The high-profile trial involving actors Johnny Depp, 58, and his ex-wife Amber Heard, 36, entered its third week today, after kicking off April 12 in Fairfax County, Va.
The trial, which has ignited a fierce fan reaction—and taken over TikTok—stems from a $50 million defamation lawsuit Depp filed against Heard in 2019 in response to an op-ed she published in the Washington Post in 2018. Depp says the article irreparably damaged his career after Heard referred to herself in the piece as “a public figure representing domestic abuse.” The op-ed did not mention him by name. Depp believes it led to him being dropped from his lucrative role in Disney’s Pirates of the Caribbean franchise. In response to Depp’s suit, Heard filed a $100 million countersuit arguing that Depp defamed her when his legal team referred to her claims as “fake” and a “sexual violence hoax.”
Agent Jack Whigham’s testimony
Depp’s agent Jack Whigham testified Monday that the op-ed was “catastrophic” to his client’s career, per the AP. On cross-examination, Heard’s lawyers argued that the op-ed was not the cause of the downturn in Depp’s career, centering the blame instead on a stream of bad publicity brought about by Depp’s own behavior. Whigham also testified that Depp was able to work after the op-ed, including multimillion-dollar roles in films such as City of Lies, Murder on the Orient Express, and Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald, although those contracts were all signed prior to the op-ed’s publication. Whigham also claimed that what the AP called “a $22.5 million verbal deal” that Depp had with Disney for a sixth Pirates film disappeared.
While the lawsuit is supposed to determine whether Depp was defamed by the article, the trial has surfaced many ugly details about the couple’s brief marriage, including reports of volatile behavior by both parties.
Security guard Travis McGivern’s testimony
Another of those unsettling moments emerged today when Travis McGivern testified. McGivern was one of Depp’s security guards and, testifying via video, claimed to have witnessed Heard verbally and physically abuse the actor. During one alleged incident from 2015, McGivern claimed that he saw Heard “throw a Red Bull can” that hit Depp in the back. Another incident described by McGivern allegedly involved Heard throwing “something else—either a purse or some sort of bag” at Depp, which McGivern claimed to have blocked from hitting Depp. Heard also allegedly spat at Depp. McGivern alleged that while Depp did not retaliate the physical abuse, he “rearranged” Heard’s closet, throwing her belongings down a staircase.
Per McGivern, both actors engaged in what he described as “verbal vitriol.” “The F-word is my favorite word and it was being thrown around to the point where I was uncomfortable,” McGivern testified.
McGivern also testified that he saw Heard’s “closed fist” hit Depp in the left side of his face. As People reported, he added that, “The initial look on [Depp’s] face kind of mirrored mine, kind of a look of shock. Like, ‘What just happened? Where did that come from?’ At that point, I wasn’t gonna let Mr. Depp get hit any more so I moved him down the last flight of stairs to the lower level and told him, ‘We are leaving.’ It wasn’t up to him anymore. Just for his safety.”
What happens next
Heard is expected to take the stand on either Tuesday or Wednesday to testify and provide her own account of the relationship.