Johnny Depp Sues Amber Heard for $50M Over Washington Post Op-Ed

Amber Heard and Johnny Depp-Getty-H 2019
John Phillips/Getty Images for BFI

Depp and Heard's contentious split is now about to be at the center of yet another legal battle.

Despite the stars agreeing not to discuss their marriage or make derogatory statements about each other as part of their divorce, Johnny Depp and Amber Heard's contentious split continues to make headlines — and now it's about to be at the center of yet another legal battle.

Depp on Friday filed a $50 million defamation suit against his former wife in response to a Washington Post op-ed she penned in December, titled "I spoke up against sexual violence — and faced our culture's wrath. That has to change." Depp's name isn't mentioned, but the piece was widely interpreted as being about him. The actress wrote that she "became a public figure representing domestic abuse" and "felt the full force of our culture's wrath for women who speak out." In response, Depp's lawyer Adam Waldman said the column was an "abuse of the #MeToo movement" and claimed Heard "masquerades as victim rather than abuser."

The complaint, filed in the Circuit Court of Fairfax, Virginia, says that while Depp was not named in the Post article, it was clear Heard was talking about him. The lawsuit calls her ongoing allegations of domestic abuse “categorically and demonstrably false.”

“They were part of an elaborate hoax to generate positive publicity for Ms. Heard and advance her career,” the lawsuit says, claiming that “she is the perpetrator.”

The suit says Depp, 55, has suffered financial losses because of the accusations, including being dropped from his role as Capt. Jack Sparrow in the Pirates of the Caribbean films.

In a statement to The Hollywood Reporter, Heard's attorney, Eric George, described the suit as a frivolous attempt to silence his client. “She will not be silenced," he said. "Mr. Depp’s actions prove he is unable to accept the truth of his ongoing abusive behavior. But while he appears hell-bent on achieving self-destruction, we will prevail in defeating this groundless lawsuit and ending the continued vile harassment of my client by Mr. Depp and his legal team.”

Depp’s attorney, Waldman, said to People magazine that he and his client looked forward to presenting “overwhelming video, photographic and eyewitness evidence” that would clear Depp’s name.

Heard previously initiated arbitration against Depp for violating a non-disparagement agreement negotiated during their divorce. She says he defamed her in several media outlets last fall by giving the impression that she falsely claimed to have been physically abused. The actress argues the statements, including ones made by Waldman on Depp's behalf to THR, were made with malice and that she is entitled to punitive damages. 

Depp's attorney did not respond to THR's inquiry about the lawsuit.