At a time when Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie’s divorce was getting uglier day by day, news of Johnny Depp and Amber Heard’s legal battle took the front seat. Depp announced that he would no longer be a part of the Fantastic Beasts film franchise after he lost the court battle with U.K. tabloid publication The Sun, which had published an article in 2018 about Depp’s relationship with his ex-spouse Amber Heard. 

The drama did not stop at that. The tabloid had alleged that the actor was a “wife-beater.” And the judge found that the publication’s claims were substantially true and that 12 of Heard’s 14 allegations about episodes of physical assault were supportable. Months after this incident, a new defamation case has been filed with the opening arguments being heard today in this multimillion-dollar case. 

Here is a timeline of Johnny Depp and Amber Heard’s legal battle and the twists and turns of the cataclysmic Hollywood romance.

2013

Johnny Depp and Amber Heard began dating in 2011, after meeting on the set of the comedy film, The Rum Diary. In 2013, they hit a rough patch. Heard alleged that Depp was physically violent with her for the first time. She said that the actor slapped her three times after she joked about a tattoo that he got on his arm when dating actress Winona Ryder. Depp denied the allegation.

2015

Depp and Heard got married at a private ceremony in Los Angeles, despite the allegations. The lovebirds went on a vacation after, which was later described as “a three-day hostage situation” by Heard. She claimed that Depp got abusive after drinking heavily and taking drugs. The actor denied the allegations and revealed that Heard lost her calm after a discussion about a post-nuptial arrangement. 

2016

Heard alleged that Depp got angry and destroyed property with a bottle of champagne. The couple parted ways and Heard filed for a temporary domestic violence restraining order. The dissolution of their marriage came with a settlement. Heard donated her $7 million settlement to charity.

2017 – 2018

The couple was formally divorced in January 2017. A year later, The Sun article came out and the actor filed his libel claim against News Group Newspapers. Soon after, Heard published an op-ed describing her her personal experiences of domestic violence in The Washington Post.

2019

Depp filed a $50 million defamation lawsuit against Heard. His lawyers claimed that the article wrongly accused the actor of domestic violence. The actor also revealed that the piece caused him to be sacked from the Pirates Of The Caribbean franchise. He also claimed that Heard was the one who had been abusive in the marriage.

2020

The hearing took place at the Royal Courts Of Justice in London. After a 16-day trial, a judge weighed in that the content of the article has proven to be “substantially true”. Justice Nicol dismissed Depp’s plea, making him lose the legal battle. His lawyers immediately filed grounds of appeal with the Court of Appeal, arguing that the actor “did not receive a fair trial” and that Justice Nicol’s ruling is “plainly wrong” and “manifestly unsafe”.

2021

The UK Court Of Appeal declined permission for Depp to appeal against the High Court ruling.

2022

Depp’s 2019 defamation case against Heard, delayed by the pandemic, has now begun today on April 12th. Several high-profile celebrities are due to give testimony, including James Franco and Paul Bettany, and Tesla founder Elon Musk.

(Featured Image Credits: Instagram)