The relationship between Johnny Depp and Amber Heard began over a decade ago, and it finally developed into a toxic marriage. In 2018, Heard wrote an op-ed for the Washington Post in which she recounted domestic violence without identifying Depp by name. The couple has been fighting in court ever since.
Depp vs. Heard defamation trial
Johnny Depp is suing Heard for $50 million in damages, and he denies ever slapping or punching her in the face. A counterclaim of $100 million is being filed by Heard, claiming that she only ever used violence against Depp when she was protecting herself or her younger sibling from him.
Depp took the witness stand on April 19 and gave 4 days of testimony. While Depp’s legal team laid out evidence of alleged abuse, Heard’s lawyers concentrated on Depp’s previous drug and alcohol problems, entering into evidence Depp’s own texts and recordings to argue that Depp was the one who abused Heard.
In court, Depp said that Heard would start fights and intensify the conflict between them. He also claimed at the close of his 4-day testimony that Heard’s op-ed in the New York Post cost him “nothing less than everything.”
Public opinion in Depp-Heard trial
Public opinion seems to be overwhelmingly in favor of Depp, while Heard’s favorability looks to be waning. A total of 8.2 million people have viewed #IStandWithAmberHeard, while #JusticeForJohnnyDepp on TikTok has earned nearly 15 billion views.
Public sympathy for Johnny Depp may be a contributing factor to this gap, as he’s been a well-known movie star for many years. Although people generally tend to believe and defend survivors of physical and sexual violence, the situation becomes more complicated when the accused is a popular celebrity. After all, no one wants to feel guilty about continuing to watch their favorite Pirates of the Caribbean movie.
Another reason the public may be more inclined to side with Depp is that he had the opportunity to present his side of the story first during the trial. This could have led many people to make up their minds early on before Heard even had a chance to take the stand.
Additionally, Depp alleged in his testimony that Heard assaulted him during their relationship, claiming that he’s a victim of marital abuse. As a result, men’s rights groups have rallied around Depp, which may also be swaying public opinion, especially on social media.
Domestic violence statistics
Violence against women, intimate partners, children and the elderly is a widespread issue in the United States. According to statistics provided by the CDC, 10 million Americans are affected annually by family and domestic abuse.
In fact, an average of 20 people are physically injured every minute in the U.S. by their intimate partner. During the course of a year, this amounts to over 10 million men and women.
What happens if someone falsely accuses you of domestic abuse?
Domestic violence is a serious criminal offense that can lead to jail time and hefty fines. Even if the charges are later proven false, being charged with domestic violence can damage the accused’s reputation and make it more difficult for them to find housing and employment.
In Texas, filing a false police report is considered a Class B Misdemeanor, which comes with a punishment of up to 180 days in jail and a fine of up to $2,000. Additionally, the accused could file a civil lawsuit (as Depp did in his case) to seek compensation for the damages caused by the allegation.
When to contact a Houston criminal defense attorney
Family relationships can be complex. Sometimes the person who makes an allegation of abuse wishes to later have the charges dropped, but in Texas, only prosecutors and district attorneys have the power to drop a case. Because of this, any domestic abuse allegations should be taken very seriously.