Fairfax, VA

Developments in Johnny Depp's Defamation Lawsuit

Bridget Mulroy

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Johnny Depp's fate weighs in the balances of a Virginia courtroom.(GwenGoat/iStock)

Three weeks have passed since Johnny Depp’s defamation trial against ex-wife Amber Heard began. Depp is suing for $50 million after Heard wrote an article claiming she was a victim of domestic violence where Depp was the abuser. Heard is countersuing for $100 million.

Their relationship has been broken down and picked apart over the last three weeks in the courtroom in Fairfax, Virginia. Jurors are hearing two completely different stories. Despite both Depp and Heard denying allegations of abuse, they’re hurling very vivid descriptions of a tumultuously abusive relationship at each other.

At roughly halfway through the trial, there have been a few significant points jurors are focused on. 

Amber Heard’s integrity came into question during the trial. She pledged to donate $7 million from her divorce settlement to the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and the Children’s Hospital of Los Angeles. ACLU executive Terence Dougherty testified that the organization received only $1.3 million from Heard.

Since Heard admitted to struggling financially in 2019, jurors have to consider her inability to pay the pledge as further ammunition in her case today.

Another development in the trial happened when Depp’s witness, Dr. Shannon Curry – a forensic psychologist, testified that she believed Heard suffered from a borderline personality disorder and histrionic personality disorder. She described the symptoms of each disorder as “a lot of anger, cruelty toward people less powerful and attention-seeking”

Most of Heard’s behavior has been described as violent and erratic. Dr. Curry eluded this behavior stemming from a fear of abandonment and someone making desperate attempts to prevent their fear from happening.

Dr. Curry’s testimony has since been criticized by domestic violence advocates. The manner of her diagnosis exemplifies the outcome of other domestic violence cases as it could further discredit victims in other situations. Since the key players of this trial are all celebrity socialites, their stories can give domestic violence a skewed stigma.

Equally as important, Depp’s drug and alcohol abuse came into question during the trial. Depp was alleged to have blacked out around his children during a family holiday in the Bahamas. 

While the two have been divorced for about five years, their relationship continues to affect both their ability to move on. The Pirates of the Caribean actor has been disassociated from the movie’s franchise since the defamation case has come into question.

Depp’s testimony wrapped up this week, but the ending didn’t disappoint. Videos of the couple fighting and making a scene were played in the courtroom to which Heard shouted at Depp, “Tell the world, Johnny!" She continued to shout, "Tell them I, Johnny Depp – a man – I'm a victim too of domestic violence.”

Depp’s only response was, “Yes, I am.”

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Working formerly as a ghostwriter for a well-known New York magazine, Bridget Mulroy won two prestigious writing awards. As a writer, she takes a keen interest in topics that impact people's lives and will leave no stone unturned to share a story. Each of Bridget Mulroy's publications on the NewsBreak platform explores change and encourages readers to think beyond the limitations of the world they thought they knew.

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