‘Paranoid’ Johnny Depp v. Amber Heard Defamation Trial Begins

Heard’s defense against Depp’s $50 million claim is that he’s an “obsessed ex-husband hellbent on revenge”

Opening arguments began Tuesday in Johnny Depp’s $50 million defamation suit against his ex-wife, Amber Heard, over abuse allegations Heard leveled at him in a 2018 opinion piece she wrote for the Washington Post.

Before a jury at the Fairfax County Courthouse in Virginia, Heard’s attorneys referred to “paranoid” and “delusional” behavior from Depp, according to Deadline, and said that they would reveal him to be an “obsessed ex-husband hellbent on revenge,” who suffered from “crushing drug and alcohol abuse.”

Team Heard further argued that Depp’s claims that Heard was fabricating allegations of abuse had a negative effect on her career, especially as they came in the wake of Heard’s successful turn in the movie Aquaman.

Co-stars from that D.C. tentpole “are getting commercials, they’re getting all kinds of different film opportunities,” said Heard lawyer Eliane Bredehoft. “These are the things she would have gotten. Nobody will touch her. She’s a pariah.”

“We’re going to ask you… to hold Mr. Depp responsible, enough is enough,” she said.

In Heard’s Washington Post op-ed about domestic abuse, she describes herself as a survivor but does not name her ex-husband. Four days after the piece ran, Disney dropped Depp from his starring role as Captain Jack Sparrow in the highly successful Pirates of the Caribbean franchise. After Depp sued Heard for defamation to the tune of $50 million, Heard countersued for $100 million, accusing Depp of deliberately attacking her reputation.

There are over 100 witnesses who could testify, and the trial could last at least six weeks, according to the Washington Post.

In 2020, Depp lost a libel suit against Rupert Murdoch-owned British tabloid The Sun when a judge sided with the paper that had called Depp a “wife beater.” During the trial, an embarrassing text surfaced in which Depp told a friend he would cut off the penis of Tesla and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk for reportedly getting involved with Heard.

Stay on top of the latest in L.A. food and culture. Sign up for our newsletters today.