Johnny Depp sues ex-wife Amber Heard for $50 million for allegedly defaming him

"She will not be silenced," Amber Heard's lawyer said in a statement. "Mr. Depp’s actions prove he is unable to accept the truth of his ongoing abusive behavior."
Image: Johnny Depp attends a premiere in London on Nov. 2, 2017.
Johnny Depp attends a premiere in London on Nov. 2, 2017.John Phillips / Getty Images file

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By Janelle Griffith

Johnny Depp has filed a $50 million lawsuit against his ex-wife Amber Heard that claims she is defaming him with false allegations of abuse in a December 2018 opinion piece she wrote for The Washington Post.

Heard did not name Depp in the op-ed that focused on the risks to women in speaking up about domestic abuse and sexual violence. She writes that she was exposed to abuse when she was "very young" and was "harassed and sexually assaulted by the time" she was of college age.

But the lawsuit filed Friday in the Circuit Court of Fairfax County, Virginia, alleges that although the piece did not name Depp, it was implicitly about him.

“The op-ed depended on the central premise that Ms. Heard was a domestic abuse victim and that Mr. Depp perpetrated domestic violence against her,” the lawsuit says.

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The complaint states that the op-ed's "clear implication that" Depp is a domestic abuser "is categorically and demonstrably false."

The couple met in 2009 on the set of their film, "The Rum Diary." They married in February 2015.

Heard publicly accused Depp of domestic violence in May 2016. She brought a photo of her with a battered face to court, and a judge ordered Depp to stay away from her.

The couple were rarely seen together afterward, and their divorce was finalized in 2017.

Depp has denied committing any domestic abuse or sexual violence against Heard, including in his lawsuit.

In the op-ed, Heard refers to her becoming "a public figure representing domestic abuse" two years before.

Heard’s attorney, Eric M. George, said Depp's lawsuit is a "frivolous action" and the latest of his "repeated efforts to silence" the actress.

"She will not be silenced. Mr. Depp’s actions prove he is unable to accept the truth of his ongoing abusive behavior," George said in a statement. "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.”