After starring in the film The Rum Diary, Heard and Depp married after The Pirates of the Caribbean actor separated from his partner of fourteen years, French model Vanessa Paradis. While Depp’s side claims mutual abuse, Heard’s 2018 Washington Post op-ed tells a different story as Heard alleges she endured physical and verbal assaults throughout their relationship. While the Texas native did not call out her former husband by name, she expressed empathy and solidarity with the #MeToo movement, saying she understood what it felt like to have her career suffer for having the courage to expose one’s abusers. In 2015 court proceedings, Heard writes, “There was one severe incident in December 2015 when I truly feared for my life,” describing an incident where Depp allegedly threw an iPhone at her head during an argument days. As a result, Heard, having already filed a police report, attempted to gain a restraining order as well.
The pair eventually reached a settlement in August 2016, issuing a joint statement, which reads, “Our relationship was intensely passionate and at times volatile, but always bound by love. Neither party has made false accusations for financial gains. There was never an intent of physical or emotional harm. Amber wishes the best for Johnny in the future.”
In 2018, things turned sour as Depp sued News Group Newspapers, Ltd., after The Sun referred to him as a “wife beater.” Depp denied the 14 instances of abuse Heard claims occurred between 2013 and 2016, calling Heard “a calculating, diagnosed borderline personality; she is sociopathic; she is a narcissist; and she is completely emotionally dishonest.” Depp ultimately lost the case in the summer of 2020, as the judge reasoned that Depp had in fact placed Heard in “fear for her life” multiple times. Depp once sent a message to Heard’s former agent that his former wife was “begging for total global humiliation,” writing, “she’s gonna get it … I have no mercy, no fear and not an ounce of emotion or what I once thought was love for this gold digging, low level, dime a dozen, mushy, pointless dangling overused flappy fish market … I’m so f–king happy she wants to fight this out! She will hit the wall hard! And I cannot wait to have this waste of a cum guzzler out of my life!” In a text to another actor, he wrote, “let’s drown her before we burn her!!! I will f–k her burnt corpse afterwards to make sure she’s dead.” Speaking to his sister and producer, he demanded: “I want her replaced on the WB film,” which Depp admitted referred to Aquaman.
In the divorce’s current case in Virginia, Depp points to his abusive childhood and the mental and emotional toll fame took on him, later apologizing for his dark comments, saying, he was “ashamed of some of the references made,” and that “pain has to be dealt with humor, something dark, very dark humor.” Depp claims Heard was verbally abusive, comparing her to his allegedly emotionally distraught mother. Depp stated that Heard would use his “weaknesses” as “ammunition” to “verbally decimate” him and stayed with her out of fear of her safety, saying “Ms. Heard had spoken of suicide on a couple of occasions. I thought maybe I could help her.”
For a full timeline of Heard and Depp’s divorce, head to The Cut.