One of the most talked-about celebrity scandals in recent history is the public breakup of Johnny Depp and Amber Heard. What amplified the discussion surrounding their marriage were the abuse allegations that the couple levied against one another.
Heard stated early on, once their separation became public, that she was a victim of violence at Depp's hand, which spurred the "Justice for Johnny Depp" campaign, along with words of defense from Depp's ex-wife Vanessa Paradis, ex-girlfriend Winona Ryder, and close friends.
British tabloid paper The Sun was quick to publish the story and labeled Johnny Depp a "wife beater" in the headline. The actor summarily assembled his legal team to take the newspaper to court, denying any allegations that he had abused Heard while simultaneously suing the media outlet for libel.
Several pieces of evidence from the case came to light that indicated Amber Heard may have been abusive in the relationship as well.
This spawned the "Justice for Johnny Depp" campaign.
The case split those who followed the drama into two general camps: those who supported Heard and vilified Depp and vice-versa. An online movement in support of Depp highlighting the abuses he withstood at the hands of Heard during their marriage echoed that men can be victims of domestic abuse as well.
2020, if you get rid of her, we’ll forgive you for everything. #AmberHeardIsAnAbuser #AmberHeardIsTheRealAbuser #AmberHeardIsALiar #AmberHeardisAGoldDigger #JohnnyDepp #JohnnyDeppIsInnocent #JusticeForJohnnyDepp #DeppMovieNight #Deppcember #deppheads https://t.co/TxJyCSjZjc— Faye Jones (@TheFayeJones) December 28, 2020
The viral hashtag is often attached to tweets condemning Heard and highlighting the reported lies she was caught stating during Depp's trial, along with praises for Dior's fragrance branch for standing by the actor, not to mention condemnations aimed at Warner Bros. for terminating the Fantastic Beasts villain's role in the popular Harry Potter franchise.
Fans of the actor were quick to leave comments of support on a recent post where he wished everyone a better 2021. The comments were attached to a candid photo of Depp on set for Crock of Gold, the documentary about Pogues' lead singer, Shane MacGowan:
"This year has been so hard for so many. Here’s to a better time ahead. Happy Holidays, everyone! My love and respect to you all. Eternally, JD."
Stray Cats' drummer Slim Jim Phantom wrote, "We are yours eternally," in response to the post.
Johnny Depp's ex-wife Vanessa Paradis defended him ahead of his trial along with ex-GF Winona Ryder.
"I do not want to call anyone a liar but from my experience of Johnny, it is impossible to believe that such horrific allegations are true. I find it extremely upsetting knowing him as I do," Paradis said. The pair "amicably separated" in 2012. "I have known Johnny for more than 25 years. We’ve been partners for 14 years and we raised our two children together."
Paradis continued, "Through all these years I’ve known Johnny to be a kind, attentive, generous, and non-violent person and father. On movie sets the actors, director, and entire crews adore him because he is humble and respectful to everyone, as well as being one of the best actors we’ve seen."
She also called Heard's allegations against the actor, "false facts": "I am aware of the allegations which Amber Heard has publicly accused Johnny of for more than four years now. This is nothing like the true Johnny I have known, and from my personal experience of many years, I can say he was never violent or abusive to me. I have seen that these outrageous statements have been really distressing, and also caused damage to his career because unfortunately, people have gone on believing these false facts."
Ryder had equally glowing things to say about Depp's character: "The idea that he is an incredibly violent person is the farthest thing from the Johnny I knew and loved. I cannot wrap my head around these accusations. He was never, never violent towards me. He was never, never abusive at all towards me. He has never been violent or abusive towards anybody I have seen. I truly and honestly only know him as a really good man - an incredibly loving, extremely caring guy who was so very protective of me and the people that he loves, and I felt so very, very safe with him."
The campaign gained steam after the question "Will Johnny Depp be in the new 'Pirates of the Caribbean'?" was answered.
Reports indicate that the actor will not be in the movie, which seems almost impossible to longtime series actor Kevin McNally, calling an exclusion of Depp "criminal":
"My feelings about this are very complex because in a sense there was a slight feeling that the franchise itself had played out a little bit, so a reboot is a reasonable idea. I don't think a reboot, if you concentrate on younger characters, should still exclude Jack Sparrow."
Depp ultimately lost his libel trial against The Sun when the presiding judge ruled that there was more than enough evidence to incriminate Depp as a perpetrator of domestic abuse.
The audio of Amber Heard's recorded conversation with Johnny Depp had folks up in arms.
In early 2020, audio files of a discussion Heard had with her ex-husband has her admitting to physically hitting Depp, which turned public opinion against her. Currently, an online petition to remove the actress from Warner Bros./DC's Aquaman sequel is almost at 1.8 million signatures.
Justice for Johnny Depp... or Amber Heard? What are your thoughts on the allegations between the two stars?