After weeks of explosive testimonies and three days of deliberation in the famous defamation case between actors Johnny Depp and his ex-wife Amber Heard, the jury delivered a divided verdict largely in Depp’s favor on Wednesday.
While the jury found that each had denigrated the other, Depp celebrated the verdict as a victory and Heard declared she was disappointed “beyond words.”
Here are some key moments from the trial, which featured strong allegations and counter-allegations of domestic violence:
1) Mutual abuse allegations
Depp sued Heard for defamation for an opinion piece in December 2018 in which she described herself as a “public figure who represents domestic violence”. His lawyers said the article had defamed him even though he never mentioned his name.
While the case was ostensibly one of defamation, most of the testimony focused on whether Heard had been physically and sexually abused, she alleged.
I heard in detail more than a dozen alleged assaults. Depp testified that he never hit Heard or any other woman. He said it was she who became abusive and “intimidated” him with “humiliating insults”.
It could start with a slap, it could start with a shove, it could start by throwing my TV remote at my head, and throwing a glass of wine in my face,” Depp said.
The pair gave different accounts of their early 2015 argument in Australia, where Depp was filming the fifth Pirates of the Caribbean.
2) severed finger
Hours of testimony was devoted during the six-week trial to a horrific incident in March 2015 in Australia, where Depp was filming the fifth installment of Pirates of the Caribbean.
The tip of Depp’s right middle finger was severed during a heated argument with Heard at their rental home.
Depp said it happened when Heard threw a bottle of vodka at him.
Heard said she doesn’t know how it happened, but it may have happened when he smashed a phone attached to a wall. She spoke through her sobs, telling the jury that Depp had sexually assaulted her with a bottle. She said, “I was afraid.” “I just married him.”
Both agreed that Depp used his bloodstained number to write mysterious messages on the walls, lampshades, and mirrors of the house.
3) stool on the bed
Among the many strange incidents cited during the trial was a story about excrement that was one day deposited on Depp’s side of the couple’s bed.
Depp said he was shown a picture of “human poo” on the bed after he and Heard argued during her 30th birthday party.
Depp said Heard tried to blame their dogs, but they were “a cup of tea, each weighing about four pounds.”
Heard said one of the dogs had had intestinal problems after eating some Deep’s cannabis as a puppy.
As for dogs, Heard accused Depp of holding someone out of a moving car window as he “howled like an animal.”
The dog was unharmed.
Both sides presented multiple witnesses, though the testimony of Heard’s billionaire Elon Musk, Heard’s ex-boyfriend, and partner James Franco, was ultimately not materialized.
But there was a celebrity appearance.
Depp’s ex-girlfriend, Kate Moss, has brought down an old rumor that he once threw the British model down a ladder. It never happened, Moss said via the video link.
Actress Ellen Barkin, another ex-girlfriend, testified that Depp was jealous, controlling, and drunk “a lot of the time,” and once tossed a bottle of wine into a hotel room.
Other witnesses include bodyguards, agents, business managers, doctors, friends, relatives and even the former doorman of the luxury penthouse complex where the couple lived in Los Angeles.
Doorman Alejandro Romero may have spoken on behalf of many of those involved in the case when he said, “I’m very nervous. I don’t want to deal with this anymore.”
5) The guide
Audio and video recordings of heated and profanity-ridden arguments between Depp and Heard were entered into the evidence.
In one of the videos that Heard recorded in their kitchen, Depp is seen screaming, smashing glass cupboards, and pouring himself a huge glass of red wine.
Both Depp and Heard provided photos of the injuries they claimed the other had caused.
Heard’s lawyers also provided photos that allegedly show Depp’s death after excessive drinking or drug use.
He was shown text messages between Depp and different people in which he described in crude and violent language what he would like to see happen.
Depp’s lawyers downplayed the texts, saying he had a colorful way of writing, similar to his late friend, journalist Hunter S. Thompson.
6) Deep fans
Depp’s fans queued for hours each day to secure the coveted seats at the public fair for the trial held in Fairfax, Virginia.
While onlookers mostly acted, Judge Benny Azkarat threatened to fire them at some point during Heard’s testimony.
“If I hear another sound, I will clear the gallery,” Azcaret warned. “Concept?”
Depp’s fans have also launched a massive social media campaign in support of the actor with the hashtag #JusticeForJohnnyDepp.
Heard said she has received thousands of death threats. “People want to kill me and they tell me that every day,” she said.
The online trial was followed by millions of people who watched the live broadcast. Many of them have created memes or animated GIFs in real time, often praising Depp and making fun of Heard.
7) Hollywood careers damaged
Both Depp, a three-time Academy Award nominee, and Heard claimed that their jobs were damaged.
Heard, who starred in Aquaman, one of the highest-grossing films of all time, said she had to fight to secure a role in Aquaman 2 and alleged that Depp tried to persuade Warner Bros. to cut it out for the sequel.
Heard’s legal team provided an entertainment industry expert who estimated that she had suffered $45-50 million in missed film and television roles and endorsements.
An industry expert appointed by Depp’s side said he lost millions to the abuse allegations, including $22.5 million in daily payment for the sixth installment of Pirates.
But Tracy Jacobs, Depp’s former agent, said there was never a formal agreement for another Pirates movie.
Jacobs also said the actor’s star has been fading since 2010 due to “unprofessional behavior” that includes drinking and drug use.
A jury ruled that Heard defamed Depp in a 2018 op-ed and awarded him more than $10 million in the lawsuit.
But the decision was divided and they ruled in part in favor of Heard, who said she was defamed by Depp’s lawyer when he called her allegations of domestic violence a hoax, awarding her $2 million in damages.
Heard said she is saddened by the ruling. “I am even more disappointed by what this ruling means to other women. It is a setback. It turns back the clock to a time when a woman who has spoken out and who has spoken out can be humiliated,” she said in a statement posted on her Twitter account.
Meanwhile, Depp said the jury “gave me my life back.”
The statement added, “Six years ago, my life, the lives of my children, the lives of those close to me and also the lives of the people who supported and believed in me for so many years changed forever.”