AFP, published on Monday, April 11, 2022 at 04:06
After the great unpacking of their private life in a London court, the American actor Johnny Depp and his ex-wife Amber Heard find themselves again Monday in court, in the United States this time, to accuse each other of defamation.
This second act, filmed and broadcast live, should be very well attended, especially since the cast of witnesses is worthy of the great Hollywood films: billionaire Elon Musk, actors James Franco and Paul Bettany, actress Ellen Barkin…
The lawsuit stems from a column published in 2018 in the Washington Post, in which Amber Heard described herself as a “victim of domestic violence” bullied by society after coming out of silence two years earlier.
The actress did not name Johnny Depp, whom she had met in 2009 on the set of “Rum Express” and married in 2015. But as early as 2016, she had tried to obtain a protective order to keep him at bay. She had dropped her charges as part of their divorce, concluded with a bang in 2017.
After the publication of this forum, the star of “Pirates of the Caribbean”, who denies having ever hit his wife, filed a defamation suit against Amber Heard, claiming 50 million in damages.
“The platform, which implicitly accuses Mr. Depp of being an abusive husband, is categorically false” and aims to “generate positive publicity” around Ms. Heard, a few days before the release of the film “Aquaman” of which she is a star, he argued.
The actress had counter-attacked, in turn filing a defamation complaint to obtain 100 million dollars. “The futile complaint filed by Mr. Depp against Ms. Heard prolongs the abuse and harassment” he imposed on her during their marriage, she wrote.
– Intimate details –
Johnny Depp had filed his complaint in the state of Virginia, where the Washington Post is printed and where the legal framework is more favorable to complaints of defamation than in California, where the two actors reside.
After a real legal guerrilla warfare at each stage of the procedure, the selection of jurors responsible for deciding between them will begin Monday in a court located in Fairfax, near Washington.
Judge Penney Azcarate, who oversees this extraordinary trial, hopes to be able to begin the substantive proceedings the next day. They could last several weeks.
Johnny Depp, 58, and Amber Heard, 35, are expected to appear in person, their witnesses rather by video link.
Photos, account statements, medical examinations, text messages … Many intimate details risk filtering out during the hearings and exposing, again, the excesses of the hero of “Edward Scissorhands”.
– “Freak” –
This scenario strangely resembles the one that played out in 2020 in London. Except that at the time, the Hollywood star had sued the publishing company of the tabloid The Sun after an article presenting him as an abusive husband.
To prove his good faith, the tabloid had called his ex-wife to the bar. She had described a dozen attacks committed, according to her, by a husband transformed into a “monster” by his excessive use of drugs.
At the helm, he admitted to consuming too many drugs and alcohol, but claimed to have never raised his hand on a woman, supported in this regard by the written testimonies of his ex-companions Vanessa Paradis and Winona Ryder.
British justice had finally decided in favor of the tabloid, considering that “the vast majority of the alleged attacks had been proven”.
After this setback, the American actor had to give up his role in the next film in the series “Fantastic Beasts”, adapted from the works of the author of “Harry Potter”, JK Rowling.
On Saturday, Amber Heard claimed on Twitter that she “always had love for Johnny” Depp.
“It hurts me a lot to have to relive the details of our past lives in front of the world,” she added, saying she would stay away from social media for the next few weeks.