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Johnny and Amber Have Both Already Lost

Amber Heard
Photo by Samir Hussein/WireImage
Matthew Belloni
April 10, 2022

Toby Emmerich‘s 2020 decision to fire Johnny Depp from the Fantastic Beasts franchise is looking prescient. (Why he hired Depp in the first place, given the well-known behavior issues, is another question.) Secrets of Dumbledore may not light up the box office next weekend—overseas, it’s already way down from 2018’s Crimes of Grindelwald—but imagine marketing a family movie when your star is on Court TV debating whether he abused his wife. Nightmare scenario.

Depp’s televised $50 million defamation trial against Amber Heard is set to kick off tomorrow in Fairfax, Virginia, and if that sounds familiar, it’s because this is the second public airing of these sordid claims. Depp already lost a U.K. case against Murdoch’s The Sun, which called him a “wife beater.” The judge there issued a brutal ruling, finding “overwhelming evidence” that Depp assaulted Heard many times during their 15-month marriage—not exactly the outcome Depp envisioned when he sought to take advantage of Britain’s stricter libel laws.