Johnny Depp and Amber Heard court battle begins with explosive opening remarks
On Tuesday, the former spouses headed to Fairfax County for their long-delayed defamation case. Depp is suing Heard for $50 million in damages over her 2018 Washington Post op-ed, in which she described being a domestic violence survivor.
Things reportedly turned ugly very quickly during opening remarks made by Depp and Heard's respective lawyers.
Heard's attorney Ben Rottenborn described a particular instance to have allegedly happened "during a black-out-drunk incident near the end of their troubled marriage."
The lawyer also read from Heard's op-ed, and pinned the blame for the scandalous nature of the trial on Depp.
"It’s not about which party can sling more mud. But you’re going to hear a lot of that in this trial. You’re going to hear that because that’s what Mr. Depp wants to turn this case into. He wants to turn this case into a six-week-long public spectacle of the most intimate aspects of their relationship and their marriage," Rottenborn said.
Depp slams Heard's domestic violence claims
However, the Pirates of the Caribbean actor's lawyers countered by accusing Heard of fabricating domestic violence claims against him in order to advance her own career.
Depp’s attorneys, Ben Chew and Camille Vasquez, also noted that Heard's op-ed was published just before the release of her 2018 DC film, which perhaps helped position herself as a seemingly sympathetic victim.
"She presented herself as the face of the #MeToo movement — the virtuous representative of innocent women across the country and the world who have truly suffered abuse. The evidence will show that was a lie," Vasquez said during the Tuesday's hearing.
"The evidence will show that Ms. Heard’s false allegations had a significant impact on Mr. Depp’s family and his ability to work in the profession he loved. Ultimately this trial is about clearing Mr. Depp’s name of a terrible and false allegation," the attorney said.
Depp's sister takes the stand
Following open remarks, the first witness, Depp's sister Christi Dembrowski, took the stand.
Dembrowski reportedly teared up during her witness testimony while discussing the death of her and Depp's mother, as well as his divorce from Heard.
"It made me sick, actually. It really made me feel ill. It made me sad, frustrated," she recalled over hearing news of the couple's divorce filing.
Dembrowski also testified that she was not supportive of her brother's decision to marry the Never Back Down star, recalling that Heard had told her that Depp liked when she was "feisty."
"I just kept saying, 'This kind of fighting is not normal,'" she added.
The Sweeney Todd star's sister also argued that Depp never abused their mother, despite allegations saying otherwise. She also revealed that it was, in fact, the siblings' late mother who physically and emotionally abused their family.
The trial is expected to last for about six weeks, and is set to include testimony from several famous faces – including Elon Musk, Jason Momoa, and James Franco on behalf of Heard.
Cover photo: Collage: REUTERS