Hollywood has never seen a blockbuster quite like it – a charismatic leading man, his former leading lady and a racing rollercoaster that enthralled a global television audience for more than six weeks.

The one-time golden couple fought viciously for their reputations – and their careers – in a stunning sequel to the original two years ago, when the High Court in London had ruled that Johnny Depp was a wife-beater.

Last night, it was Depp who emerged victorious – and the key to his victory may well have been the three minutes of evidence by his former girlfriend, Kate Moss.

Beaming in over Zoom from her home in the Cotswolds, Moss – who had been Depp’s partner for four years to 1998 – coolly rubbished claims repeated by Amber Heard that Depp had once pushed her down the stairs.

Amber Heard waits before the jury said that they believe she defamed ex-husband Johnny Depp

Amber Heard stands before the jury that she believes defamed Johnny Depp

And then there was the revelation that far from paying over $7million (£5.6million) from her divorce to charity – as Miss Heard had promised – she was forced to confess to the seven-member jury that she had stumped up just a fraction of that amount.

Daniel Bates, who was glued to his seat from the beginning to the end, recounts the twists and turns that captivated the entire world.


Six weeks of intense court time in Fairfax, Virginia saw the devastation that Depp and Miss Heard experienced together over the past four years.

They argued over their short marriage and demanded huge amounts of money. The Pirates of the Caribbean star wanted a jury to hand him up to $50million (£40million) but, more importantly, cast out an aspersion that he is a wife beater (a claim the London court case found was ‘substantially true’).

In return, his Aquaman star ex demanded double in damages – $100million (£80million) – saying her life had been ruined by a smear campaign against her when she divorced him and publicly accused Depp of assault in 2016.

Depp had hopes that the trial would bring him back to good standing, but it became a show of an evil coupling.

The proceedings of the court case were streamed live to millions via an internet broadcast. This was a true story about Hollywood’s love and bitterness.

The trial heard how the couple met 13 years ago with a kiss on the set of The Rum Diary in 2009 while they were both seeing other people – in Depp’s case the mother of his two children, French singer Vanessa Paradis.

Johnny Depp's lawyers Camille Vasquez and Ben Chew outside Fairfax County Courthouse today

Johnny Depp’s lawyers Camille Vasquez and Ben Chew outside Fairfax County Courthouse today 

Depp and Miss Heard were together in 2012 and married in 2015. She then filed for divorce 15 turbulent months later.

The jury saw dozens of texts, photos, videos, medical records and even pages from the former couple’s ‘Love Journal’ in which they hand wrote to each other.

However, the bitterness of each side has now overshadowed the loss of love.


 Speaking in a halting, rambling voice, Depp portrayed himself as a ‘Southern gentleman’ who was scarred from his upbringing in Kentucky at the hands of an abusive mother.

Depp tried to get away from conflicts, just like his mom, Heard told him.

He said that Miss Heard’s claims were ‘heinous and disturbing’ and were ‘not based in any species of truth’.

Depp said that at the beginning of their relationship, Miss Heard felt ‘too good to be true’ but then she started to ‘reveal herself’.

She subjected him to an ‘endless parade of insults’ and uncontrolled rage and, as Depp told the jury: ‘I was not allowed to be right. I was not allowed to have a voice.’

According to Depp, it felt like he was reliving his relationship with his mother all over again, and Heard had a ‘pure hatred’ of him and was jealous of his career.

Depp placed his hand on the box side by side as he described how Miss Heard had in Australia March 2015, tossing a vodka container at him, cutting his fingertip.

But under cross-examination, Depp was forced to explain horrific texts to the British actor Paul Bettany in which he wrote: ‘Let’s Burn Amber’. In a message to another friend, Mr Depp said he wanted to see Miss Heard’s ‘rotting corpse decomposing in the f****** trunk of a Honda Civic’.

There was also the flight in 2014 from Boston to Los Angeles, where Miss Heard said that Depp had been drunken and abusive prior to blacking out. The court was played an audio recording of Depp groaning ‘like an animal’ after he passed out.

There was also a video of Depp smashing up the kitchen of his home in Los Angeles while drinking what was described as a ‘mega-pint’ of wine. Trying to explain himself, Depp said: ‘I did assault a couple of cabinets but I did not touch Miss Heard.’


Heard told the jury she went from feeling like the ‘luckiest woman in the world’ when she and Depp began dating to being called a ‘c***’ on a near daily basis.

She described Depp as a violent and jealous man who would essentially veto films she wanted to do because he didn’t want her exposing her body on camera.

She cried several times as Miss Heard detailed in detail the shocking incident in which Depp attacked her with a glass bottle in Australia in March 2015. It happened during what Miss Heard called a ‘three-day hostage situation’ while Depp was ‘out of his mind’ on ecstasy pills and cocaine while supposed to be filming Pirates of the Caribbean 5.

Then there was the ‘cavity search’ incident, with Depp accused of intimately frisking his lover, accusing her of hiding cocaine, or the time he was said to have headbutted her leaving her with a suspected broken nose.

Miss Heard recounted how she summoned her makeup artist to conceal two of her black eyes, and one lip split after Depp had headbutted her the day before.

Amber Heard looks at her attorney before the verdict was read at the Fairfax County Circuit Courthouse today

Amber Heard, looking at her attorney just before she was given the verdict today at Fairfax County Circuit Courthouse

But last night’s verdict blew her claims away – with the jury siding with Depp and awarding him £8million.

Under cross-examination, Miss Heard admitted that she had not donated her $7million (£5.6million) divorce settlement to charity as she repeatedly claimed, including at the High Court in London in 2020.

Miss Heard claimed she saw the words ‘pledge’ and ‘donate’ as the same and claimed she had spent $6million (£4.8million) on legal fees, meaning she was unable to fulfil her promises. This may have been interpreted differently by the jury of five men and two women.

She also had to explain an audio recording where she called Depp a ‘f****** baby’ and admitted she did indeed, as he alleged, hit him.


Depp’s legal team called a parade of his employees including security guards, his estate manager and his personal doctors and nurses. Whitney Pennington and Rocky Pennington, Whitney’s sister and former best friend, gave evidence. They both described instances in which Depp had been violent or abusive.

Depp called Shannon Curry (a clinical andforensic psychologist) who diagnosed Miss Heard’s borderline personality disorder as well as histrionic personality disorder.

Miss Heard’s equivalent, Dr Dawn Hughes, rejected this and said that Miss Heard had a clear cut case of PTSD from her years of trauma.

Laurel Anderson (a marriage counselor who helped Depp and Miss Heard) was one of the few impartial observers. She told the court that they engaged in ‘mutual abuse’ and that Miss Heard ‘fought as hard’ as Depp did.


Kate Moss was called as a surprise last-minute witness by Depp’s team.

In just three minutes, Miss Moss testified from her Gloucestershire home that Depp never pushed her down the steps.

He actually helped Miss Moss get to medical attention. It felt like a telling intervention.

The actress Ellen Barkin, another ex who starred alongside Depp in Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, testified that he once threw a bottle of wine at her and she called him a ‘controlling, jealous man’.

She said: ‘I had a scratch on my back once that got him very, very angry because he insisted it came from having sex with a person who wasn’t him.’ But there were several famous names expected as witness who were not called, including Paul Bettany and Heard’s ex, Elon Musk.


Depp suggests that Miss Heard had left human excrement after a fight in their April 2016 bed. His chauffeur Starling Jenkins said that Miss Heard once told him it was a ‘horrible prank that went wrong’.

But in her testimony Miss Heard suggested that it was one of their Yorkshire terriers, Boo, that did it, telling the court that the animal had ‘eaten Johnny’s weed as a puppy and had bowel control issues for life’.

She denied any involvement and said it was ‘disgusting’.


Depp’s lawyers successfully argued for the trial to be televised which turned it into an international spectacle.

Every day, millions of viewers tuned into YouTube channels to stream it live. Court TV also covered the case, from givel to givel.

It was a spectacle, despite the fact that neither party could sign autographs when they entered court.

Depp arrived in an SUV, with Bob Marley blasting out from the stereo and dozens of women cheering his name. Miss Heard was booed by the same crowd when she arrived.

Amber Heard and her attorneys Elaine Bredehoft and Benjamin Rottenborn looks over to the jury just before the verdict

Amber Heard, her attorney Elaine Bredehoft & Benjamin Rottenborn looking over to the jury before the verdict 

Depp and Miss Heard’s fashion choices became a subject of debate in themselves.

While he preferred tailored suits of three pieces in blue or grey, she prefers muted colors and braids that are 1930s-style.

On the Monday of the last week of the trial, a woman was removed from the courtroom after holding up baby and yelling: ‘Johnny I love you, this baby is yours’.

Depp’s fans swamped social media with #justiceforjohnny trending repeatedly, as did #amberturd and other unrepeatable slurs on her character.

Yesterday night was a terrible night for social media.