It’s the legal drama of the century, the OJ trial of the 21st century. I’m talking, of course, about Johnny Depp and Amber Heard. After a week-long hiatus, court is back in session this week.

I’ve been keeping up with it pretty much non-stop. And, for those who haven’t been, it’s a whole LOT.

Johnny Depp and Amber Heard

Johnny Depp & Amber Heard

Johnny Depp met Amber Heard in 2009 on the set of The Rum Diary. Both of them were in other relationships (or possibly, getting out of other relationships) at the time. They shared an onscreen kiss—later, they would say this kiss felt real, noting that there was an undeniable spark of chemistry.

In 2011, The Rum Diary hit theaters. According to Amber, their romance began during the film’s promotional tour. As far as the world was concerned, though, they were just co-stars. Johnny’s breakup with Vanessa Paradis (with whom he has 2 children) was not yet public.

By 2012, Johnny and Amber were officially a couple. Two years later, in 2014, the pair got engaged. They tied the knot in February of 2015.

The honeymoon didn’t last long, though. Just 15 months later, in May of 2016, Amber filed for divorce. Days later, she filed for a temporary restraining order against the actor, claiming he had abused her during their marriage. It was later dropped when Amber retracted her allegations.

In August of 2016, Johnny Depp was once again a single man. He ended up paying Amber a total of 7 million dollars in their divorce settlement.

The Aftermath

Two years after Johnny and Amber went their separate ways, Amber published an article in the Washington Post. The title of the December 2018 op-ed read: I Spoke Up Against Sexual Violence – And Faced Our Culture’s Wrath. That Has To Change.

In her article, Amber writes about her experience being the “face of domestic violence.” Although she never mentions Johnny Depp directly, it’s clear that she’s referring to him. The media quickly picked up the story and, shortly after, Disney announced that Johnny Depp would no longer be part of the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise.

In response, Johnny filed a $50 million defamation lawsuit against Amber.

The Trial

Along with his ex-wife, Johnny also sued British newspaper, The Sun, for libel after they called him a “wife-beater.” That case took place in November of 2020 in the UK. Johnny ended up losing.

But now, we’ve come to the current court battle. Johnny filed a $50 million lawsuit against Amber in March of 2019. In April 2019, Amber attempted to have the suit dismissed but was denied. Then, it was announced in 2020 that she was counter-suing Johnny for $100 million (citing defamation and nuisance.)

After several years of legal delays, the trial between Johnny Depp and Amber Heard finally began in April 2022.

The trial is taking place in Fairfax, Virginia (The Washington Post is headquartered there.) It’s worth noting that unlike the UK court case, this is a jury trial and is expected to last a total of six weeks. After that, the seven-person jury will give their verdict.

Trial of the Century

On the surface, the trial is about defamation. Both Amber and Johnny are alleging that the other party has defamed them. In basic terms, defamation means that 1) a false statement was made and 2) that statement caused significant harm.

Johnny claims that Amber’s allegations of domestic violence are entirely false. In fact, he insists that he was not the a perpetrator of abuse, but rather the victim. Further, his reputation has now been damaged and he’s lost a significant amount of work.

Amber, on the other hand, claims that Johnny was abusive and that their relationship left her with post-traumatic stress disorder. Johnny then defamed her by stating her DV accusations were a hoax.

Complicated, sure, but nowhere near as morbid as the OJ trial. However, the case is really about their relationship—who was abusive and whose version of the truth is correct.

Plus, the entire trial is being televised. Which means that for the last month, we’ve watched as two incredibly famous individuals air out their dirty laundry for the entire world to see.

And, boy, is their laundry dirty. Here’s just a brief recap each side’s argument.

What Johnny Depp Says

Johnny Depp in court

Johnny stated that Amber appeared “too good to be true” at first. He went on to describe what sounds a lot like love-bombing, saying she was interested in everything he was interested in and that she was extremely loving and affectionate.

Soon, enough, though, cracks began to show. He noticed little red flags here and there. For instance, she got upset when he tried to take off his own boots.

Then, they started to argue more. He recalled that even small arguments would escalate quickly, saying Amber “has a need for conflict.” According to Johnny, she would become violent during these fights. His response was to retreat and he often tried to leave.

He vehemently denied ever striking her, but said he would try to restrain her during her violent attacks.

Cheating Suspicions

Under cross examination, Johnny admitted some jealousies. He accused Amber of having affairs with other men—including the actor James Franco and tech-billionaire (and current Twitter owner) Elon Musk.

To be fair, though, there is security footage of Amber with both men that appears to suggest Johnny may have been right.

Amber Shit in His Bed

This was one of the biggest bombshells to come out of Johnny Depp’s testimony. After being late to her birthday party, Johnny said they got into another fight. He said Amber hit him repeatedly. In response, he left and stayed at one of his other houses for the night.

The next morning, he wanted to go back to grab some things but his security guard informed him it wasn’t a good time. Why? Because apparently Amber had taken a dump on his side of the bed.

Later, she tried to say the poop in question was from their dogs. Mind you, said pups are Teacup Yorkie’s who weigh approximately 4 pounds. (Is defamation against your dog a thing?)

Related Read: Why Does the Narcissist Play the Victim?

Johnny Lost a Finger

One month after getting married, the pair was in Australia while Johnny was filming Pirates 5. Johnny said he brought up having a post-nuptial agreement which led to an argument.

According to him, he walked away from her and locked himself in the bathroom. Later, he went downstairs to his bar area and poured himself a drink, despite being sober at the time. When she found him drinking, Amber started screaming at him and proceeded to throw a bottle of vodka at him. It went past his head and broke behind him.

She then picked up a second bottle of vodka and did the same thing. His hand was resting on the edge of the bar and the bottle made contact before shattering everywhere. He felt warmth and looked down only to see that the tip of his finger had been severed.

In a state of shock, he took his finger and wrote on the walls, with both blood and paint. His finger was eventually reattached, although he did contract MRSA in the hospital.

What Amber Heard Says

Amber Heard vs Johnny Depp trial

Her depiction of the relationship looks much different. She implied that he was the one who used love-bombing tactics on her, saying he showered her with lavish gifts, love, and attention. He was also incredibly generous with her friends and family.

She also talked about how he would frequently disappear for days at a time, leaving her confused about the state of their relationship.

Wino Forever

One day, Amber asked Johnny about a tattoo he has on his arm. The tattoo in question—Wino Forever—was from his past relationship with Winona Ryder. After their breakup, he famously changed it from Winona Forever.

Apparently, Amber was unaware of this. When he told it read Wino, she thought he was joking and laughed. He responded by slapping her across the face. Again, she laughed, thinking that it must be joke. But then he slapped her again.

She said that after that first time, his violence only increased.

Jealous Rages

Amber said Johnny was incredibly jealous of other men and women. He accused her of cheating on him with various co-stars, including Eddie Redmayne, James Franco, and Billy Bob Thornton. During one vacation, a female friend put her head on Amber’s shoulder. Johnny allegedly got upset about that and threatened the woman. A similar incident happened with a female flight attendant.

He also scrutinized her choice of clothing, criticizing outfits he deemed too revealing. His insecurities made it hard for her to work. She stated that he didn’t want her to take on roles that involved kissing or sex scenes.

Australia Assault

On her second day of testimony, Amber made a bombshell of a claim against Johnny. She described the Australia incident that led to him losing a finger, but her version looked much different from his.  

According to her, Johnny was the one to throw the glass bottles of liquor during their argument. She said he grabbed her by the neck, ripped off her nightgown, and pushed her up against the wall while yelling at her. At one point, he smashed up a phone as well. He then continued to hit her and drag her across the broken glass.

Eventually, this argument culminated in an incredibly disturbing allegation. Amber claims that Johnny took a liquor bottle and sexually assaulted her with it. Afterwards, she took a few sleeping pills. When she woke up, she found that he’d cut off the tip of his finger and written across the walls with his blood.


The trial resumes this week. We’ll have another two weeks of testimony before the jury deliberates. I certainly don’t envy them. It’s an incredibly sad case. And while I have an opinion, I’m trying my best to wait until all the evidence has been presented.

Have you been watching the trial? Who do you believe, Johnny Depp or Amber Heard?

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  1. avatar
    Giulia says:

    I’ve been following the trial and it’s totally wild. I wonder what the jury will find.

    1. avatar

      Yes me too!

  2. avatar
    According to Chren says:

    Thanks for sharing a recap and explaining why the trial is in Fairfax!

    1. avatar

      It’s very complicated and fascinating – thanks for reading!

  3. avatar
    Simplyalexjean says:

    Thanks for the recap Katie, I haven’t been keeping up with the trials or watching them but have heard here and there bits of it from social media. You’ve laid it out wonderfully with outlining those sides – I do hope the rest of this case goes well for coming to a peaceful resolution hopefully between parties if possible, and if not the best possible outcome for each of them.

    1. avatar

      I think they both need to do some healing, but I also hope that the jury can see the truth.

  4. avatar

    I have not been watching the trial but have read a few things about it here and there so my opinion may not be based on much but I do feel like no matter who is telling the truth (probably a mix of both of them); they were likely a toxic combination in general. I think abuse of any kind is cruel and impactful on a level that may not be immediately apparent. I hope the jury gets all the evidence and can judge clearly what went on — then maybe some healing can take place. Thanks for the recap!

    1. avatar

      I totally agree, I think they had a volatile and destructive relationship, but I do have an opinion about who was abusive.

Let me know your thoughts!

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30ish Lifestyle blogger, relationship "expert," and modern-day agony aunt.
Sometimes humorous, always honest.