If it seems like the legal issues between Amber Heard and Johnny Depp are never going to an end, you aren’t the only one. It seems like fallout from their ill-fated marriage is set to play out in courtrooms and legal briefings for the considerable future. And though Amber Heard, along with her legal team, had tried mightily to not have this be the case, they were dealt a tough blow on Friday. A judge ruled against a filing that sought to have Johnny Depp’s most recent lawsuit against Heard thrown out of court. The judge sided with Depp and the court case is going to move forward.
Johnny Depp is currently suing Amber Heard over an op-ed article printed in the Washington Post back in late 2018. In the op-ed, she doesn’t name Johnny Depp specifically, but rather says she was the victim of domestic abuse. Through the transitive property, I suppose this was enough to imply that she was talking about Depp and accusing him of abuse. Depp launched the lawsuit in an effort to defend his name against the allegations as well as to seek compensatory recovery on wages lost in the wake of this whole ordeal.
Amber Heard was attempting to have the lawsuit thrown out based on the ruling in a British case from 2020 that had a number of similarities to this one. In that case, Johnny Depp was suing the British tabloid The Sun for a claim they had made in print that he was a “wife-beater”. Depp sued for libel and defamation, essentially forcing The Sun to go into court with evidence backing up their claim. In order for it not to be libel, the accusation had to be seen as true. After a number of embarrassing and even disturbing pieces of information came out about Depp’s and Heard’s relationship, the courts sided with the tabloid and Depp lost the case.
The most recent filing from Amber Heard was an effort to say that this current Fairfax, Virginia case was similar enough to the one in Britain and needn’t be relitigated. But the judge disagreed with that sentiment. In fact, according to Penney Azcarate, the judge overseeing the case, the differences in British and US libel laws are too different to suggest that the ruling across the pond was sufficient to make a judgment in this current case. She said in her brief, “…the libel laws of Virgina are starkly different than those of England. The Declaration of Independence and the First Amendment of the United States Constitution represent major departures from the English Common Law with respect to freedom of speech and freedom of the press.” Azcarate went on, in length, to describe the major differences in the two cases and why one shouldn’t be a proxy for the other. This has now paved the way for the case to go to open court where the details of Depp’s and Heard’s relationship will once again be on display.
While Johnny Depp saw immediate fallout from the ruling in the case against The Sun, Amber Heard didn’t have the same kind of backlash. Depp was removed from his roles in the Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find them franchise and was also taken out of a cameo in the Pirates of the Caribbean reboot. He’s even claimed that his latest movie was being buried. Meanwhile, Amber Heard has gone the opposite direction. Though there was some fan outcry that she receive the same Hollywood punishment as Depp, she is still set to take part as Queen Mera in the upcoming sequel Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom and has a number of other projects on the way as well.