Photograph: Jim Lo Scalzo/AFP/Getty Images
Amber Heard was asked in court last week if she recognized Carly Simon’s name, shortly after her attorneys presented an exhibit of a mirror that Johnny Depp had defaced in a tight, punctuated script after cutting a part of his middle finger in what his ex-wife described as a drug and alcohol-induced blackout.
Depp’s note read, “Call Carly Simon. She said it better. Goodbye.”
Heard testified that she did not know Simon or his work. But Depp, one can reasonably speculate, was referring to You’re So Vain, Simon’s 1972 hit. His lawyers could take up the matter in cross-examination the following week. Or the week after.
The same goes for the Depp-Heard libel case in Fairfax, Virginia. A cautionary tale, to be sure, with disturbing allegations of domestic and sexual abuse. But also a male-female fight, part Sunset Boulevard gender reversal, part Mean Girls, with flashbacks and stills taken – appropriately enough given the grim if not vampiric nature of the relationship – in the old house. by Bela Lugosi.
The choice of narrative jurors will not be known until after May 27, when the lawyers present their closing arguments. For now, with court out next week — judge Penny Azcarate is at an independent court conference — jurors must reflect on the final two days of Heard’s take on his tumultuous marriage.
“Two skilled actors on the stand as witnesses could have the same resonance without worrying about exactly where the truth lies in their stories,” said Nancianne Aydelotte, a New Jersey attorney. “It’s very difficult for jurors, who might find what the plaintiff said to be persuasive and who are also moved by the defendant.”
Heard’s testimony, at times very charged, was delivered while maintaining eye contact with the jurors. Depp has kept his head down, consulting his lawyers occasionally, usually when he seems to find something implausible – for example, that he ingested eight to 10 ecstasy pills in one sitting in Australia, or that he took quaaludes in Los Angeles.
Heard’s general story is that she was wooed and seduced, bought a foal and fell madly in love with a movie star – “when I was with Johnny I felt like the most beautiful person in the world – while the world beyond their “bubble” was held in abeyance.
“We weren’t doing normal life stuff,” Heard said. “We weren’t stuck in traffic with each other, we weren’t going to the grocery store and making life. We were hiding in these places all over the world.
That bubble, she testified, started to deflate when Depp started disappearing and she didn’t know how to find or reach him. Heard argued that Depp had become threatened by her career and jealous of her co-stars.
She testified that Depp threatened her life shortly after the couple married and that a few weeks later in Australia, while filming the fifth Pirates of the Caribbean movie, he sexually assaulted her with a bottle of Maker’s Mark.
“I’m gonna fucking kill you,” Heard claimed as Depp yelled. “I was scared,” she added. “I had just married her.” Months later, according to Heard, Depp broke his nose and tore chunks of hair in another violent encounter.
Depp testified that he never hit Heard and that she was the attacker, including when she threw a bottle of vodka at him, severing his finger.
Heard testified that in her efforts to help Depp get sober, she sought help through Al-Anon and sought to distance herself from the relationship, but was pulled whenever Depp achieved brief periods of sobriety. and when the “monster” the pair called their inebriated character was subdued.
But at every turn, she says, his efforts were hampered by an entourage — his security team, his assistants, his parasites — who protected him from the consequences of his drug and alcohol use. In London, she said, his security carried him to their rented house “like a baby”.
Some of the most interesting testimony over the past week has come from Depp’s accountants. One estimated Depp lost $40 million in income following Heard’s 2018 Washington Post opinion piece, in which she described herself as “a public figure representing domestic violence. “.
Hollywood negotiator Richard Marks, a witness to Depp, told the court that the film community interpreted Heard’s message loud and clear.
“This actor is synonymous with the product,” Marks said. “When you hire that actor or actress, you want a reputation that backs up the value you’ve spent to create that product. Especially over the past five years, with the #MeToo movement, you wouldn’t want negativity to hire a actor who, in quotes, was canceled.
Outside of the proceedings, Heard’s public relations team accused Depp of failing to take responsibility. “One of Ms. Heard’s disappointments is Mr. Depp’s inability to distinguish fact from fiction – a disease that appears to have spread to his legal team,” a spokesperson said in an email on Friday. email to journalists.
A flack of Depp countered that Heard delivered “the performance of a lifetime” and that her attorneys are eager to cross-examine her.
Public relations experts are divided on the consequences of Depp’s $50 million defamation lawsuit and Heard’s $100 million counterclaim.
“This case should serve as a cautionary tale for high profile people living in the public eye: when you decide to make an allegation of abuse or discuss your personal life in the form of an op-ed, TV interview or conversation with as a reporter, you run the risk of having to publicly discuss all sorts of ugly private details,” says Evan Nierman of Red Banyan.
“It’s remarkable that Heard chose to write the op-ed that started this whole saga, and that Depp decided to take legal action, given that both have more skeletons in their closets than a house. haunted.”
But Juda Engelmayer of the Herald PR says whatever the verdict in the case, Depp has given himself the opportunity to plead his case in the court of public opinion.
“He needs to tell his story rather than have it told by Heard in the Washington Post. He entertained and ended up attracting a lot of people, including women, to his side. That’s how he wins, regardless of the verdict, because he wants the world to see that he’s still capable of producing fans and producing entertainment.
For Heard, the question is perhaps more complex. “She was considered a hero for posting her story, so now she is coming out more of a hero for being abused in her marriage, if believed, and for being abused in court last week when he was entertaining, witty, taking it lightly and making people laugh.
“She looks good too,” says Engelmayer. “She is strong, bold and fearless, sitting there telling her story. She’s outspoken, doesn’t back down, and fights for what she believes is right.
Depp, Engelmayer thinks, will slowly find his way back into the movies, though perhaps not as prominently as before. Heard, he says, will also find his way back.
“She will be recast in some movies to test the waters to see if she has that moxie. She was never as big as Depp, but a lot of studios may think putting her on is a good draw for women and for progressives who think she was strong and deserved a chance. She will get the roles and the box office will say if she can order them.