Depp was accused of closely inspecting his lover, accusing her of hiding cocaine, or the time he was said to have hit her in the head causing her nose to break.
Miss Heard described calling her makeup artist to cover two black eyes and a chapped lip after Depp hit her in the head when she was scheduled to appear on The James Corden Show the next day.
Amber Heard looks at her lawyer before reading the verdict in Fairfax County Court today
But last night’s ruling invalidated her claim – the jury sided with Depp and awarded him £8m.
After questioning, Miss Heard admitted she had not donated her $7m (£5.6m) divorce settlement to charity as she had repeatedly claimed, including at the High Court in London in 2020.
Miss Heard claimed she saw the words ‘pledge’ and ‘donation’ as they were and claimed she had spent $6m (£4.8m) on legal fees, meaning she was unable to deliver on her promises. The jury of five men and two women may have viewed this in a bleak way.
She also had to explain an audio recording where she called Depp a ‘f****** baby’ and admitted that she actually hit him, he claimed.
Her Hestonian character
Depp’s legal team invited a motorcade of his staff including security guards, his property manager, doctors and nurses. Among those who provided evidence for Miss Heard were her sister Whitney and ex-best friend Rocky Pennington, who detail seeing incidents in which Depp was violent and abusive.
Depp contacted Dr. Shannon Curry, a clinical and forensic psychologist, who diagnosed Miss Heard with BPD and histrionic personality disorder.
Miss Heard’s equivalent, Dr. Don Hughes, rejected this and said that Miss Heard had a clear case of PTSD from her trauma years.
Laurel Anderson, the marriage counselor who treated Depp and Miss Heard, was among the few unbiased observers. She told the court that they were involved in “mutual abuse” and that Miss Heard “fought hard” as did Depp.
Kate and Elaine, the star witnesses
Kate Moss was called as a last-minute surprise witness by Depp’s team.
Over just three minutes of testimony from her home in Gloucestershire, Miss Moss denied a rumor cited by Miss Heard that Depp had once pushed her down the stairs.
Miss Moss said he actually came to her assistant and helped her get medical attention. It felt like a crossing intervention.
Actress Elaine Barkin, another former who starred alongside Depp in Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, testified that he once threw a bottle of wine at her and called him a “controlling and jealous man.”
“I got a scratch on my back once which made him very, very angry because he insisted it came from having sex with someone who isn’t,” she said. But there were several famous names expected as witnesses that were not called, including Paul Bettany and Heard’s ex, Elon Musk.
prank in bed
Depp suggested that Miss Heard left human faeces in her bed in April 2016 after an argument between them. His chauffeur, Starling Jenkins, said Miss Heard once told him it was a “terrible joke and it went wrong”.
But in her testimony, Miss Heard noted that it was one of the Yorkshire terriers, Boo, who did so, telling the court that the animal had “eat Johnny’s weed as a puppy and had lifelong bowel control problems”.
She denied any involvement and said it was “disgusting”.
Circus on live TV
Depp’s lawyers successfully demanded that the trial be televised, turning it into an international scene.
Millions of people watched it live every day on their YouTube channels, and Court TV covered the issue from hammer to hammer.
Although the judge prevented either party from signing autographs when they got to court, it’s still a circus.
Depp rolled into a big SUV with Bob Marley blaring loudly from the stereo to dozens of female fans shouting his name. Those same fans loudly booed Miss Heard when she showed up.
Amber Heard and her attorneys Eileen Bridehoft and Benjamin Rothenborn look at the jury just before sentencing
Depp and Miss Heard’s fashion choices have become a topic of debate in their own right.
He favored tailored three-piece suits in gray or blue while she favored muted tones and modern hairstyles in the 1930s.
On the Monday of the last week of the trial, a woman was pulled out of a courtroom after she carried a baby and cried, “Johnny I love you, this baby is yours.”
Depp’s fans have taken to social media with #justiceforjohnny trending frequently, as have #amberturd and other one-of-a-kind insults to her character.
Last night, in the wake of the ruling, the uproar on social media was only going to get worse.