After weeks of explosive testimony and three days of deliberations in the blockbuster defamation case between actors Johnny Depp and his ex-wife Amber Heard, the jury delivered a split verdict largely in favor of Depp on Wednesday.
And while the jury found that each had defamed the other, Depp celebrated the verdict as a victory and Heard declared herself disappointed “beyond words”.
Here are some of the key moments from the trial, which featured blistering claims and counterclaims of domestic abuse:
1) Mutual abuse allegations
Depp sued Heard for libel over a December 2018 op-ed in which she described herself as “a public figure representing domestic abuse”. His lawyers said he was defamed by the article even though it never mentioned his name.
While the case was ostensibly about libel, most of the testimony focused on whether Heard had been physically and sexually abused, as she claimed.
Heard detailed more than a dozen alleged assaults. Depp testified that he never hit Heard or any other woman. He said she was the one who became abusive and “bullied” him with “demeaning name-calling”.
“It could start with a slap, it could start with a shove, it could start with throwing a TV remote at my head, throwing a glass of wine in my face,” Depp said.
The pair offered differing accounts of an early 2015 argument in Australia, where Depp was filming a fifth Pirates of the Caribbean movie.
2) The severed fingertip
Hours of testimony during the six-week trial were devoted to a grisly incident in March 2015 in Australia, where Depp was filming the fifth installation of Pirates of the Caribbean.
The tip of Depp’s right-hand middle finger was severed during a heated argument with Heard at their rented home.
Depp said it occurred when Heard threw a vodka bottle at him.
Heard said she didn’t know how it happened but it may have been when he smashed a wall-mounted phone. Speaking through sobs, she also told the jury that Depp sexually assaulted her with a bottle. “I was scared,” she said. “I had just married him.”
Both agreed though that Depp used his bloody digit to scrawl cryptic messages on walls, lampshades and mirrors in the home.
3) Faeces on the bed
Among many bizarre incidents cited during the trial was a story about faeces deposited one day on Depp’s side of the couple’s bed.
Depp said he was shown a photograph of “human faecal matter” on the bed after he and Heard argued during her 30th birthday party.
Heard tried to blame it on their dogs, Depp said, but “they’re teacup Yorkies, they weigh about four pounds each.”
Heard said one dog had bowel problems after eating some of Depp’s cannabis as a puppy.
As for the dogs, Heard accused Depp of once holding one of them out of the window of a moving car while “howling like an animal”.
The dog was unhurt.
4) The witnesses
Both sides presented multiple witnesses, although rumored testimony by billionaire Elon Musk, Heard’s ex-boyfriend, and her co-star James Franco ultimately did not materialize.
But there were celebrity appearances.
Kate Moss, Depp’s ex-girlfriend, shot down a longstanding room he had once thrown the British model down a flight of stairs. Moss said by video link that it never happened.
Actress Ellen Barkin, another ex-girlfriend, testified Depp was jealous, controlling, and drunk “a lot of the time,” and once threw a wine bottle in a hotel room.
Other witnesses included bodyguards, agents, business managers, doctors, friends, relatives, and even the former doorman of the luxury penthouse complex where the couple once lived in Los Angeles.
Doorman Alejandro Romero probably spoke for many involved in the case when he said: “I am so stressed out. I don’t want to deal with this any more. “
5) The evidence
Audio and video recordings of heated, profanity-laced arguments between Depp and Heard were entered into evidence.
In one video recorded by Heard in their kitchen, Depp is seen shouting, smashing glass cabinets and pouring himself an enormous glass of red wine.
Both Depp and Heard submitted photos of injuries they claimed were inflicted by the other.
Heard’s lawyers also presented photos purporting to show Depp passed out after drinking excessively or using drugs.
Text messages between Depp and various people were displayed in which he described in crude and violent language what he would like to see happen to Heard.
Depp’s lawyers downplayed the texts, saying he just had a colorful way of writing, similar to that of his late friend, the journalist Hunter S Thompson.
6) Depp fans
Fans of Depp queued for hours daily to secure coveted seats in the public gallery for the trial held in Fairfax, Virginia.
While the spectators mostly behaved themselves, Judge Penney Azcarate threatened to expel them at one point during Heard’s testimony.
“If I hear one more sound, I will clear the gallery,” Azcarate warned. “Understood?”
Depp fans also waged a massive campaign on social media in support of the actor with the hashtag #JusticeForJohnnyDepp.
Heard said she had received thousands of death threats. “People want to kill me and they tell me so every day,” she said.
The trial was followed online by millions of people tuning in to live streams. Many of them generated memes or animated GIFs in real-time, most frequently lauding Depp and ridiculing Heard.
7) Damaged Hollywood careers
Both Depp, a three-time Oscar nominee, and Heard claimed their careers have been damaged.
Heard, who starred in Aquaman, one of the top-grossing films ever, said she had to fight to retain a role in Aquaman 2 and alleged that Depp tried to get Warner Brothers to cut her from the sequel.
Heard’s legal team presented an entertainment industry expert who estimated she has suffered $ 45-50m in lost film and TV roles and endorsements.
An industry expert hired by Depp’s side said he has lost millions because of the abuse accusations, including a $ 22.5m payday for a sixth Pirates instalment.
But Tracey Jacobs, Depp’s former agent, said there was never a formal agreement for another Pirates film.
Jacobs also said the actor’s star had fled to smoke since 2010 because of “unprofessional behavior” which included drinking and drug use.
8) The verdict
The jury ruled that Depp was defamed by Heard in the 2018 op-ed and awarded him more than $ 10m in the lawsuit.
But the decision was split and they also partially ruled in favor of Heard, who said she was defamed by Depp’s lawyer when he called her allegations of domestic abuse a hoax, and awarded her $ 2m in damages.
Heard said she was heartbroken by the verdict. “I’m even more disappointed with what this verdict means for other women. It’s a setback. It sets back the clock to a time when a woman who spoke up and spoke out could be publicly humiliated, ” she said in a statement posted on her Twitter account.
Meanwhile, Depp said the jury “gave me my life back”.
“Six years ago, my life, the life of my children, the lives of those closest to me, and also, the lives of the people who for many, many years have supported and believed in me were forever changed,” the statement added. .