People

Amber Heard recalls shocking abuse she received after speaking out against Johnny Depp

Posted by
Kayleigh Dray
Published
Amber Heard at the Aquaman premiere

The Aquaman actress says she received “death threats” and lost movie roles after accusing Johnny Depp of being abusive.

In May 2016, Amber Heard accused Johnny Depp of “excessive emotional, verbal and physical abuse” which included “angry, hostile, humiliating and threatening assaults to me whenever I questioned his authority or disagreed with him.”

Heard also said she was physically abused by Depp on “two separate instances,” including one night when Depp allegedly gave her a black eye. She was granted a temporary restraining order.

Now, the actress has opened up about her experiences in an article for the Washington Post – and recalled how speaking out against such a popular Hollywood star resulted in her receiving multiple death threats from his fans.

“I write this as a woman who had to change my phone number weekly because I was getting death threats,” she writes.

“For months, I rarely left my apartment, and when I did, I was pursued by camera drones and photographers on foot, on motorcycles and in cars. Tabloid outlets that posted pictures of me spun them in a negative light.

“I felt as though I was on trial in the court of public opinion, and my life and livelihood depended on myriad judgements far beyond my control.”

You may also like

“Why the ‘poor’ Johnny Depp narrative is dangerous”

In the piece, Heard claims she was “blacklisted” and lost movie roles and fashion campaigns in the wake of her allegations.

“I became a public figure representing domestic abuse, and I felt the full force of our culture’s wrath for women who speak out,” she states.

“Friends and advisers told me I would never again work as an actress – that I would be blacklisted. A movie I was attached to recast my role. I had just shot a two-year campaign as the face of a global fashion brand, and the company dropped me. Questions arose as to whether I would be able to keep my role of Mera in the movies Justice League and Aquaman.”

Heard adds: “I had the rare vantage point of seeing, in real time, how institutions protect men accused of abuse.

“Imagine a powerful man as a ship, like the Titanic. That ship is a huge enterprise. When it strikes an iceberg, there are a lot of people on board desperate to patch up holes – not because they believe in or even care about the ship, but because their own fates depend on the enterprise.

“In recent years, the #MeToo movement has taught us about how power like this works, not just in Hollywood but in all kinds of institutions – workplaces, places of worship or simply in particular communities. In every walk of life, women are confronting these men who are buoyed by social, economic and cultural power. And these institutions are beginning to change.

“We are in a transformative political moment. The president of our country has been accused by more than a dozen women of sexual misconduct, including assault and harassment. Outrage over his statements and behaviour has energised a female-led opposition. #MeToo started a conversation about just how profoundly sexual violence affects women in every area of our lives.”

Heard concludes: “I want to ensure that women who come forward to talk about violence receive more support. We are electing representatives who know how deeply we care about these issues. We can work together to demand changes to laws and rules and social norms – and to right the imbalances that have shaped our lives.”

You may also like

Amber Heard pens powerful open letter about domestic violence: “I resented the label of victim”

Depp and Heard settled the case out of court in 2016, and, in a joint statement, said their relationship had been “volatile”.

“Our relationship was intensely passionate and at times volatile, but always bound by love,” it read, adding that there was no “intent” to cause physical harm.

Heard later donated the financial settlement she received to the Children’s Hospital of Los Angeles and the American Civil Liberties Union, where she had worked as a volunteer for many years. It was a move which would seem to go against previous claims from Depp’s lawyers, filed in court papers, that she was trying to “secure a premature financial resolution by alleging abuse”.

“Money played no role for me personally and never has, except to the extent that I could donate it to charity and hopefully help those less able to defend themselves,” said Heard.

Depp continues to deny the allegations made against him.

Images: Getty

Topics

Share this article

Author

Kayleigh Dray

Kayleigh Dray is editor of Stylist.co.uk, where she chases after rogue apostrophes and specialises in films, comic books, feminism and television. On a weekend, you can usually find her drinking copious amounts of tea and playing boardgames with her friends. 

Recommended by Kayleigh Dray

People

Amber Heard pens powerful open letter about domestic violence

“Let's start with the truth—the cold, hard truth”

Posted by
Kayleigh Dray
Published
People

Comic Con 2018 sparks controversy with Johnny Depp and Amber Heard appearance

“Unreal and irresponsible”

Posted by
Kayleigh Dray
Published
People

Amber Heard just gave a voice to the Stanford sexual assault survivor

She was among those giving a powerful reading of Emily Doe's famous impact statement.

Posted by
Moya Crockett
Published
Long Reads

“Why the ‘poor’ Johnny Depp narrative is dangerous”

Men are always painted as sympathetic and complex creatures, women as collateral damage

Posted by
Kayleigh Dray
Published
People

Amber Heard responds to JK Rowling’s defence of Johnny Depp

“This issue has been difficult, frustrating and at times painful”

Posted by
Kayleigh Dray
Published