In 2016, Heard filed for divorce and a restraining order after 15 months of marriage to Depp. She appeared in a LA court to file the order with a bruised cheek as she alleged Depp had thrown a mobile phone at her face with "extreme force".
She also alleged that Depp had emotionally, verbally and physically abused her, describing how he was "angry, hostile, humiliating and threatening assaults".
Depp denied the abuse at the time, and while a judge granted Heard a temporary restraining order, the pair came to a settlement hours later.
In a joint statement, they wrote: "Our relationship was intensely passionate and at times volatile, but always bound by love. Neither party has made false accusations for financial gain. There was never any intent of physical or emotional harm."
It seemed the former couple had put the dispute behind them until December 2018, when Heard penned an impassioned op-ed in The Washington Post where she described herself as a "public figure representing domestic abuse".
While she never mentioned any perpetrator of domestic abuse by name, she wrote, "I felt the full force of our culture's wrath for women who speak out. I had the rare vantage point of seeing, in real time, how institutions protect men accused of abuse."
In the wake of this, Depp filed a lawsuit against Heard for defamation. The complaint claimed that Heard's "clear implication that Mr Depp is a domestic abuser is categorically and demonstrably false."
It also claimed that allegations outlined in the op-ed were "part of an elaborate hoax to generate positive publicity for Ms Heard and advance her career".
The new defamation trial
Depp is suing Heard for USD $50 million, alleging that she devastated his career—Heard is suing back, with a USD $100 million counterclaim against Depp's complaint.
The trial is being held in Virginia, where two Washington Post offices reside.
On Tuesday, April 12, Heard's attorney, Ben Rottenborn, shared in his opening statement, "Make no mistake, Johnny Depp’s reputation is in tatters. His career is in a free fall."
He added: "But it’s because of problems that he created… It’s not Amber’s fault. It’s because of the choices he made."
The court then heard shocking abuse allegations against Depp, including claims he ripped off Heard's clothes, hurled bottles at her, punched her and threatened to kill her. Her lawyers also alleged Depp "penetrated her with a liquor bottle," in 2015.
Depp's lawyer, Benjamin Chew, vehemently labelled Heard's complaint as "lies", beginning in his own opening statement: "The evidence will show that Ms. Heard’s false allegations had a significant impact on Depp’s family and his ability to work in the profession he loved."
Addressing the jurors direct, he told them that they probably previously knew Depp as a "respected artist whose name was associated with success at the box office,"
"Today his name is associated with a lie... A false allegation can devastate a career and it can devastate a family," he added.
Another of Depp's Lawyers, Camille Vasquez, acknowledged that while the actor had struggled with substance abuse during his relationship with Heard, he "does not abuse women".
“You’ll learn that Johnny Depp is a kind soul who would never raise a hand on a woman,” she told the court.
She also alleged that Heard was using her acting skills to connivance the court of the "lie".
"She has been living and breathing this lie for years now, and she has been preparing to give the performance of her life in this trial."
The trial will see several well-known celebrities provide testimonies, including Elon Musk and James Franco. Heard and Depp will also testify.
The 'Rotting corpse' text
In a text conversation with his neighbour Isaac Baruch, Depp wrote, '''I hope that Amber's rotten corpse is decomposing in a f--king trunk of a honda civic." When his Baruch took the stand, he confirmed that the text exchange had in fact taken place in 2016 (the same year Depp and Heard's divorce was finalised).
The severed finger
After seeking medical treatment for a severed finger, Depp confessed that he had "lied" to the doctor about how he had sustained these injuries.
"I didn't want to get her in trouble," he testified. "I tried to just keep things as copasetic and as easy as possible for everyone. I did not want to put her name in that mix."
Depp's personal doctor Dr David Kipper took to the stand, recounting the moment where he arrived at the actor's home to find him bleeding heavily. He claims he then asked Depp's staff to look for the finger, with his chef eventually locating it in the kitchen.
Previously, the judge presiding over Depp's libel lawsuit against The Sun did not accept that Heard was responsible for severing the actor's fingertip by allegedly throwing a vodka bottle at him, per The Guardian.
After testifying about the severed finger, Depp then alleged that Heard put a lit cigarette out on his face.
"This was after the finger had gone away," he added., saying "she stubbed it out in my face, on my cheek."
The mutual abuse
According to Depp and Heard's ex-couples therapist, Laurel Anderson, over the course of their relationship, the pair found themselves "engaged in mutual abuse."
"He (Depp) had been "well-controlled" for 20, 30 years, and both had been victims of abuse in their homes in the past," she continued. "But he was triggered with Ms Heard, and they engaged in what I viewed as mutual abuse," Anderson told the court.
Heard's personal assistant Katherine James also took the stand virtually, claiming that she had witnessed some disturbing behaviour during her time working for Heard. During 2012-2015, James alleges that Heard once spat on her face when she asked for a pay rise and would also scream over the phone for no apparent reason.
The case continues.
If you are experiencing sexual abuse or other unwanted behaviour, please contact Full Stop Australia or call 1800RESPECT.