Shortly after getting married Amber Heard said that she never thought that she’d get married. She is an ‘independent spirit’, after all. She had been dating Johnny Depp officially since 2012. They confirmed the relationship soon after he ended his long-term relationship to Vanessa Paradis, the mother of his two children, whom he never married. Amber and Depp had met on the set of their movie The Rum Diary in 2011 and some fans were rather suspicious of his split from his ex-partner and his new relationship to Amber so soon after.
There is something about Amber Heard that seems to make people dislike her. She was reasonably well known as an actor, but she didn’t attain her high profile until she entered her relationship to Depp. When photographed, she often seems aloof, cool to the point of cold, and somewhat inaccessible. There are photos of her smiling, but they are few.
On the other hand she is widely considered to be a beautiful and sexy woman. It never helped her case that she is 23 years younger than Depp.
Initially nobody really seemed to believe that she and Depp would last. Couples with partners that different rarely seem to last. Many thought that Depp might even tire of her, but he spoke of her highly, calling her brilliant and beautiful, appreciating that she is very literate and into blues music.
Whilst there were rumours that things had cooled off between the couple they were engaged in 2014 and married in February 2015 – first in Los Angeles and then again on his island in the Bahamas.
The couple made plenty of appearances together, usually at a premier for one of their movies. But Amber’s smiles became even fewer and Depp put on an unreasonable amount of weight. Something seemed off with the couple and when they made a brief PSA about Australian custom laws, after they had illegally brought their two little dogs into the country without declaring them for quarantine, the two were awkward and appeared strained. Most outlets called the PSA rather bizarre.
Nobody was really surprised when Amber filed for divorce on May 23rd this year. But when she requested a restraining order against Depp a few days later, alleging domestic abuse and violent behaviour on his part, all hell broke loose.
Everybody had an opinion on the situation. Most people sided with Depp, because he is so much better known and has never had a reputation for beating up women, let alone his partners. Vanessa Paradis came to his defence, saying that there has never been violence in their relationship. Amber was called a gold-digger, especially since her lawyers requested $50,000 in monthly spousal support. Considering his income and her expenses, this was hardly an unusual request and under Californian law, she would be entitled to spousal support.
Ultimately Amber withdrew the request for spousal support, citing the accusations made by the public against her as the main reason. Alleging domestic abuse has never been a means for her to get a better deal out of the divorce; that included her request for spousal support.
Yet, the public vilified her and the media gleefully blamed all that happened to her on her. Victim blaming seems to have become a sport in the US media. An old incident with her previous domestic partner Tasya van Ree was dug up as well. Apparently Amber had been arrested after a misunderstanding and was booked for ‘misdemeanour domestic violence’. Tasya however confirmed that the accusation had not only been wrongful, but had been further escalated because of homophobia. The charges were quickly dropped, though, and Amber was released soon thereafter.
Indeed, Tasya has been one of the few supportive people in Amber’s life, which led some to speculate that their relationship was not quite over or may have been rekindled. There is no evidence for that, however.
Amber produced evidence for the domestic abuse allegations against Depp and a video was leaked online showing his violent behaviour. He seemed drunk in the video as well. Amber denied that she had leaked the footage, though she was accused of having been behind it.
The stress of the divorce and the treatment she received didn’t do her any good and she dropped about 20 pounds in the meantime, appearing worryingly thin. Whilst the allegations remain just that, any reasonable person would question why Amber would subject herself to that kind of treatment, if there wasn’t some truth to it.
Marrying Depp didn’t do anything for her career, though some accused her that this was the reason behind the marriage. Divorcing him may even have damaged her career, because he is so revered that he can do no wrong in the eyes of his fans.
Whatever Amber Heard does, she is unable to gain favour with anyone, whether she is actually out to get it or not is a different matter.
A few days ago she had to endure a 7-hour long deposition, giving evidence in the domestic abuse case. The court hearing was set for the 17th August, but on the 16th it was announced that she and Depp had reached a divorce settlement. She would reportedly receive a lump sum of $7 million.
Their joint statement confirming the settlement said: “Neither party has made false accusations for financial gain. There was never any intent of physical or emotional harm.”
This is quite important, because it means that Depp’s team doesn’t deny that something untoward has happened. There was also mention of their “intensely passionate and at times volatile” relationship.
Johnny Depp would have had much to lose had the domestic abuse case gone to court. As it was, Amber dropped the charges against him as part of the settlement. That can hardly be called a victory for domestic abuse victims, but given the toll the situation must have had on Amber, it may have been the right decision for her.
On the 18th, then, Amber announced that she would donate the entire $7 million settlement to charities. She had never wanted Depp’s money in this divorce and this gesture should make this abundantly clear. She truly has nothing to gain by giving away the money. Half of it is going to go to the American Civil Liberties Union, which helps domestic abuse victims, and the other half will go to the Children’s Hospital of Los Angeles, where Amber has volunteered for the past 10 years.
Nobody but the two will ever truly know what transpired in their marriage. It’s likely that neither of them is innocent. Their relationship was called volatile for a reason. Depp will continue to make big blockbuster movies and Amber can only hope to move beyond this marriage and continue her career and private life beyond the negativity that she had to go through until now.