According to media reports, actor Johnny Depp will be paid his full salary of over US$10 million for the latest Fantastic Beasts film even though he filmed only one scene for the movie before being asked to resign.

Earlier, Johnny Depp had confirmed on Instagram that he was resigning from his role as Gellert Grindelwald in the upcoming Fantastic Beasts film at the request of Warner Bros. This came after Depp lost a libel case in the UK against a tabloid that referred to him as a “wife-beater”.

The reason behind Depp receiving his full eight-figure salary is due to his ‘pay or play’ contract which stipulates that he be paid the full amount promised to him even if his role is recast or the film is not made. This is a common clause in contracts made for A-list celebrities.

JK Rowling’s statement of Depp’s casting as Grindelwald

While Depp’s portrayal of Grindelwald was praised widely, it caused a massive amount of controversy because his former partner, Amber Heard had leveled accusations of spousal abuse at him. At the time, once-beloved author JK Rowling who gifted the world with Harry Potter and the magic of Hogwarts had defended Depp’s role in the movie.

“Based on our understanding of the circumstances, the filmmakers and I are not only comfortable sticking with our original casting but genuinely happy to have Johnny playing a major character in the movies,” Rowling’s statement read.

The libel case was murky business from the get-go because it brought to light many damaging details about Heard and Depp’s relationship. Depp’s lawyers had introduced video evidence which they claim showed how Heard attacked her sister.

According to media reports of the trial, Heard and her sister Whitney Henriquez gave evidence in an effort to corroborate Heard’s claims that Depp was violent towards her on 14 occasions.

“Some incidents were so severe that I was afraid he was going to kill me, either intentionally or just by losing control and going too far. He explicitly threatened to kill me many times, especially later in our relationship,” Heard had said about Depp.

Depp claims Heard abused him

However, Depp has repeatedly insisted that he was the victim of domestic abuse at the hands of Heard.

In December 2018, Heard wrote an op-ed for The Washington Post where she detailed her alleged abuse at the hands of Depp.

“I became a public figure representing domestic abuse, and I felt the full force of our culture’s wrath for women who speak out,” Heard wrote.

In response to the op-ed, Depp sued Heard for $50 million for defamation. His suit said that Heard was “not a victim of domestic abuse, she is a perpetrator”.

Heard admits to “hitting” Depp

In 2020, the Daily Mail accessed and released phone recordings where Heard admitted to “hitting” Depp.

“I’m sorry that I didn’t … hit you across the face in a proper slap, but I was hitting you, it was not punching you. Babe, you’re not punched. I don’t know what the motion of my actual hand was, but you’re fine, I did not hurt you, I did not punch you, I was hitting you,” she says in the recording.

“I can’t promise you I won’t get physical again. God, I fucking sometimes get so mad I lose it,” she also said.

Depp’s former partners defend him

Both Johnny Depp’s former partners, Winona Ryder and Vanessa Paradis have come to his defense.

“The idea that he is an incredibly violent person is the farthest thing from the Johnny I knew and loved. I cannot wrap my head around these accusations,” Ryder wrote, according to Insider while Paradis stated that Heard’s accusations are “nothing like the true Johnny I have known, and from my personal experience of many years, I can say he was never violent or abusive to me.”