From Courtship To Courtroom: Inside Johnny Depp And Amber Heard’s Tumultuous Relationship

The couple once admitted their life together “was intensely passionate and at times volatile.”

September 16, 2022
This combination of pictures created on June 1, 2022 shows US Actor Johnny Depp (L) attending the trial at the Fairfax County Circuit Courthouse in Fairfax, Virginia, on May 24, 2022 and US actress Amber Heard looking on in the courtroom at the Fairfax County Circuit Courthouse in Fairfax, Virginia, on May 24, 2022.

Johnny Depp and Amber Heard once admitted their life together “was intensely passionate and at times volatile.”

Photo by: Jim Watson via Getty Images

Jim Watson via Getty Images

By: Aaron Rasmussen

Johnny Depp and Amber Heard’s relationship imploded and ended with a sensational trial that recently captivated the nation, but the couple’s chaotic path from courtship to courtroom began well over a decade ago. Ahead is a timeline of their time together, from pre-marriage bliss to post-divorce meltdown.


Depp and Heard first connected on the set of their film The Rum Diary. While they both have admitted they were attracted to each other, Depp was in a relationship at the time with his partner, French entertainer Vanessa Paradis, and Heard was seeing Hawaiian painter and photographer Tasya van Ree.

June 2012

Depp confirmed through a publicist that he split from Paradis, paving the way for what would become a public whirlwind love affair for the actors. “When I was around Johnny I felt like the most beautiful person in the world,” Amber once gushed. “It made me feel seen. It made me feel like a million dollars.” The feeling was mutual, and Depp recalled in court years later: “She was attentive, she was loving, she was smart, she was kind, she was funny, she was understanding. We had many things in common.”

January 2014

The couple appeared to be head over heels as they rushed toward the aisle, and Heard was spotted with a giant engagement ring on her finger, People reported.

February 3, 2015

The couple legally got married in Los Angeles. Days later, they jetted to Depp’s private island in the Bahamas, where they celebrated with a second intimate ceremony on the beach.

May 23, 2016

Almost 19 months after their nuptials, Heard called it quits with Depp and filed for divorce. Four days later, she obtained a temporary restraining order against the actor, alleging her estranged husband was physically abusive while under the influence. He adamantly denied the claims.

August 16, 2016

Despite their acrimonious split, the warring couple quickly reached a $7 million divorce settlement out of court. “Our relationship was intensely passionate and at times volatile, but always bound by love,” the exes said in a joint statement. “Neither party has made false accusations for financial gain. There was never any intent of physical or emotional harm.”

January 2017

Depp and Heard’s chaotic marriage was officially dissolved.

December 2018

The couple’s ceasefire crumbled after Heard penned an op-ed in the Washington Post. In the piece, the Aquaman star never named her ex, but she seemed to suggest the Pirates of the Caribbean star was abusive, writing she wanted to “ensure that women who come forward to talk about violence receive more support.”

March 2019

Depp fired back at Heard and rekindled their legal battles when he sued Heard for $50 million. He claimed in the lawsuit that his ex-wife was “not a victim of domestic abuse, she is a perpetrator” and alleged Heard’s allegations were part of an “elaborate hoax to generate positive publicity” for herself. Heard attempted to have Depp’s defamation suit dismissed, and in a court filing she called him a “monster” who allegedly once scarred her after dragging her through broken glass, according to Insider.

August 2020

In response to Depp’s defamation suit, Heard countersued the star for $100 million, setting the stage for an explosive showdown in court.

April 11, 2022

The warring exes’ sensational six-week trial began in Virginia, and the pair riveted the nation with wild accusations against each other. On the stand, Depp claimed Heard “has a need for violence.” He testified she seemed “possessed” when she allegedly severed his finger with a vodka bottle during an argument and he claimed his then-wife or her friend defecated on their bed after he broke the news he wanted to split. Heard hit back with accusations of her own, alleging Depp slapped her for the first time after she laughed at his “wino” tattoo, People reported. “It changed my life,” she said of the alleged incident. She also claimed Depp once sexually abused her with a bottle. “I remember looking around the room, I remember looking at all the broken bottles, broken glass,” she claimed in court, “and I remember not wanting to move because I didn't know if it was broken, I didn't know if the bottle that he had inside me was broken.”

June 1, 2022

Following three days of deliberation, a seven-person jury found both Depp and Heard liable for defamation, awarding Depp $15 million in damages and Heard $2 million. In a statement, Heard said the disappointment she felt was “beyond words.” She continued, in part, “I'm heartbroken that the mountain of evidence still was not enough to stand up to the disproportionate power, influence, and sway of my ex-husband.” Depp, meanwhile, told Insider through his spokesperson: “Six years later, the jury gave me my life back. I am truly humbled.”

For more on the trial, stream Johnny vs Amber: The U.S. Trial on discovery+ on Sept. 19.

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