Johnny Depp vs. Amber Heard: a story of mutual self-destruction as the world sees

To get to Fairfax from Washington, you have to cross the Potomac River. Drive west for 40 minutes until the buildings give way to trees. In the center of this American suburb, a bed of stars parades under the three grand arches of an old brick building. Los Angeles is 4,300 miles away, but all of Hollywood is there. James Franco. Paul Betanie. Ellen Barkin. Even billionaire Elon Musk has been photographed there.

The cast is glamorous and the cameras are out in numbers, but Fairfax won’t host a movie or Oscar ceremony. In the city court, the libel trial between Amber Heard and Johnny Depp will take place until May 20, a true marriage drama and voyeuristic soap with a worldwide audience – the trials have been broadcast on American television since 1959. Since April 11, 2022, the former actor couple has been torn apart and the media is elated.

Intimate testimonials, personal attacks, broadcasting private videos and text messages… The two actors recount painful wedding memories in the eyes of the world after an earlier defamation trial in London in 2020, which also received a lot of publicity. The Pirates of the Caribbean protagonist criticized The Sun publishing house for an article that called him an “abusive husband,” a qualification that the verdict of the time said is “substantially true.”

The 58-year-old actor accuses his ex-wife of defamatory remarks this time in a column that appeared in the Washington Post in 2018. Following on from the #MeToo movement, Amber Heard, 22 years younger than Johnny Depp, known for her roles in “Danish Girl” and “Aquaman”, had published a 2018 Washington Post column describing herself as a ” victim of domestic violence”, without mentioning Johnny Depp.

Indeed, disputes arose during the two years of the star couple’s common life, meeting on the set of Rhum Express and getting married in 2015. The two actors are also quick to make a habit of booking an extra room when they travel. , to survive each. other. As early as 2016, Amber Heard filed for a protective order to keep Johnny Depp at bay. She claims to have been beaten by the actor before dropping her lawsuit over their divorce, culminating in a bang and a check for $7 million in 2017.

Depp gets restless, breaks the dishes and gets drunk

Except Johnny Depp today denies ever putting his hand on Amber Heard and is demanding $50 million in damages for a publication and allegations that cost him “everything”, contracts, reputation and friendly relationships. Amber Heard in return assured that he had inflicted “constant physical and sexual violence” and also took legal action, demanding $100 million.

Who is lying? First of all, nobody. With many testimonials and recordings, these two mutual accusations seem to legitimize each other every day as much as the other.

On the side of Lily-Rose Depp’s father, viewers around the world could see him breaking his dishes and furniture, swearing and getting drunk, in a video recorded and broadcast without his knowledge by Amber Heard’s lawyers to allege domestic violence. to substantiate. “I had a bad time, but I didn’t touch it,” defended the person concerned. And to pour out his difficult childhood, his “violent” and depressed mother.

To support Johnny Depp’s anger and addictions, Amber Heard’s lawyers have read many text messages addressed to his family members. “I (…) drank half a bottle of whiskey, two champagne, 1,000 vodka-Red Bull cocktails and swallowed pills”. “I’m going to fuck her burnt corpse afterwards, just to make sure she’s dead.” Beneath the arches of the Fairfax court, the stakeholder replies, cleverly: “It’s just irreverent and abstract humor (…), a reference to Monty Python”.

The “monster”, victim of his wife

However, at the end of these first weeks, Amber Heard’s image seems to be the most damaged. Indeed, Johnny Depp, who was portrayed as a “monster” at the start of the trial, no longer insists on the violence and instability of his ex-partner. “It can start with a blow, a push. She threw a remote control at my head, a glass of wine in my face (…) She came over and took the bottle of vodka. She backed up and threw it at me,” Johnny Depp said, mimicking the scene. Before saying that the actress had “a need for conflict, a need for violence” and that she had threatened to kill herself if he left her.

In an audio broadcast, Amber Heard can also be heard saying to Johnny Depp, “Tell the world Johnny. Tell them: I, Johnny, a man, am a victim of domestic violence. And we’ll see how many people will believe you and will be on your side.”

According to the conclusions of a psychologist hired by Johnny Depp’s lawyers, Amber Heard is said to experience a “panic fear of abandonment”, which can lead to violent and irrational episodes leading to “abusive behavior towards potential partners”. Johnny Depp says he discovered his defection on his bed after an argument. Amber Heard listens and takes notes. His testimony has still not been collected.

The couple’s therapist testifies to a “mutually abusive” relationship. From Johnny Depp and Amber Heard. ‘She started arguing. She committed violence. She would take up the challenge if he started. From my point of view, it was established throughout their relationship – the fact that she struggled just as hard as he did. And he tried to defuse the situation much more than she did,” Laurel Anderson described.

The media rejoice

A great unpack laced with gossip about the scalloped Americans that certain media outlets love: “These two are spreading attack after attack, just like their relationship. The damage is real,” Vinnie Politan gargled on Tuesday’s show Final arguments which he hosts on Court TV, one of the American channels that began broadcasting the trials continuously and live from the 1990s. “It’s not even a criminal case, it’s just civil that he was amazed at the violence of the exchanges. On YouTube, the former star couple does indeed captivate hundreds of thousands of internet users, in real time.

A very American idiosyncrasy. “In the United States, the judge can authorize the broadcasting of trials in federal courts. Several cases have been followed by hundreds of millions of viewers, such as that of OJ Simpson, the American football player accused of murdering his ex-wife,” explains Anne Deysine, lawyer and author of several books on the Supreme Court. According to her, “a section of the public believes that this allows a better understanding of the judicial functioning… and the opponents think that unpacking is stimulating”. A term that is certainly not overused.

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