Ronn Torossian, CEO, 5WPR
When the original story broke, fans of superstar actor Johnny Depp were appalled. According to his then-wife, Amber Heard, Depp was an abusive husband. After being married only 15 months, Heard filed for divorce and sought a temporary restraining order. Celebrity gossip sites and tabloids jumped on the story first, and it was soon national news. The Sun published a headline describing Depp as a “wife-beater.”
In response to that story, Depp filed a lawsuit, denying he ever abused Heard and coming after News Group Newspapers, which publishes The Sun, demanding they make it right. Many other media sources explored this new wrinkle to the story, and something unexpected happened. As more facts came out, it appeared that there were two, definitely different versions of this story. Heard accused Depp of all manner of physical abuse, including punching, kicking, slapping, headbutting, and hitting her. Depp strongly denies all of these allegations. Not only that, though, but Depp and some close to him are also saying it was actually Heard who the abuser was. Depp alleges that, during an argument after her birthday party, Heard “threw a haymaker” at him. Some in the media have described their marriage as “tumultuous,” while Depp himself called it a “crime scene waiting to happen.”
He also said it was a difficult time for him, as he was working to “kick drugs and alcohol” and not always being consistent in that effort. On the witness stand in the trial, Depp said Heard was making up the abuse claims against him, filing them away so she could use them against him later. Called to testify, Depp’s former personal assistant, Stephen Deuters, who was familiar with the couple’s difficult relationship, did not have complimentary things to say about Heard. Reuters called her a “sociopathic Machiavellian overlord,” and he indicated that Heard was, in fact, the abuser in the marriage.
The testimony of Tara Roberts, who manages Depp’s private Bahamian island, seemed to support this version of events. She claimed that Heard “ferociously” berated the actor, lunged at him and yanked his hair. Roberts said Heard continued to attack Depp verbally and physically. She added that she had never seen Depp act aggressive or violent. At the time of the incidents Roberts described, Heard had accused Depp of injuring her. Other witnesses also contradicted Heard’s version of events over the past few years. As of this writing, Heard has not yet testified in the current case, though she is scheduled to offer her version of the relationship.
Public opinion on the case has been all over the map. When Heard’s initial allegations surfaced, fans expressed shock and anger at Depp. Then, when he started disputing Heard’s claims, and others seemed to back his version of events, public opinion substantively shifted. The testimony, in this case, may go a long way toward establishing what the public at large believes about this Hollywood he-said/she-said abuse case.