Johnny Depp's $50 million defamation lawsuit against ex-wife Amber Heard for claims she made about domestic abuse in a 2018 op-ed piece in The Washington Post has commenced in a Virginia federal court.
Jury selection began on Monday (April 11), and while the process can take several days, the trial starts on Tuesday with opening statements. According to US reports, the civil trial might last up to six weeks, and it is being broadcast in the United States on Court TV.
The newest round in the Hollywood stars' protracted public court battle comes on the heels of a November 2020 UK High Court judgment against Depp, who sued The Sun for labeling him a "wife-beater" in an article published in 2018.
Depp's latest trial, which began when he filed documents in 2019, seeks $50 million in damages for Heard's words in a Post opinion piece in which the actor and American Civil Liberties Union's advocate for women's rights described herself as a survivor of domestic abuse but did not name Depp.
While Depp's attorneys believe that their client was not explicitly mentioned in the paper, they argue that it was plainly about him and has harmed his professional chances. His legal team will have to establish that Heard made false statements about him. Depp has exited the Pirates Of The Caribbean and Fantastic Beasts And Where To Find Them franchises due to the impact of their long-running court struggle. His most recent film appearance was in the 2020 drama Minamata.
According to Heard's attorneys, her remarks in the piece are in the public interest. Virginia law protects such comments and allows for dismissing lawsuits contesting such assertions. Heard has also filed a countersuit against Depp.
Heard stated in the Post piece that she was exposed to abuse as a child. "I had the unique opportunity to witness firsthand how institutions protect men accused of abuse," she explained, adding, "I want to ensure that women who come forward to discuss violence receive additional support."
Heard's filmography includes Aquaman, Drive Angry, and the 2011 picture The Rum Diary, which introduced the duo. They married in 2015 and divorced a year later following allegations of domestic abuse by Heard. Both sides have a history of suspected poor behavior, and Depp has denied any wrongdoing.