After an acrimonious relationship that lasted over just one year, the domestic abuse case between Johnny Depp and Amber Heard has finally been settled. The papers were filed yesterday in the Superior Court of Los Angeles, withdrawing her restraining order against the Edward Scissorhands star, and agreeing to a divorce settlement of $7 million. She will give the majority of proceeds to charity.
A joint statement was released by the couple that claimed:
“Our relationship was intensely passionate and at times volatile, but always bound by love. There was never an intent of physical or emotional harm. Neither party has made false accusations for financial gains.”
This has come after a long series of claims and counter-claims of abuse that has divided Hollywood.
Here is a timeline of events in what has been a very bitter break-up:
Amber Heard Files For Divorce, Claims Domestic Abuse
On Monday 23rd May Heard walked into court with bruises in her face, claiming she was the victim of domestic abuse when Depp threw his phone at her leading her to file for divorce. This proved bad timing for Depp who had lost his mother just three days earlier.
She provided this picture of her bruised face as evidence:
Depp, who kept extremely quiet throughout most of the scandal, had a statement released through his lawyer which claimed:
"Given the brevity of this marriage and the most recent and tragic loss of his mother, Johnny will not respond to any of the salacious false stories, gossip, misinformation, and lies about his personal life. Hopefully the dissolution of this short marriage will be resolved quickly"
It was not to be resolved quickly, with more and more horrific details emerging about the particulars of the abuse, including beatings, swinging a champagne bottle like a baseball bat, and Depp engaging in heavy alcohol and drug use. She quickly got a restraining order which prevented Depp from being within one hundred feet of her.
The accusations of abuse laid upon Depp led to friends and family sticking by him. His daughter posted on Instagram writing:
Vanessa Paradis also supported her ex-husband, writing a letter saying:
These statements neglected to mention Heard, until a much uglier statement came from his friend and comedian Doug Stanhope claiming that she was blackmailing Depp:
"Johnny Depp got used, manipulated, set up and made to look like an a–hole"
Amber Heard later filed a suit against Stanhope, whilst her friends came to her defence.
IO Tillett Wright, in an essay entitled "Why I called 911" wrote of a pattern of abuse from Depp:
"The reports of violence started with a kick on a private plane, then it was shoves and the occasional punch, until finally, in December, she described an all-out assault and she woke up with her pillow covered in blood"
Another neighbour of Heard, Raquel Rose Pennington, also described an incident in which she had to save her:
"When I opened the door, I saw Amber by the couch, covering her head with her arms and hands, as Johnny was loudly screaming at her"
With claims on both sides escalating, the ugliness of the case was made worse when video footage, claimed to be filmed months before the divorce filing, emerged of Depp angrily throwing a wine glass when Heard tells him to calm down. When he sees that she is filming, he attempts to grab her phone.
Contains Stressing Scenes:
The video shows a clearly drunk Depp who is not in a sane state of mind, making it hard for anyone to defend his actions.
This is not the first time Depp has been accused of erratic relationship behaviour - a report in the Guardian in 2005 saying that "in September 1994, he reportedly got into a pretty loud fight with then-girlfriend Kate Moss in the $1,200-a-night Presidential Suite at New York's Mark Hotel" and with Winona Ryder giving an interview in 2010 claiming her first boyfriend, who was Johnny Depp, "used to smash everything."
Has Justice Been Served?
With Heard winning over $7 million from the settlement, her critics will claim that she has achieved her manipulative ways, yet the fact she has chosen to donate the majority of it to charity seems to suggest she was not in it for the money but had indeed suffered major abuse and manipulation.
Whilst no amount of money can compensate for the horrors of domestic abuse and the long-term psychological damage that can cause, here's hoping that the charity money will go to women's shelters and help clinics that can work to end such often underreported terrors.