As the court case between estranged former spouses Amber Heard and Johnny Depp goes on, things have only gotten darker and uglier. The trial is currently in the defense portion in which Aquaman actor Amber Heard is presenting witnesses to bolster her claims against Depp. Deadline reports that a friend of Heard’s named Elizabeth Marz has testified via a several-year-old video that Heard allegedly had a “swollen face” and “visibly very upset” after what Marz claimed was a fight between the two in 2016. The video of Marz was recorded in November of 2019 and presented in the courtroom as testimony of Johnny Depp’s alleged erratic and violent behavior.
The alleged fight between Amber Heard and Johnny Depp on the night of May 21, 2016, has come up several times before. In this particular case, Elizabeth Marz claimed that she was present at the penthouse shared by the then-married couple and that Depp was behaving as though he was intoxicated. She also alleged that he was combative and angry and that his behavior made her frightened. Although Marz did not claim that she had seen the former Pirates of the Caribbean star physically attack Amber Heard (or anyone present), she did say that “it looked like she had been hit in some way,” which presumably reinforces Heard’s claims of physical, emotional and sexual abuse by Depp.
The actual case in question was brought by Johnny Depp against Amber Heard, claiming that the 2018 op-ed Heard published in The Washington Post defamed him and caused him to lose work as an actor. In the op-ed, Heard claimed to be a survivor of mental, physical, and sexual abuse in the past; while it did not mention Johnny Depp by name, it was widely assumed to be about the Edward Scissorhands star. Depp filed a libel suit in the United Kingdom against a tabloid paper that had described him as a “wife-beater” based in part on Amber Heard’s article. The case was decided against him, with the presiding judge ruling that the term used against Depp was “materially true.” Shortly thereafter, Depp left Warner Bros’ Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them franchise, replaced by Mads Mikkelsen.
Johnny Depp’s case against Amber Heard is both highly public and highly risky. The burden of proof for defamation in court cases is considered extremely high, which means that Depp’s legal team must substantially prove that Amber Heard’s words and actions have damaged Depp’s career in concrete ways. As it is, the case has brought out a wide variety of witnesses for both the accuser and the defendant, with family members, friends, other celebrities, and industry professionals all testifying in court. Both Johnny Depp and Amber Heard have also given emotional testimony before the jury and Judge Penny Azcarete. At this point, the legal battles between the two have begun to dominate their respective careers far more than their respective bodies of work, and it seems only likely that it will continue to grow more heated.