A new documentary about the bitter legal battle between Hollywood actors Johnny Depp and Amber Heard airs this weekend on Channel 4.
Depp vs. Heard is a three-part series from Bafta-nominated director Emma Cooper and explores the defamation lawsuit Depp brought against his ex-wife last year that captivated viewers for three months. The documentary is being touted as the first “in-depth” look at the case, which Depp won on June 2, 2022.
Dubbed the world’s first “Tik Tok trial” to be broadcast live, the lawsuit raised a number of questions about justice in the post-truth era and how society deals with allegations of domestic violence. Depp vs. Heard will combine courtroom footage with news sources, interview footage and user-generated content to explore some of the biggest moments of the trial.
Depp and Heard were once considered one of Hollywood’s most glamorous couples. The two are believed to have been together since 2012, after Depp split from his longtime partner, French actress and singer Vanessa Paradis. She and Depp share two children, son Jack and daughter Lily-Rose.
Depp, a movie star known for his role as Captain Jack Sparrow in the Pirates of the Caribbean series as well as his numerous collaborations with director Tim Burton, met Heard on the set of the 2011 film the rum diary, in which they both played the leading roles.
He confirmed their engagement in 2014 and joked while promoting his film transcendence that the “chick ring” he wore was “probably a clear sign.” He and Heard wed the following year, reportedly with a ceremony at Depp’s LA home and another on his private island in the Bahamas.
A year later, in 2016, Heard filed for divorce and received a restraining order from a judge over allegations of domestic violence on his part. Depp denied the allegations and his attorneys accused Heard of “attempting to effect an early financial settlement by alleging abuse.”
The former couple reached a settlement in January 2017, with reps for both saying they’re happy to “move on” with their lives. Heard withdrew the restraining order, and she and Depp released a joint statement, explaining that their relationship is “very passionate and volatile at times, but always bound by love.” Neither party has made false accusations for financial gain. It was never intended to cause physical or mental harm.”
A little over a year later, however, Depp sued The sun‘s publisher News Group Newspapers for alleged defamation over an April 2018 article headlined, “Gone Potty: How Can JK Rowling Be Really Happy Casting Thug-Woman Johnny Depp in New Movie Fantastic Beasts?”
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Depp lost the case in 2020 when Judge Andrew Nicol said the defendants had proven their claims to be “substantially true”. The actor was denied permission to appeal the case.
Around the same time as Depp’s lawsuit against The sunHeard published an editorial in 2018 the washington post, entitled: “I spoke out against sexual violence – and faced the wrath of our culture. That needs to change.”
Heard didn’t name Depp in the article, but spoke of how in 2016 she “became a public figure representing domestic violence and I felt the full force of our culture’s anger at women who spoke out.” In her $50 million lawsuit against Heard, she was accused of defaming him. The lawsuit called each allegation of domestic abuse “categorically and demonstrably false.” Heard then filed a $100 million countersuit, accusing Depp of orchestrating a “defamation campaign” against her.
Depp vs. Heard was tried in Fairfax, Virginia on April 11, 2022. For six weeks, viewers were captivated by the live stream, Law&Crime Network reported daily viewership of 9 million and CourtTV said its viewership had “virtually quadrupled”.
Meanwhile, social media has been deluged with clips of Depp and Heard taking the stand, along with their respective lawyers and witnesses. The viral moments included Depp bemused by the description of him drinking an alleged “mega pint” of wine and his attorney Camilla Vasquez finding internet fame herself. Meanwhile, Heard made an emotional statement allegations of physical and sexual abuse against Depp, which he denied.
Depp won the case against Heard on June 1, 2022 after two days of jury deliberation and was awarded $10 million (£8 million) in damages and a further $5 million (£4 million) in punitive damages.
After the verdict, Depp said in a statement he was “humbled” that the jury “gave my life back to me.”
“From the beginning, the goal in opening this case was to get the truth out, regardless of the outcome,” he said. “Telling the truth was something I owe to my children and to all those who have steadfastly supported me. I feel reassured knowing I’ve finally made it.”
He continued, “I am and have been overwhelmed by the outpouring of love and colossal support and kindness from around the world.”
“I hope that my pursuit of the truth has helped others, men or women, in my situation and that those who support them never give up.
“I also hope that the position will now remain innocent until proven guilty both in court and in the media.”
Depp was not present at the sentencing hearing as he spent three nights on stage with musician Jeff Beck in the UK.
Heard, who was present, was awarded $2million (£1.6million) in damages after her counterclaim against Depp was also found to be defamatory over statements by his lawyer Adam Waldman, who allegedly called her abuse allegations “fraud”. became .
After the verdict, the actress said she was “heartbroken” but “even more disappointed at what this verdict means for other women.”
“The disappointment I feel today is indescribable,” she said in a statement outside the courthouse. “It breaks my heart that the mountain of evidence was still insufficient to withstand my ex-husband’s disproportionate power, influence and influence.
“I’m all the more disappointed about what this judgment means for other women.”
Since the trial, Depp has been making a career comeback, appearing at the Cannes Film Festival this week to do some publicity Jeanne du Barry, his first feature film in three years.
Amber Heard was recently photographed with her two-year-old daughter Oonagh in Madrid amid unconfirmed reports that she is planning to retire from the film industry. Next she will appear in DCs Aquaman Sequel starring Jason Momoa in the title role. The film is slated to hit theaters later this year.
The first episode of Depp vs. Heard will be broadcast on Channel 4 on Sunday 21 May at 9pm. The following episodes will air Monday, May 22 at 10 p.m. and Tuesday, May 23 at 10 p.m.