A complete timeline of Johnny Depp and Amber Heard’s tumultuous relationship

Johnny Depp and Amber Heard at the at the Royal Courts of Justice in London, England. Associated Press / Karwai Tang / WireImage / Getty Images
  • Johnny Depp has been denied the right to appeal the court’s ruling after losing his libel case against The Sun newspaper, and was ordered to make an initial payment of £630,000 ($US841,733) to cover its legal fees.
  • Danish actor Mads Mikkelson was also named as Depp’s replacement in “Fantastic Beasts 3” after the actor was “asked to resign” just days after losing the case.
  • The British paper described Depp as a “wife-beater” in a 2018 article about allegations made by his ex, Amber Heard and a judge said the actor’s lawsuit could not succeed because The Sun’s lawyers had proved what the newspaper reported was “substantially true.”
  • Depp and Heard first met in 2009 on the set of “The Rum Diary,” which they starred in together.
  • They married in 2015 in a private ceremony, but Heard filed for divorce a year later, accusing Depp of domestic abuse.
  • Here is a complete timeline of their tumultuous relationship.
  • Visit Insider’s homepage for more stories.

After Johnny Depp lost his high-profile libel case against the publishers of The Sun newspaper over a 2018 article that described him as a “wife-beater,” the actor announced that he has been “asked to resign” from the upcoming “Fantastic Beasts 3.”

Danish actor Mads Mikkelson was officially named as Depp’s replacement in November after weeks of speculation over who would take on the role.

Depp has vehemently denied the claims of abuse, but was denied the right to appeal the court’s ruling after Justice Nicol said: “I do not consider that the proposed grounds of appeal have a reasonable prospect of success.”

Depp had previously been in relationships with Winona Ryder (from 1989 to 1993), Kate Moss (1994 to 1998), and Vanessa Paradis (1998 to 2012). But he struck up a relationship with Heard soon after meeting her on the set of 2009’s ‘The Rum Diary.”

Meanwhile, Heard was in a relationship with photographer and painter Tasya van Ree for four years from 2008 to 2012.

Here’s a complete timeline of their tumultuous relationship.

In 2009, Depp met Heard on the set of ‘The Rum Diary’

The Rum Diary
Johnny Depp and Amber Heard in ‘The Rum Diary.’ FilmDistrict

Depp starred as Paul Kemp, a journalist who takes a job in Puerto Rico in “The Rum Diary” — based off of Hunter S. Thompson’s book of the same name. Thompson was Depp’s real-life friend and idol.

Heard played Chenault — a woman engaged to another man — who Kemp is immediately smitten with as soon as he sees her.

Heard told Vogue in 2011: “Working with Johnny was torture. It was better than I ever imagined, which is really saying something.”

Depp and Heard were dating by early 2012

Johnny Depp and Vanessa Paradis
Johnny Depp and former partner Vanessa Paradis. MARTIN BUREAU/AFP via Getty Images

In a court filing, Heard wrote that she and Depp began dating “around the end of 2011 or the start of 2012.” It was also in 2012 that Depp and long-time partner Paradis publicly announced their separation after 14 years of dating. Depp had two children with Paradis: Lily-Rose (born in 1999) and John Christopher (2002).

Heard split up with partner Tasya van Ree at the same time.USA Today reported that Heard was arrested in 2009 on a charge of physically assaulting then-girlfriend van Ree at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport in Washington. The two got into a disagreement after Heard allegedly grabbed and hit van Ree’s arm.

All charges were dropped, however, with van Ree herself saying that Heard was “wrongfully” accused by cops who “misinterpreted and over-sensationalised” the incident.

In 2014, Heard was spotted wearing an engagement ring

People magazine reported that Depp and Heard were engaged after a picture emerged of the actress wearing an ornate engagement ring.

Depp himself seemed to confirm the engagement in a video interview with The Daily Mail, after discussing wedding planning and pointing out that he was wearing “a chick’s ring” on his finger.

“It’s probably a dead giveaway, isn’t it? Not very subtle,” Depp said.

In 2015, Depp and Heard married in a private ceremony

After several years of dating, Depp and Heard married in a very private ceremony in their home in LA, with People reporting photos.

Later in 2015, Depp and Heard breached Australia’s biosecurity laws after they failed to declare their dogs (Yorkshire terriors) when they arrived in the country. They released an apology video together.

In 2016, Heard filed for divorce from Depp and accused him of physical abuse

On May 23, 2016, Heard filed for divorce from Depp and also obtained a temporary restraining order against the Oscar-nominated actor. She alleged that Depp had physically abused her during their relationship, and said it was usually while under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

She alleged that at the time of filing for divorce, an incident had recently taken place in which Depp threw his phone at her, leaving her with a bruised face. However, a police spokesman told People that an investigation into the domestic incident radio call found that no crime had taken place.

Depp denied these accusations and through his representatives said Heard was “attempting to secure a premature financial resolution by alleging abuse.”

A $US7 million settlement was reached out of court on August 16, 2016

Heard testified under oath at a deposition, but a settlement was eventually reached after she withdrew her request for a domestic violence restraining order. She also rescinded her spousal support request of $US50,000 a month.

Depp and Heard also released a joint statement, saying: “Our relationship was intensely passionate and at times volatile, but always bound by love. Neither party has made false accusations for financial gain.”

It continued: “There was never any intent of physical or emotional harm.”

Heard received $US7 million from the divorce but donated it to charity, according to People.

In 2017, the divorce was finalised

Amber Heard filed for divorce in 2016. Getty Images

Depp and Heard’s divorce was finalised a year after Heard filed. Heard kept the dogs that were at the centre of the 2015 scandal in which the couple failed to declare the animals in Australia. Meanwhile, Depp retained sole possession of all properties, including his private island in the Bahamas, as well as his collection of classic cars and motorcycles.

The Hollywood Reporter reported that a non-disparagement clause was inserted into the settlement that prevented either party from saying anything negative about the high-profile relationship and break-up.

In December 2018, Heard wrote an op-ed for The Washington Post saying she was abused

Amber Heard domestic abuse
Heard alleges that Depp physically abused her. The Sun UK

Heard wrote an op-ed for The Washington Post in which she spoke about the treatment of women in domestic abuse cases.

In the op-ed, Heard wrote: “I became a public figure representing domestic abuse, and I felt the full force of our culture’s wrath for women who speak out.”

Depp himself was never mentioned by name.

In 2019, Depp sued Heard for $US50 million for defamation over the WaPo article

The suit said that Heard “is not a victim of domestic abuse, she is a perpetrator,” and denied that Depp ever abused her. Instead, the suit said that Heard’s allegations were part of an “elaborate hoax to generate positive publicity” for the actress.

Depp’s lawyers said: “The op-ed depended on the central premise that Ms. Heard was a domestic abuse victim and that Mr. Depp perpetrated domestic violence against her.”

In a court filing that attempted to dismiss Depp’s defamation suit, Heard detailed multiple instances of alleged abuse that she said occurred during their marriage and referred to him as “the Monster,” per Variety.

Elon Musk James Franco
Depp has claimed that Heard had affairs with James Franco and Elon Musk. Getty Images/Frazer Harrison/Aaron P. Bernstein/Reuters

Heard claimed that she still had scars on her arms and feet from an incident where Depp allegedly threw her through a ping pong table and dragged her through broken glass.

The suit is still ongoing in the US.

In 2020, phone recordings were released in which Heard admitted to ‘hitting’ Depp

In January, phone recordings obtained by the Daily Mail were released. In these recordings, Heard admitted to “hitting” Depp.

Heard is heard saying: “I’m sorry that I didn’t … hit you across the face in a proper slap, but I was hitting you, it was not punching you. Babe, you’re not punched.

“I don’t know what the motion of my actual hand was, but you’re fine, I did not hurt you, I did not punch you, I was hitting you.”

Meanwhile, Depp said in the recording: “I left last night. Honestly, I swear to you because I just couldn’t take the idea of more physicality, more physical abuse on each other.

“Because had we continued it, it would have gotten f—ing bad. And baby, I told you this once. I’m scared to death we are a f—ing crime scene right now,” Depp continued.

Heard replied: “I can’t promise you I won’t get physical again. God, I f—ing sometimes get so mad I lose it.”

On July 7 2020, the three-week libel trial began

Depp fought News Group Newspapers, the publisher of The Sun, in court over a 2018 article in which they called him a “wife beater” in reference to Depp and Heard’s former marriage. Depp sued both the publisher and The Sun’s executive editor Dan Wootton for libel.


Ryder and Paradis both provided statements in Depp’s defence.

Ryder wrote: “The idea that he is an incredibly violent person is the farthest thing from the Johnny I knew and loved. I cannot wrap my head around these accusations.”

Meanwhile, Paradis wrote that Heard’s accusations are “nothing like the true Johnny I have known, and from my personal experience of many years, I can say he was never violent or abusive to me.”

The trial began in early July, and lasted three weeks. Depp alleged that Heard defecated in his bed and punched him, which Heard denies. Depp also accused Heard of having extra-marital affairs with James Franco and Elon Musk, which Heard also denies.

Heard, meanwhile, accused Depp of physically abusing her, and has also accused him of throwing a phone at her face, which she says left her bruised. Furthermore, Hear said that Depp threatened to kill her on several occasions.

On November 2 the court ruled against Depp in the libel trial

Actor Johnny Depp arrives at the High Court in London, Britain July 10, 2020. REUTERS/Peter Nicholls
Actor Johnny Depp at the High Court in London Reuters

Three months after the blockbuster trial began, Judge Mr Justice Nicol ruled that The Sun was correct in reporting that Depp was violent towards his ex-wife Amber Heard.

In reaching his ruling, Nicol referred to 14 separate incidents that The Sun’s lawyers cited to justify calling Depp a “wife-beater.”

Following the ruling, a spokesman for The Sun said: “The Sun has stood up and campaigned for the victims of domestic abuse for over 20 years. Domestic abuse victims must never be silenced and we thank the judge for his careful consideration and thank Amber Heard for her courage in giving evidence to the court.”

In a statement seen by the BBC, Heard’s lawyer in the US said: “For those of us present for the London High Court trial, this decision and judgment are not a surprise. Very soon, we will be presenting even more voluminous evidence in the US.

“We are committed to obtaining justice for Amber Heard in the US Court and defending Ms. Heard’s right to free speech.”

Johnny Depp has strenuously denied all claims that he was violent towards Heard and in a statement published shortly after the ruling, his lawyers said: “This decision is as perverse as it is bewildering.

“Most troubling is the judge’s reliance on the testimony of Amber Heard, and corresponding disregard of the mountain of counter-evidence from police officers, medical practitioners, her own former assistant, other unchallenged witnesses and an array of documentary evidence which completely undermined the allegations, point by point.

“All of this was overlooked. The judgment is so flawed that it would be ridiculous for Mr. Depp not to appeal this decision. In the meantime, we hope that in contrast to this case, the ongoing libel proceedings in America are equitable, with both parties providing full disclosure rather than one side strategically cherry-picking what evidence can and cannot be relied upon.”

Depp has also launched a $US50m case against Heard in the US over a column she penned for the Washington Post about her experience as a victim of domestic violence. While Depp is not named in Heard’s piece, his legal team insists that it is strongly inferred that the article is about him.

4 days later on November 6, Depp announced that he had been ‘asked to resign’ from his role as Grindewald in ‘Fantastic Beasts 3’

Gellert grindelwald fantastic beasts 2 paris house
Johnny Depp as Gellert Grindelwald in ‘Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald.’ Warner Bros.

Depp will no longer portray the controversial dark wizard Grindelwald in the upcoming “Fantastic Beasts” film.

In a statement posted to his Instagram on November 6, four days after the conclusion to his libel case, he wrote in a typed letter: “I wish to let you know that I have been asked to resign by Warner Bros. from my role as Grindelwald in ‘Fantastic Beasts’ and I have respected and agreed to that request.”

He continued, “Finally, I wish to say this. The surreal judgment of the court in the UK will not change my fight to tell the truth and I confirm that I plan to appeal.”

“My resolve remains strong and I intend to prove that the allegations against me are false,” Depp added. “My life and career will not be defined by this moment in time.”

The third film in the “Fantastic Beasts” saga had already begun production, but in a statement published shortly after Depp’s, Warner Bros. confirmed his departure to Variety, in a statement.

“We thank Johnny for his work on the films to date,” the studio said.

After weeks of speculation, Danish actor Mads Mikkelson was officially named as Depp’s successor.

Despite being ousted from the film and only shooting one scene since filming started on September 20 in the UK, The Hollywood Reporter claims that Depp will still receive full compensation for the next instalment.

Per his “pay-or-play” contract, which states that he “be fully compensated whether or not the film is made and even if it is recast,” Depp will receive an 8-figure sum for his work.

Depp was denied the right to appeal by the court’s ruling

Actor Johnny Depp, centre, is surrounded by fans as he arrives at the High Court in London, Thursday, July 16, 2020. Depp is suing News Group Newspapers, publisher of The Sun, and the paper's executive editor, Dan Wootton, over an April 2018 article that called him a
Actor Johnny Depp, centre, is surrounded by fans as he arrives at the High Court in London, Thursday, July 16, 2020. Depp is suing News Group Newspapers, publisher of The Sun, and the paper’s executive editor, Dan Wootton, over an April 2018 article that called him a “wife-beater.” The Sun’s defence relies on a total of 14 allegations by his ex-wife Amber Heard of Depp’s violence. He strongly denies all of them. (AP Photo/Alastair Grant) Associated Press

Johnny Depp and his legal team had hoped to overturn the court’s ruling with an appeal but in a statement that was made public on November 25, Judge Nicol refused to grant Depp the permission to appeal against his judgment, saying: “I do not consider that the proposed grounds of appeal have a reasonable prospect of success.”

The judge also ordered Depp to make an initial payment of £630,000 ($US841,733) to News Group Newspapers, publisher of The Sun, to cover its legal fees. Depp still has until December 7 to apply for an appeal above Judge Nicol at the Court of Appeal.

Read more:

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