The defamation suit brought by actor Johnny Depp against his estranged former spouse, actor Amber Heard, has begun and it has already gotten emotional. The ongoing legal conflict between the two is complex, but the current case is a defamation suit brought by Depp against Heard, claiming she had defamed him and his reputation by claiming he had physically abused her in 2018 Washington Post op-ed. Heard has already countersued him, but the trial in Virginia is the one currently at hand. Depp is seeking $50 million in damages. Today, the Pirates of the Caribbean star was visibly shaken as his older sister Christi Dembrowski testified on his behalf in open court.
During her testimony, Christi Dembrowski (who is three years older than Johnny Depp) described the abuse she and her siblings, along with their father, had faced at the hands of their mother Betty Sue Palmer. According to Dombrowski, their mother was “high strung, nervous,” and “angry” and would often beat or hurl objects at them. She described in detail that they were also instructed to get their own “switches” or tree cuttings to be beaten with, from a tree outside their home. In her testimony, Dembrowski went on to describe Johnny Depp as trying to “keep the peace” and that he never fought back against their mother. According to her, years later, Depp and herself had sworn they would never abuse their families in the same way.
Christ Dembrowski went on to describe Johnny Depp as a devoted father to his two children and that when their mother’s health began to deteriorate due to neurological health issues, he took on the responsibility of her care and comfort. Dembrowski also testified that Depp had seemed to change in mood when he and Amber Heard were married and that they often argued. She specifically alleged that Heard would insult Depp as “an old fat man” and disbelieved that fashion house Dior would want to do a campaign with him (a campaign that is still ongoing).
The trial is estimated to last six weeks and is being heavily covered by media. In 2020, Johnny Depp lost a libel suit he brought against News Group Newspapers in the UK when their newspaper The Sun described him as a “wife-beater.” A judge ruled that 12 of the 14 incidents claimed by Amber Heard were “substantially true” and thus not libel against him. Shortly thereafter, Depp resigned from Warner Bros’ Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them franchise of films, and was replaced by Mads Mikkelsen. Disney has also canceled the long-running Pirates of the Caribbean franchise that had prominently featured Depp since 2003.
Johnny Depp’s case against Amber Heard that her allegations have damaged his career will have to be determined after an enormous amount of presented evidence and many more testimonies (often from other famous people who have been drawn into the fray). Doubtlessly, there will be yet more emotional moments as the case proceeds, and we will continue to keep you updated.