People jumped to believe that actor Johnny Depp was a domestic abuser after his ex-wife, actress Amber Heard, made the accusations in 2016 as the couple was divorcing. Depp is now suing Heard for $50 million, claiming that he was the actual victim of domestic abuse in the relationship.
Heard’s allegations should have been questioned from the start. False accusations during a contentious divorce are nothing new, and even though Depp has been married many, many times before, not one of his ex-wives said she was abused as well. Sure, it is possible that he suddenly became a physically violent person toward women in his early 50s, but it seems unlikely.
Still, Heard was almost universally believed from the start, and Depp became a pariah. Things died down in 2017 when their divorce was finalized, but after Heard wrote a Washington Post op-ed in December 2018, Depp decided to sue. The lawsuit was filed last week.
In it, Depp alleges that Heard was the serial abuser in the relationship, and provided “87 newly discovered surveillance videos, 17 sworn eyewitness statements, audio tape, photographs, and other evidence” to prove he was the real victim. One of the testimonies comes from Trinity Esparza, who was the concierge at the penthouse where Heard claims Depp hit her in the face. Esparza now questions how Heard received the mark on her face she claimed was from Depp, after reviewing surveillance footage from three days later, when Heard’s sister Whitney pretended to punch her in the face, according to court documents.
“In the surveillance video, Ms. Esparza testified under oath that she saw Whitney Heard pretend to punch her sister in the face. Then Ms. Heard, [a friend], and Whitney Heard all laughed,” the court documents state.
In one example of alleged abuse against Depp, Heard allegedly threw a vodka bottle at the “Pirates of the Caribbean” star, slicing him so bad he required hand surgery.
Heard also allegedly attacked Depp while he was in bed and staged the attacks she claimed he committed.
"Unaware that members of Mr. Depp's security team (including an 18-year veteran of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department) were mere feet away, Ms. Heard falsely began yelling, 'Stop hitting me, Johnny,'" Depp alleges in court documents. "The interaction culminated with Ms. Heard making false allegations that Mr. Depp struck her with a cell phone, hit her and destroyed the penthouse. There were multiple eyewitnesses to this hoax."
Depp and his attorneys claim Heard made the allegations to advance her career. After she claimed to be the victim of domestic abuse, she “became a darling of the #MeToo movement, was the first actress named a Human Rights Champion of the United Nations Human Rights Office, was appointed ambassador on women's rights at the American Civil Liberties Union, and was hired by L'Oreal Paris as its global spokesperson," the lawsuit states.
Heard made her initial accusations in 2016. The #MeToo movement gained steam in October 2017 with the allegations against Harvey Weinstein.
The lawsuit also claims Heard published The Washington Post op-ed to gain sympathy and promote her new movie, “Aquaman,” which was released three days later.
Heard’s attorney, Eric M. George, told People Magazine that Depp’s lawsuit was a “frivolous action” and “just the latest of Johnny Depp’s repeated efforts to silence Amber Heard.”
Depp’s attorney, Adam Waldman, responded that George’s comment “doesn’t sound like a denial by Ms. Heard of Mr. Depp’s 40-page, evidence-packed complaint.”