The trial of Johnny Depp versus Amber Heard has been full of high emotions and explosive accusations – and it isn’t over yet.
Depp is suing Heard for libel in Virginia’s Fairfax County Circuit Court, saying her 2018 Washington Post op-ed defamed him when she described herself as “a public figure representing domestic abuse.” The article never mentions Depp by name, but Depp’s lawyers say he was defamed nevertheless because it’s a clear reference to abuse allegations Heard levied in 2016.
Most recently, Heard took the stand for two days to testify against her ex-husband, alleging he physically and sexually assaulted her, and detailed her experiences with Depp’s past drug and alcohol use.
Since the trial began April 11, both actors as well as witnesses and experts have been called to the stand to back up each side. More well-known celebrities and key witnesses are still scheduled to testify in the coming weeks.
Here are the answers to some frequently asked questions about the trial.
When does the Johnny Depp and Amber Heard trial resume?
The trial, which is on a pre-scheduled 10 day break during the week of May 9, will resume May 16.
Why is the Johnny Depp case in Fairfax?
Depp is suing Heard over a column she wrote for The Washington Post, which is printed in Fairfax, Virginia. The trial takes place at the Fairfax County Courthouse.
What has happened so far?
A month in to the trial, Heard and Depp have both testified, getting emotional at times as they shared allegations against one another and recounted their rocky relationship from meeting on the set of 2011’s “The Rum Diary” to sparking a romance, getting married, splitting up, and all the fights in between.
‘Did he just hit me?’: Amber Heard tearfully testifies about Johnny Depp’s alleged abuse, drug use
When Depp took the stand, he maintained he “never struck Ms. Heard in any way, nor have I ever struck any women in my life.” Heard and her attorneys argued the 2018 Washington Post column did nothing to damage Depp’s reputation – that the abuse accusations had been public for two years already, and Depp’s spiraling career was the result of his drinking and drug-using, which made him an unreliable commodity to Hollywood studios.
Johnny Depp completes trial testimony: ‘If I don’t walk away … it’s going to be a bloodbath’
Christian Carino, a one-time agent for both Depp and Heard, testified that Heard’s spousal abuse lawsuit resulted in Hollywood agents and producers wiping Depp from a “Pirates of the Caribbean” sequel, although he provided no evidence for the claim. “It is something within the industry that is understood,” Carino told the courtroom.
Terence Dougherty, general counsel for the American Civil Liberties Union, told jurors that there was a push and pull between Heard, her lawyers and the ACLU, which drafted the 2018 Washington Post op-ed piece under Heard’s name, reflecting her role as an ACLU ambassador on gender violence issues.
The ACLU was concerned about potential violations of a non-disclosure agreement stemming from Depp and Heard’s 2016 divorce, and urged Heard’s lawyers to review the original piece.
Forensic psychologist Shannon Curry testified on behalf of Depp and, after a dozen hours of interviews with Heard and a review of her mental health records, delivered her opinion that Heard suffers from both a borderline personality disorder and histrionic personality disorder.
Psychologist Dawn Hughes, the first witness to take the stand on Heard’s behalf, testified that Heard suffered post-traumatic stress disorder from violence she suffered at the hands of Depp, including multiple acts of sexual assault.
For more highlights, click here: Johnny Depp, Amber Heard libel trial: Everything that’s happened so far, including Heard on the stand
What happened with Johnny Depp and Kate Moss?
During her testimony, Heard recalled a 2015 fight near a staircase in which she said she hit Depp in the face out of fear he would hurt her sister, Whitney. The actress said she was “instantly” reminded of Kate Moss in that moment. Moss, who dated Depp in the ’90s, has never accused the actor of abuse, but Heard previously claimed during their 2020 U.K. trial that two people told her Depp once pushed Moss down the stairs.
Depp’s legal team appeared to celebrate with each other upon hearing Heard mention Moss. Some legal experts believe their reaction was because Heard referencing past instances of alleged abuse in this case opens the door for Depp’s team to do the same – and Heard has prior domestic abuse charges against her.
What does James Franco have to do with the trial?
At separate points in her testimony, Heard said Depp accused her of having affairs with actors James Franco and Depp’s former “Fantastic Beasts” co-star Eddie Redmayne. The actress claimed she had to “bargain” with Depp throughout their relationship about taking on certain roles due to his jealousy.
Heard said Depp got aggressive when she began filming “The Adderall Diaries” with James Franco in 2014. “He hated James Franco and was already accusing me of having a relationship with him in the past because we already did ‘Pineapple Express’ together,” she said.
Franco is on Heard’s list of witnesses, but may not testify in person or via video.
Why was Marilyn Manson mentioned in the trial?
During Depp’s cross-examination, Heard’s lawyer J. Benjamin Rottenborn brought up the actor’s friendships with Elton John, who Depp said was helping him get sober, and Marilyn Manson, who has several abuse allegations against him including those of his ex-fiancée Evan Rachel Wood.
Depp confirmed his friendship with Manson in court, adding that the two often did drugs together.
What about Paul Bettany and Elon Musk?
Franco isn’t the only high-profile names mentioned in the case’s witness lists. Actor Paul Bettany, a friend of Depp’s, was listed on Depp’s witness list, while Tesla CEO Elon Musk, who previously dated Heard, is included on hers.
Bettany’s name has already come up during the trial: Rottenborn brought up a text exchange between Depp and Bettany, in which Depp wrote: “Let’s burn Amber!!!” Bettany responded: “Having thought it through I don’t think we should burn Amber.” Depp texted: “Let’s drown her before we burn her!!!”
Who won the Johnny Depp v. Amber Heard trial?
No one has won yet; the trial is still ongoing. It could last up to six weeks in total.
Contributing: Naledi Ushe, Maria Puente, USA TODAY; The Associated Press
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