Johnny Depp v. Amber Heard Timeline: Why students support Johnny Depp


Ila Rees

A great divide between Johnny Depp and Amber Heard as they battle through their defamation trial.

April 12, 2022, the long-awaited trial between Johnny Depp and Amber Heard began at the Fairfax County courthouse in Virginia. The divorcees have been battling ever since Depp sued Heard for $50 million for defamation in 2019 over a Washington Post op-ed she wrote in 2018. The jury came to the final verdict that Heard defamed Depp in three separate statements, where Depp defamed Heard in one statement that his attorney made.

In 2016 Heard claimed that Depp had abused her while under the influence of drugs and alcohol, later obtaining a temporary restraining order against him, after only 15 months of marriage. Heard later published the Washington Post op-ed, covering the treatment of women in domestic abuse cases and spoke out about sexual violence. 

The piece caused most of the media to assume her article was about Depp, even though she never directly used Depp’s name. Depp claims that Heard’s Washington Post piece cost him various acting jobs, including well known roles such as Captain Jack Sparrow in the Pirates of the Caribbean series. 

Throughout the recent trial, Depp had received support from teenagers and some media outlets. Freshman Avery Hinkelman has been following the case on her own but has also seen details of the trial on social media platforms, especially via influencers on TikTok. 

“I’ve seen a lot of clips of the trial on Tik Tok and I feel like a lot of the claims Amber has been making [don’t] really add up and a lot of it just doesn’t make a lot of sense,” Avery said.

Avery also feels that Heard hasn’t been the most prepared when it comes to what she has claimed on the stand, because a lot of her stories haven’t shown to be reliable. Avery believes that Heard has made some mistakes while on trial, such as mentioning Kate Moss’ name when she was on the stand. 

Moss is a British model and ex-girlfriend of Depp, still on good terms with him. When Heard mentioned Moss’ name on the stand, that allowed Moss to testify in court, which was a mistake for Heard because Moss testified against her.

There had been rumors that while Moss and Depp were together, Depp had pushed and kicked Moss down the stairs. When Moss testified, she debunked those rumors by claiming that Depp never pushed or kicked her, but came to help her after she had an accident on vacation. 

From what Avery has seen, she thinks the majority of the media and viewers of the trial seem to be on Depp’s side, including a lot of celebrities that know them personally. Students feel that this could be an advantage for Depp in this case.

“I feel like a lot of the media is more on Depp’s side because he has been a beloved actor for a long time, and he has a lot of celebrities on his side, which can influence viewers to side with him as well. Also just from watching Amber Heard on the stand, it is hard for me to side with her because a lot of the claims she has been making against Johnny just don’t really add up or make any sense,” Avery said. 

Junior Demetri Spielman agrees with those who are on Johnny Depp’s side. He believes that Johnny Depp had a superior case against Heard, and that Heard’s lawyers have poorly argued her case. 

“What I have seen shows Amber Heard’s lawyers as fairly useless and incompetent. As you probably know there are plenty of clips going around of her lawyers screwing themselves over or making fools of themselves,” Demetri said.

Additionally, Demetri believes that the character Johnny Depp displays is more likable than Heard’s. Demetri believes the trial has worked out in Depp’s favor since he has skewed the opinion of young people on social media towards being on his side.

“I would say [the reason why Johnny Depp is more liked on social media] is because of the image he puts forth towards the public, whether or not it’s how he actually is. Though I would say in light of recent testimonies it seems that his public image is not terribly different from his personal life. The image he has created is one that is likable, funny, caring and charismatic,” Demetri said. 

The jury came to the conclusion that both Depp and Heard were guilty of defamation. They ended up awarding Depp 10 million dollars in compensatory damages and five million dollars in punitive damages, and Heard two million dollars in compensatory damages and no money in punitive damages. 

“I think that [Both Johnny Depp and Amber Heard being guilty of defamation] is entirely possible and I think I do trust the verdict of the jury,” said Demetri. 

Despite thinking Johnny Depp was a more likable character, Demetri thinks that the jury’s final verdict of both parties being guilty of defamation is correct.

As the Johnny Depp v. Amber Heard trial comes to a close with its recent verdict, AWHS students continue to stay engaged in political and justice related current events.