In 2022, the world was struck by a few memorable events: the Russia-Ukraine war, Queen Elizabeth II’s death, the 2022 Qatar World Cup, and of course, the infamous defamation trial that kept us all on the edge of our seats, the Depp v Heard legal battle where Johnny Depp and his ex-wife Amber Heard stood before a US court in the spring of 2022, and the whole world watched!
It was quite shocking to see these two stars on such a personal level in public. While celebrities have gone through legal battles a lot, none of them was like the Depp v Heard one. Millions of people all over the world followed the case on YouTube and TikTok as if it was a concert or something! The phenomenal trial quickly became viral on social media, and the hashtags that many of us know by heart now, #JusticeForJohnny and #AmberIsALiar, were trending at the time.
For six weeks, millions have followed the legal battle anxiously, with every day bringing new bewildering and even obscene at times twists that left the audiences appalled by what was revealed. But as the trial kept going, it was clear that there was way more to this than what meets the eye, and that is what the mega platform Netflix is exploring in its new limited series documentary Depp v Heard.
The documentary Depp v Heard looks at the defamation case that gained worldwide attention from a whole new angle. Presented in three parts, the Netflix documentary shows both testimonies side-by-side for the first time and takes a closer look at the global media event.
The series questions the concept of truth and the part it plays in today’s society, trying to answer the question we all have been asking “What is the truth exactly?!” The Netflix documentary Depp v Heard arrives on 16 August, so mark your calendar to find out the answer! But first, let’s refresh our memory with a recap of the most controversial trial in 2022!
The Calm Before the Storm!
Since the beginning of their relationship Johnny and Amber have captured the media’s attention. “Too good to be true”. That’s how Johnny Depp defined the beginning of his romance with Amber Heard. Everything was perfect a decade ago; they showered each other with compliments in interviews, and cameras recorded every kiss they gave each other at public appearances. But the story turned from a romantic one to a horror one pretty quickly!
Johnny Depp and Amber Heard met in 2011 during the filming of The Rum Diaries, which Depp produced and starred in. Johnny Depp was at one of the peaks of his career when he starred in the film, which was a very personal project because it adapted a novel by his friend and admired writer Hunter S. Thompson. This was the beginning of a long story that would not end well for either of the two parties.
At the time, the two had their respective partners; Depp was with Vanessa Paradis and Amber Heard with Tasya van Ree. However, the good relationship that had sprouted between Johnny Depp and Amber Heard was already noticeable during the filming of the feature film. Eventually, in 2012, the actor separated from Paradis, and she separated from van Ree, and the two stars made their relationship official.
After two years of dating, the couple got engaged in 2014, and in 2015, they married on Johnny Depp’s private island in the Bahamas. The start of their marriage was idyllic, at least from the outside. The two seemed really happy at the time, but behind that supposed happiness, there were signs that it wouldn’t last. Unfortunately for both of them, however, it was not the happy ending they had hoped for.
The Unforeseen End!
Fifteen months after the ‘I Do’, the Aquaman star decided to separate, filing a lawsuit against Johnny Depp for abuse. As time went by, a series of highly conflicted details of their marriage began to emerge, revealing how their relationship had hard times and how they lived through very extreme situations in each other’s company.
Following the divorce, Amber Heard sought a restraining order against Johnny Depp, alleging physically and verbally violent behaviour during the relationship. Heard claimed that her then-husband abused her while under the influence of banned substances and alcohol.
Johnny Depp denied the allegations, and the two reached an agreement in which the actor compensated his ex-partner with seven million dollars and issued a joint statement saying that the decision had been mutually agreed upon.
The Op-ed that Started it all!
However, in 2018 Amber wrote an op-ed in The Washington Post about the mistreatment of women. Amber referred to the violence she experienced in a failed relationship, and although she didn’t mention Johnny’s name anywhere, it was clear from the references and dates she mentioned in the article that she was talking about him.
After the publication of this article, the doors began to close on Johnny, who went from being one of the most brilliant actors in cinema to being suspected of domestic violence. Hollywood’s reaction to the allegations was cruel, and Johnny Depp’s career took a sad turn that no one ever expected. Many of the production houses decided to avoid casting him, like Warner Bros, who replaced Johnny with actor Mads Mikkelsen in the Fantastic Beasts films.
Meanwhile, the British tabloid The Sun described Johnny Depp in a column as a “wife-beater”, recounting some of the violent episodes against the actress. The Pirates of the Caribbean star then filed a defamation and sued The Sun for defamation. In 2020, Amber testified in court in the UK, and the actor soon lost the case against The Sun.
After knowing the sentence of the first trial in the UK Supreme Court, another one was finally held in the court of Fairfax (Virginia) with a massive public following through social networks.
The Trial of the Decade!
Given the status of the two actors, the case already created some buzz even before the trial started on 11 April. Many fans already picked their side and defended their choice, viciously at times, on social media.
From 11 April to 1 June 2022, we followed the testimonies and recordings of the assaults the two made on each other. Nevertheless, as the case developed, more and more people were choosing Depp’s side over Amber’s! This became even more clear after the actor decided to join TikTok at the time, and he got 11.5 million followers in no time!
The events of the trial were not like anything the audience had seen before; every day’s happenings intrigued the public, especially on social media. After a six-week media trial, the defamation trial came to an end.
The seven people who made up the popular jury in the court of Fairfax (Virginia, United States) agreed that the actor was defamed in 2018 by his ex-wife when she published an article in The Washington Post where she defined herself as “a public figure who represents domestic abuse”.
The list of scandalous lawsuits involving American entertainment celebrities is undoubtedly a long one. From multimillion-dollar lawsuits to divorces in which all their dirty laundry is laid bare for a worldwide audience to learn the most lurid details of their intimacy; however, this one was much more intense! The trial brought scenes of a celebrity marriage that even the big streaming platform Netflix couldn’t have thought up better.
Although the trial may have provided an answer to whether the actress damaged the image and career of the Pirates of the Caribbean star or not, the discussion took another focus on public opinion: to determine which of the two was abusive and violent during the time of their relationship. But again, what is the real truth here? Hopefully, the Netflix documentary Depp v Heard will tell us!
The Netflix Documentary: Depp v Heard!
Following a long list of documentary series that became quite popular, it seems only fitting that Netflix now bets on one of the most followed legal battles recently, aka Johnny Depp and Amber Heard case, with this documentary.
The documentary Depp v Heard airs on Wednesday, 16 August, on Netflix, and as the trailer suggests, the Netflix documentary examines to the last millimetre everything that happened after the actors filed cross accusations of defamation and mistreatment against each other.
Directed by the Australian filmmaker Emma Cooper, the docu-series Depp v Heard will analyse what happened in the six weeks of 2022, when the Pirates of the Caribbean actor and the Aquaman actress accused each other of defamation in several cross-complaints where the actress also blamed her ex-partner of abuse.
The three-episode documentary Depp v Heard promises to bring a new perspective on the first TikTok trial in history, telling the whole story of the relationship between Johnny Depp and Amber Heard and recounting the events of more than 200 hours of the media circus that went on for weeks in 2022.
With the two stars in the leading roles of this true story, the series also sheds light on how their image was shaken as the repercussions of the case became far-reaching and ended up affecting their careers in one way or another!
While the aftermath of the infamous Depp v Heard trial may still linger around, today, both actors are working to bounce back as Johnny continues to receive support on social media, with more than 16 million followers on TikTok. In 2023, he released the film Jeanne Du Barry while Heard returned to the scene with the film In the Fire.