Johnny first met Amber when she was 23 and he was 46 and they started dating when she was 25 and he was 48. He had already been married and divorced before Amber was even born. Depp was one of the biggest and highest paid actors at the time they started dating, while she was a relatively unknown up and coming actress. Depp displayed what is known as love bombing. Very early in the relationship a love bomber showers the other with lavish gifts, affection, and attention. It's a form of emotional manipulation to gain control of the other person's emotions. It leads to confusion and trauma once the love bomber's true self is revealed.
From the beginning there was a massive power imbalance in the relationship. The texts and emails from the trial showed how much he hated and attempted to control her career. He considered her ambition and desire to work to be a bad thing. As the relationship progressed, she took fewer and fewer roles and had to hide kissing or sex scenes from Depp due to his jealousy and desire to control where she was and who she was with. The incident where he kicked her on the plane stemmed from his jealousy over her shooting a movie with James Franco, a much younger man. The goal is to make the other person dependent on them in every way possible. Depp had taken Amber's car under the guise of having it fixed and she was often forced to go everywhere with one of his drivers. This gave him the added control of knowing where she was a lot of the time, and his security could report back to him what she was doing and who she was with.
Depp consistently portrayed himself as the victim, denying any responsibility for causing harm while attributing his issues to Heard. This pattern involved denying any wrongdoing, launching personal attacks against Heard, and shifting the blame onto her. Depp's strategy of playing the victim allowed him to deflect accountability and maintain control over the narrative. By denying his actions and presenting himself as the one being wronged, he attempted to invalidate Heard's claims and cast doubt on her credibility. This tactic often aims to manipulate public perception and create doubt about the true dynamics of the relationship. Depp also employed these tactics during trial.
DARVO stands for Deny, Attack, and Reverse Victim and Offender. It is a psychological defense mechanism often used by individuals, particularly in situations where they are being held accountable for their behavior.
DARVO typically involves three steps:
1. Deny: The person first denies any wrongdoing or responsibility for their actions. They may refuse to acknowledge their behavior or claim that it did not happen as described.
2. Attack: Next, the person may attack the credibility or character of the person who is confronting them. They might deflect blame by criticizing the other person's motives, actions, or behavior instead.
3. Reverse Victim and Offender: In this stage, the person reverses the roles, portraying themselves as the victim and the accuser as the offender. They might claim that they are the ones being unjustly treated or misunderstood, effectively flipping the situation.
DARVO is often employed in situations where there is a power imbalance or when someone wants to avoid accountability. It can be an effective manipulation tactic to evade responsibility and maintain control over a situation. However, it can also contribute to gaslighting and emotional abuse by invalidating the experiences and concerns of the genuine victim.
In November 2022, an open letter expressing support for Amber was published and signed by over 300 experts and organizations in the fields of domestic violence, intimate partner violence, sexual assault, and women's rights. The letter aimed to demonstrate solidarity and backing for Amber.
Five months ago, the verdict in the defamation trial between Johnny Depp and Amber Heard deeply concerned many professionals in the fields of intimate partner and sexual violence.
As many, including A.O. Scott for The New York Times have noted, the vilification of Ms. Heard and ongoing online harassment of her and those who have voiced support for her have been unprecedented in both vitriol and scale.
Much of this harassment was fueled by disinformation, misogyny, biphobia, and a monetized social media environment where a woman’s allegations of domestic violence and sexual assault were mocked for entertainment. The same disinformation and victim-blaming tropes are now being used against others who have alleged abuse.
In our opinion, the Depp v. Heard verdict and continued discourse around it indicate a fundamental misunderstanding of intimate partner and sexual violence and how survivors respond to it. The damaging consequences of the spread of this misinformation are incalculable. We have grave concerns about the rising misuse of defamation suits to threaten and silence survivors.
We condemn the public shaming of Amber Heard and join in support of her. We support the ability of all to report intimate partner and sexual violence free of harassment and intimidation.
Shortly after the verdict Amber filed notice with the court of her plan to appeal the verdict. In November 2022, in support and solidarity of that appeal, two amicus briefs were filed on her behalf.
An amicus brief is a legal document filed by a person or organization who is not directly involved in a case but has a strong interest in its outcome. The term "amicus brief" translates to "friend of the court." The purpose of an amicus brief is to provide additional information, expertise, or perspective to assist the court in making a well-informed decision. It allows individuals or groups to present arguments, legal analysis, or facts that they believe are relevant to the case.
Several groups joined together to write two separate amicus briefs in support of Amber.
The first brief expresses concerns about the jury verdict, emphasizing that it reflects a lack of understanding about the coercive tactics and non-physical forms of abuse that are prevalent in domestic violence. The brief aims to inform the court about these dynamics and highlights the chilling effects the verdict may have on abuse victims seeking protection, reporting abuse, and raising awareness.
The second brief is supported by a diverse range of entities. It addresses three primary concerns. Firstly, it focuses on protecting the freedom of speech and the ability to report on important issues, which is threatened by the verdict. Secondly, it highlights the diminished reporting of abuse against women resulting from the verdict, emphasizing the impact on civil rights and women's groups. Lastly, it aims to protect individuals who have experienced abuse, particularly intimate partner abuse, from the negative consequences of the verdict. Respected authorities in these areas have also contributed their expertise and support to the brief.
Amber hired a new team of lawyers for her appeal. She enlisted the help of two of the top appellate and first amendment lawyers in the country. They filed a 68 page appeal brief on her behalf outlining all the errors made by the courts leading up to and during the trial, many of which have been outlined on this site already. In December, before even filing his response, Depp offered to settle for 1 million instead of 10 and Amber has stated she has no restrictions on her voice going forward. Meaning she hasn't signed or agreed to not speak of this case or her experiences. Many people were surprised by this settlement because it was extremely unfavorable to Depp considering he was in a position of power at this point. There was no reason for him to settle for a tenth of what he was granted unless he felt his chances of retaining his victory were slim. Considering Depp left the country before the verdict, I don't think he actually anticipated winning in the first place.