The Johnny Depp v. Amber Heard case was one of the most talked-about news stories in 2022. The trial quickly became sensationalized on social media, with throngs of TikTok accounts and posts across multiple platforms advocating for Depp, heralding him as a victim of domestic abuse while simultaneously vilifying Amber as a vindictive liar who was out to ruin her ex-husband’s career.
Johnny Depp would go on to win the defamation lawsuit against Heard, a decision that the actress’ lawyers said was heavily influenced by “lopsided” social media narratives which were largely in favor of Depp.
Following his victory, Depp embarked on a musical performance tour, and throngs of celebrities came out in support of the actor, liking his social media posts after the dust settled from the trial. However, recently unsealed court documents have brought information unbeknownst to the general public about the nature of Heard and Depp’s respective approaches to the trial into the public eye, and as a result, many known public figures have begun “taking back” their likes on the Depp’s posts.
Twitter user Kamilla (@k4mil1a) is one of several social media users who’ve highlighted this fact. In a series of tweets, Kamilla has pointed to resources where individuals are compiling the names of celebrities who’ve liked Depp’s Instagram posts, like this Reddit list.
In light of these newly-surfaced documents, Kamilla alleges that a number of celebrities, including Elle Fanning, Bella Hadid, Orlando Bloom, Robert Downey Jr, NikkieTutorials, Zoey Deutch, Sophie Turner, and Joey King have unliked Depp’s celebratory Instagram post. In a follow-up comment, she also notes Jennifer Coolidge, Brittany Broski, Amanda Knox, Jordan Fisher, Sam Fender, Christina Hendricks, McKenna Grace, Riley Keogh, and Bruce Campbell have unliked the post.
Contrarily, Kamilla also notes Sarah Paulson, Amanda Seyfried, John Legend, Edward Norton, Lena Heady, Phoebe Bridgers, Emily Ratajkowski, FKA twigs, Mia Farrow, Christina Ricci, Melissa Benoist, Julia Fox, Nathalie Emmanuel, Busy Philipps, and Lindsay Lohan have interacted with posts in support of Amber Heard on social media.
Vanity Fair reported that Judge Penney Azcarte “did not allow” these unsealed documents to be admitted in court as they were ruled to not be directly pertinent to the 2018 Washington Post op-ed written by Heard, which Depp’s legal counsel contended was aimed directly at the actor and effectively had him blacklisted from Hollywood. One such high-profile role Depp reportedly lost as a result of the “hit piece” was Grindelwald in the Fantastic Beasts franchise, which saw him replaced with Mads Mikkelsen.
Azcarte called for the documents to be unsealed and made public knowledge following the end of Depp and Heard’s trial: “In this matter, both litigants sued one another, thereby opening themselves up to the public forum of a jury trial. Court records are public information.”
These documents show that Heard’s counsel was prevented from including anecdotes about Depp’s raucous and drunk behavior on the set of the fifth “Pirates of the Caribbean” film, resulting in “no love” between Johnny and Disney. Studio executives reportedly, according to the documents, Depp’s previous agent Tracey Jacobs told, “what the hell was wrong with your client [Johnny],” in response to a TV interview where Depp purportedly showed up drunk and stoned to the point of near belligerence.
This wasn’t the only cause for concern among the unsealed documents. Depp’s legal team reportedly argued against the inclusion of text messages with Marilyn Manson who lamented issues with his now-wife Lindsay Usich who he referred to as “Amber 2.0.” The musician texted Depp, saying, “Lindsay just pulled an amber on me…please delete.” According to the documents, Depp responded to the text: “I have been reading A LOT of material on that and sociopathic behavior… It is fucking real, my brother!!! My ex-cunt is goddam TEXTBOOK!!!”
However, it appears that Depp’s attempt at slut-shaming Heard in court is what has become of particular outrage to denizens of social media: as Heard’s counsel was able to halt the inclusion of “(1) nude pictures of Amber Heard; (2) Amber Heard’s sister Whitney’s reality show video; (3) Whitney and Amber’s past romantic relationships; (4) Amber’s brief stint as an exotic dancer years before she with Mr. Depp and Mr. Depp attempting to frivolously and maliciously suggest or imply that Ms. Heard was an escort at one time.”
It’s important to note that prior to the Virginia court case between Heard and Depp, Depp had a court appearance in the UK against British publication The Sun, which published a story labeling Depp a “wife beater.” In that case, text messages between Depp’s former assistant Stephen Deuters, along with messages Depp sent to Amber, were used. These texts were not admissible in the US trial.
The messages appear to corroborate that Depp acknowledged, and expressed remorse, at Heard’s accusation he kicked her while aboard a private jet. “If someone was truly honest with him about how bad it really was, he would be appalled,” Deuters wrote to Heard. He continued, “I’m sad he does not have a better way to really know the severity of his actions yesterday. Unfortunately for me, I remember them in full, in full detail, everything that happened. He was appalled, when I told him he kicked you, he cried.”
Depp would purportedly message Heard after the incident, “Once again, I find myself in a place of shame and regret. Of course I am sorry…I will never do it again…My illness somehow crept up and grabbed me…I feel so bad for letting you down.”
A big talking point among social media users during the Depp v Heard trial was that the actress had doctored photos of herself or applied makeup on her face to make it look like she was the victim of abuse, causing tons of social media allegations and criticisms of Heard’s legal counsel attempting to submit falsified evidence. However, unsealed documents also reveal that Heard’s legal team accused Depp of the same, and that metadata from the files proves photographs and audio files were modified and edited days before the case. The modified versions of these files were the only ones ultimately submitted by Depp’s counsel.
Amber Heard has appealed Judge Azcarte’s decision on the trial around the time she sold her Yuca home for $1,050,000. The actress’s lawyer, Elaine Bredehoft, says that her client is unable to pay the $10.35 million the court has ordered her to pay Depp.