What is going on with Johnny Depp and Amber Heard?

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Tessa Pauls, Editor in Cheif

Hollywood has been a breeding ground for relationship failures, toxic relationships, and even abusive relationships. One of the more notable abusive relationships in Hollywood was when Melissa Benoist shared her story of dealing with abuse from her ex-husband Blake Jenner. She is one of few women in the public eye to open up about abuse she received and sadly, she received backlash due to non-believing fans because of the image Jenner projected. 

A similar issue is now happening with Actor Johnny Depp and his ex-wife and actress, Amber Heard. The two met on a set of a film in 2009, were dating by 2012, and married in 2015. In 2016, Heard filed for divorce and accused Depp of physical abuse. The police investigated an incident, but found no evidence and Depp denied the claims, but a $7 million settlement was reached outside of court where Depp gave Amber $7 million in August of 2016, and the divorce was finalized in 2017.

At the end of 2018, Heard wrote an article for the Washington post about speaking out on the abuse she allegedly received. In 2019 Depp sued Heard for $50 million for defamation. He said that he never hit her and in fact, he was the one being abused. A court filing tried to deny Depp’s case, Heard gave many accounts of the alleged abuse and referred to Depp as “the Monster”.

In January of 2020, phone recordings were released of Heard admitting to hitting Depp. She said “I’m sorry that I didn’t … hit you across the face in a proper slap, but I was hitting you, it was not punching you. Babe, you’re not punched. I don’t know what the motion of my actual hand was, but you’re fine, I did not hurt you, I did not punch you, I was hitting you.”

On the recording Depp says that, “I left last night. Honestly, I swear to you because I just couldn’t take the idea of more physicality, more physical abuse on each other.” In response Heard says, “I can’t promise you I won’t get physical again. God, I f—ing sometimes get so mad I lose it.” In these recordings it is clear that Depp was the one who got hurt and left so the abuse wouldn’t continue. He knew their relationship was toxic, and Heard admitted that she wouldn’t be able to stop herself from hitting him again.

On July 7th, 2020, Depp sued the publisher and executive editor of the Sun newspaper for Libel. On November 2, the court ruled against Depp. The judge based his decision off of Amber’s testimony and ignored the counter-evidence from police officers, medical practitioners, her own former assistant, other unchallenged witnesses and an array of documentary evidence which completely undermined the allegations, point by point.

Four days later, Depp was asked to resign his role as Grindelwald from the Warner Bros. upcoming “Fantastic Beasts” film. Depp agreed to resign, but stated that he would continue to fight and clear his name. On November 25, the judge that ruled against Depp denied his appeal and ordered him to pay The Sun $841,733 for their legal fees. Depp has until December 7, to apply for an appeal above the judge at the Court of Appeal.

So far nothing has happened to Heard and she is still in the upcoming second “Aquaman” film. Fans are angered that Depp is losing roles when Heard isn’t, even though there is evidence of her admitting to being an abuser. Over 1.6 million people have signed a petition to get her removed from the film. However, Heard has refused to leave the role and says she is excited to start filming even though over 1.6 million people will boycott the movie if she is in it.

Abusive relationships are terrible and the sexist stigma that a man cannot be abused by a woman is completely wrong. Anyone can be a victim and it is time that the justice system looks at the facts instead of just believing what the person they perceive to be the victim says. This is an ongoing issue and the outcome is yet to be seen.