The Johnny Depp vs. Amber Heard trial was about abuse. Yet one type of abuse was barely mentioned. And it seems to be the core of what initially ignited the defamation of Johnny Depp. As a relationship columnist, I have spent a decade in the counseling and research of marriage, abuse, and divorcing extreme personalities.
The trial illustrated the aftermath of divorce abuse.
Divorce abuse is difficult to battle. It's a strategy of manipulation to achieve a desired outcome or to punish a spouse for leaving. It's a form of control and retribution which is often centered around lies. These types of falsehoods are extremely difficult to prove in a legal arena. It becomes he said, she said.
Amber Heard knew Johnny Depp planned to leave her.
On May 23, 2016, Heard filed for divorce. The grounds were irreconcilable differences. Within days, on May 27, 2016, she filed a restraining order against Johnny Depp. She appeared in court with a slight bruise on her face.
The following day Heard was photographed, her face showing no indication of harm. She said it was because she was wearing makeup. Yet police officers who responded to Heard's call testified they saw "no visible injuries" on her that day.
Former TMZ employee Morgan Tremaine testified during the Depp vs. Heard trial. This Newsweek article highlights a portion of his testimony (below) regarding an assignment to send photographers to the courthouse.
"Ms. Heard was filing a restraining order at a courthouse in downtown Los Angeles, so I dispatched camera people to that location," he told the court.
"It's not by any means a celebrity hotspot. We would only ever send people there if we had been tipped off that something was occurring and there was somebody present there. We were trying to capture Amber leaving the courthouse and an alleged bruise on the right side of her face."
"Tremaine explained that while working at TMZ, he would dispatch photographers to locations based on tips that "very often" came from sources, such as publicists, managers, agents, lawyers and celebrities themselves."
"He added that his goal was to capture Heard "leaving the courthouse and then she was going to, sort of, stop and turn towards the camera to display the bruise on the right side of her face.""
Tremaine also testified about receiving an edited version of a video with Johnny Depp slamming kitchen cabinets. Tremaine indicated he was able to post the video within fifteen minutes. This type of immediate post happens only after securing copyright from the individual who owns the video, or if TMZ had shot it.
This lent further credence to Amber Heard initiating the leaks herself.
Johnny Depp and Amber Heard's former marriage counselor testified. This USA Today article references some of Dr. Laurel Anderson's testimony.
"Anderson said that Heard told her she had started fights and physically attacked Depp on some occasions over fears Depp would leave her."
"Because abandonment was her worst nightmare," Anderson testified. "It was a point of pride to her, if she felt disrespected, to initiate a fight... If he was going to leave (a room) to de-escalate from the fight, she would strike him to keep him there. She would rather be in a fight than have him leave."
The aforementioned speaks of physical violence. Something which Heard admitted to in counseling and in recorded conversations. While Dr. Anderson believes in mutual abuse, the reference to this concept caused an uproar. The popular opinion is there is rarely such a thing as mutual abuse.
Instead, it is what is known as reactive abuse. Where the person who is subjected to abuse reacts poorly to it. While Amber Heard alleged abuse as well as a mountain of evidence to prove it, it didn't appear to exist. What the evidence seemed to indicate was Johnny Depp reacting to encounters with Heard.
In the USA Today, article additional quotes from marriage counselor Laurel Anderson's testimony are included.
"Anderson said Heard was unsure what to do about the deteriorating marriage. Anderson said Heard asked her if she would have an "advantage if she leaves him and files with police for abuse first."
"She said she doesn’t want to divorce, she wants to want to divorce," Anderson said. "She loved him, he loved her, they knew what they were doing wasn’t healthy...She was strategizing about what to do."
"Anderson didn't agree with Heard's perception that she was a victim of abuse, and noted that Depp told her, during his solo counseling sessions, that "Amber gave as good as she got. I agreed," Anderson said.
As referenced in their marriage counselor Dr. Anderson's testimony quote above, Amber Heard was looking for an advantage in divorce and speaking of calling the police.
Within days of filing for divorce, she called the police and filed a restraining order.
Justice isn't based on gender. It's based on the truth. Johnny Depp acknowledged his actions, texts, and recordings. With a few exceptions, his testimony was forthright. Amber Heard overwhelmingly lacked accountability and credibility. Much of her evidence was not supported and she didn't accept responsibility even when caught in what appeared to be lies. I discuss my opinions further in the following piece, "Opinion: Amber Heard Truth or Lies."
I've read articles that express outrage over the verdict. I find myself asking the same question. Did these individuals watch a great portion of the trial? Or are they basing their views on a few YouTube videos and articles? If you watched a significant amount of the trial you can decipher why the jury came up with their ruling.
Or are they seeing this strictly as a woman versus a man?
And you will recognize an additional form of abuse that can cause great harm. Especially when it comes from an individual who is already abusive. Making it worse, is the reactive abuse clouding what's really happening. Making the truth harder to ascertain.
Divorce abuse involves manipulation, lies, and a need to control the narrative, and to win.
If not, the person will not get what they are seeking to achieve and they are driven by their own desperation. At all costs, they will take another person down. It happens. It can destroy unsuspecting people.
Abuse and bad behavior are not gender-specific nor is the truth.
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