Johnny Depp and Amber Heard met in 2009 when they were love interests in the 2011 film The Rum Diary. However, it took a few years after their initial meeting before the two became an official couple. First, Depp had to stop seeing his long-time partner, Vanessa Paradis, so he could date Heard. Their relationship kicked off in 2012, and in 2014, the couple announced their engagement. But things weren't as calm as they appeared.
From 2014 through February 3, 2015, when the couple married in the Bahamas, signs began to emerge of Depp's allegedly aggressive nature. As time progressed, the couple's problems spilled out into the open, and it wasn't long before they split up. In 2019, Depp filed a defamation lawsuit against Heard, alleging her accusations were not credible.
This timeline is an accounting of the important events that transpired between Johnny Depp and Amber Heard's engagement and their separation, divorce, and the aftermath.
January 31, 2020: The 'Daily Mail' Publishes An Audio Recording Implicating Heard In Some Physical Conflict
The Daily Mail published an exclusive audio recording of a conversation between Depp and Heard in which Heard admits, "I can't promise I won't get physical again, I get so mad I lose it." Depp, on the other hand, suggests the couple temporarily separate if things between them escalate.
Though Heard agrees there should be no physical violence, she pleads with Depp to reconsider taking time apart. While Heard says she will not suggest a divorce, Depp says he will try to be a better husband.
The conversation from 2015 was recorded consensually on Heard's cellphone as part of an informal therapy session, according to the Daily Mail.
Depp and Heard argue over whether she "punched" or "hit" her husband, with her insisting, "I was hitting you, it was not punching you. Babe, you're not punched." And Depp retorting, "Don't tell me what it feels like to be punched."
A spokeswoman for Heard explained, "Ms. Heard repeatedly attempts to placate Mr. Depp, ignore his accusations, and force him to acknowledge what was really happening in their relationship," further suggesting that he "vindictively" leaked the tapes.
- Photo: Warner Bros.
April 19, 2019: News Breaks That Depp Allegedly Tried To Have Heard Fired From 'Aquaman'
As of April 2019, Depp is suing his former attorney Jake Bloom and calling former-Warner Bros. chairman Kevin Tsujihara, Amber Heard, and Heard’s ex Elon Musk to be potential witnesses in the deposition. Tsujihara will be asked to testify as to whether he had anything to do with attempting to blacklist Heard from the studio. Heard ultimately starred alongside Jason Momoa as Mera in 2018's Aquaman.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, Depp allegedly lobbied Tsujihara to block Heard from both Aquaman and any other projects with the studio. In an op-ed for The Washington Post in 2017, Heard wrote:
Friends and advisers told me I would never again work as an actress - that I would be blacklisted. A movie I was attached to recast my role. I had just shot a two-year campaign as the face of a global fashion brand, and the company dropped me. Questions arose as to whether I would be able to keep my role of Mera in the movies Justice League and Aquaman.
- Photo: Featureflash Photo Agency / Shutterstock.com
March 1, 2019: Depp Files A $50 Million Defamation Suit Against Heard
On March 1, 2019, Depp filed a $50 million defamation lawsuit against Heard for the extensive damage done to his career following her claims regarding their relationship. According to Depp's lawyers' statement in the suit:
Mr. Depp never abused Ms. Heard. Her allegations against him were false when they were made in 2016. They were part of an elaborate hoax to generate positive publicity for Ms. Heard and advance her career.
Depp's career took a significant hit following the allegations made by Heard. He lost his role within the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise. Additionally, there were calls to remove him from the Fantastic Beasts franchise and other projects.
The lawsuit was filed in direct response to Heard's op-ed published in The Washington Post titled "I spoke up against sexual violence - and faced our culture's wrath. That has to change."
Heard's representative issued the following response to the lawsuit:
This frivolous action is just the latest of Johnny Depp’s repeated efforts to silence Amber Heard. She will not be silenced. Mr. Depp’s actions prove he is unable to accept the truth of his ongoing abusive behavior...
- Photo: Ovidiu Hrubaru / Shutterstock.com
August 16, 2016: The Protective Order Is Withdrawn And The Divorce Settled
On August 16, 2016, Heard withdrew her request for the order, and the couple settled the divorce. Depp agreed to a one-time payment of $7 million. The newly divorced couple issued a statement, which included the following:
Our relationship was intensely passionate and at times volatile, but always bound by love... Neither party has made false accusations for financial gains.
Shortly after the settlement was received, Heard donated the entire amount to numerous charities and children's hospitals.