The opening statements in Johnny Depp’s defamation lawsuit against his ex-wife Amber Heard got underway on Tuesday in Virginia, after he accused the Aquaman star of writing an article about him in 2018
Amber Heard’s lawyers called Johnny Depp an ‘obsessed ex-husband hellbent on revenge’, as their bitter defamation lawsuit began in the US.
The Pirates of the Caribbean star brought the multi-million dollar legal action against his ex-wife after he claimed an article she wrote in 2018 implied he was an abuser.
The 35-year-old actress did not name her former lover in the article for the Washington Post, but Johnny’s legal team claim the op-ed piece has hampered his career, and prevented him from getting Hollywood roles.
In a courtroom in Fairfax County, Virginia on Tuesday, opening statements from their legal teams got underway, with Johnny asking for $50 million in damages.
Meanwhile, Amber has filed a counterclaim of defamation against the Sweeney Todd star, suing him for $100 million.
The couple first began dating in 2017, after Johnny split from his longtime partner, Vanessa Paradis, with whom he shared two children: daughter Lily-Rose, and son Jack.
They wed in 2015, but just one year later, Amber filed for divorce.
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Speaking to the jury, Johnny’s lawyer Benjamin Chew touched upon the actor’s childhood, and referenced his long-term relationships with Winona Ryder, Kate Moss and ex-partner Vanessa.
He claimed Amber was a “profoundly troubled person” who manipulated the actor, and was often “angry”, taunting her husband who they said would “retreat” into rooms around their home in an effort to get away from her.
His legal team acknowledged his use of drugs and booze, but said that doesn’t make him “an abuser”, and accused Amber of being a “compulsive liar”.
Camille Vasquez, from Johnny’s legal team, claimed Amber used the allegations against her Hollywood A-lister husband to “advance her own career”, and portray herself as an “innocent survivor of abuse”.
“Common sense and the evidence will tell you that this is all a lie… [Amber] tells a lie and covers up that lie with still more lies, in a constantly changing, evolving, evermore dramatic way,” Vasquez fired.
Amber’s lawyer Ben Rottenborn then addressed the jury, as he said that Johnny has been on a mission to “humiliate” Amber for years.
“The evidence will show that for years, all Mr Depp has wanted to do is humiliate Amber, to haunt her, to wreck her career – that’s what the evidence will show,” he told the court.
As he spoke, Johnny could be seen smiling and laughing, while talking with his own legal team.
Rottenborn argued Amber never mentioned her ex-husband in the Washington Post article, but insisted the allegations she made were true.
“Amber did suffer sexual violence at the hands of Depp,” he told the court, as he took aim at the actor’s legal team, accusing them of insinuating Amber had “made it up”.
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He then took aim at the Pirates of the Caribbean star, and said he was an “obsessed ex-husband, hellbent on revenge” as Amber looked on, sitting in the back of the courtroom.
“I have to say, it’s pretty ironic that a piece that briefly discussed Amber moving on from Johnny Dep, that briefly discussed her life experiences after Johnny Depp, is the very vehicle that he uses to try and keep her from moving on, to try to keep her from living her life,” Rottenborn added.
Amber is set to take to the stand later this month to talk about Johnny’s alleged sexual violence, while the actor will also give evidence during the trial.