The Double Life Of Amber Heard

After making her film debut with a minor role in 2004's Friday Night Lights, Amber Heard has worked consistently in Hollywood to varying degrees of success. From bombs like Drive Angry to mega-blockbusters like Aquaman, this actress has carved out a wild onscreen career. However, you're more likely to know Heard from her personal life, which has become celebrity gossip fodder ever since the Texas beauty hit the world stage.

"Some people might get used to it, but not me. I think you just develop better mechanisms to defend yourself against having to try to get used to it," Heard once told Interview magazine about seeing herself onscreen. "When you're commodified, you have to develop mechanisms to protect your ego and a sense of self that isn't being commodified." Heard's view of her career also mirrors how she views her personal life. But is it true?

The personal life of Amber Heard is a conundrum. From rocky relationships to confounding financials, Heard's passionate positions often appear rooted in hypocrisy. Let's iron out the truth about this confusing and conflicting actress.

Amber Heard accused Johnny Depp of domestic abuse

Amber Heard and estranged husband Johnny Depp met in 2012 on the set of The Rum Diaries and wed in 2015. That summer, a 29-year-old Heard told Elle (via the Mirror) that getting married to her 52-year-old co-star was not a "dramatic change" for her, adding, "We've been together a long time now, so it's been a fairly organic process." Less than four months later, Heard had filed for divorce and accused him of domestic abuse.

"During the entirety of our relationship, Johnny has been verbally and physically abusive to me," Heard wrote in the declaration (via Variety). "I endured excessive emotional, verbal and physical abuse from Johnny, which has included angry, hostile, humiliating and threatening assaults to me whenever I questioned his authority or disagreed with him." Heard submitted a photo depicting her with a bruised face. She claimed the injury was caused by Depp striking her with his phone. "I live in fear that Johnny will return to (our house) unannounced to terrorize me, physically and emotionally," she told the court. The police found no evidence of an assault when responding to a domestic dispute at the couple's home in May 2016, and Heard declined to file a criminal report.

Depp's attorney, Laura Wasser, accused Heard of "attempting to secure a premature financial resolution by alleging abuse," calling her subsequent restraining order a publicity stunt to sway public opinion (via CNN). "Johnny cannot protect himself or Amber from media scrutiny," Wasser told the court.

She's been arrested for domestic abuse

While Amber Heard accused Johnny Depp of domestic violence, the Aquaman star was actually arrested for alleged domestic violence against her former partner, photographer Tasya van Ree, in September 2009. According to TMZ, Heard and van Ree got into an argument at the Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, and Heard allegedly struck van Ree. She was arrested and booked for misdemeanor domestic violence, but the prosecutor declined to move forward, supposedly because both women lived in California.

Years after the incident, Ree told People that it was "over-sensationalized," and described the arresting officers as "homophobic" and "misogynistic." PLOT TWIST: The arresting officer, Beverly Leonard, actually identifies as a gay woman. "I am so not homophobic or mysoginistic [sic]!" Leonard wrote in a Facebook statement (via People). "The arrest was made because an assault occurred (I witnessed it) and the parties were in a domestic relationship."

Van Ree also released a statement when reports of the arrest resurfaced in 2016. "It's disheartening that Amber's integrity and story are being questioned yet again. Amber is a brilliant, honest and beautiful woman and I have the utmost respect for her," she said. "We shared 5 wonderful years together and remain close to this day."

Amber Heard has a love/hate relationship with the press

Amber Heard's relationship with the media swings like a pendulum. In 2013, she told Refinery29 that making movies was the easy part. "The press is where you really work for your money," she said, as if gracing the covers of dozens of magazines in provocative poses was forced labor.

However, others suggest it's Heard who's working over the press. She filed for divorce from Johnny Depp just days after his mother died in May 2016, and she filed for a restraining order just days before his film, Alice Through the Looking Glass, debuted in theaters. A media feeding frenzy ensued, successfully overshadowing Depp's major life events.

Depp's longtime friend, comedian Doug Stanhope, claimed Heard was attempting to "blackmail" Depp through the press, if he didn't concede to her divorce demands, by claiming she was abused. "Everything Johnny had told us that she'd been threatening had actually come to be," Stanhope wrote in an op-ed for The Wrap. "It blew up in the news, raced through the Internet like a plague and blew up on Twitter ... People are swarming with torches on social media." Was Heard's timing coincidental or intentional? We may never know, but it certainly adds another coat of duality to this actress' perplexing self-portrait.

Independent woman?

Amber Heard considers herself a "fiercely independent" woman, unencumbered by societal conventions. In 2015, shortly after marrying Johnny Depp, she told Elle (via the Mirror), "The thing that really scares me is the potential of losing my freedom. I never want for my life to lose the ability to transverse the world, with freedom and ease. The freedom and ease I have worked so hard to acquire for myself."

However, a mere year later, the fiercely independent Heard asked for spousal support to the tune of $50,000 a month (via US Weekly). Depp's estimated net worth is $200 million, but court documents reveal Heard took home only $51,461 after agent commissions and other expenses in 2015. According to the paperwork, Heard made a total of $259,876 in 2015. Earnings included $120,000 from Tiffany & Co., $50,000 from Bulgari, $31,112 for The Danish Girl, $45,314 for the Paranoia, and $65,000 for Magic Mike XXL.

Heard's justification for the $50,000 a month? According to court documents, she needed $10,000 for rent, $3,000 for health care, $2,000 for groceries, $2,000 for dining out, $2,000 for clothing, $10,000 for entertainment and vacation, and another $10,000 for various costs, including pet care and an agent.

Secondhand clothes can be expensive

Remember that $2,000 a month for clothes Amber Heard needs? That might seem like a lot for the average person, but Heard is a star of the big screen. We expect celebs to shop at designer boutiques, right? Well, not exactly.

During a 2013 interview with Refinery29, Heard made it a bit difficult to understand where that $2,000 a month goes. "I don't like shopping for new, contemporary stuff. It can be fun sometimes, but I prefer vintage and secondhand most of the time," she said about her shopping habits in Los Angeles. "Plus, it's much more rewarding to shop for vintage stuff. There's nothing better than finding something amazing after you've been searching for hours at the Rose Bowl in 90-degree heat."

Is Heard buying out entire thrift stores at a time? Is the All the Boys Love Mandy Lane star purchasing vintage clothes from Dracula? Either way, it sounds expensive.

Johnny Depp filed a defamation suit against Amber Heard

In December 2018, Amber Heard wrote an op-ed for The Washington Post about what the media does to women who come forward about domestic or sexual violence. "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 wrote, explaining that advisers told her that she could be blacklisted or lose roles due to going public with her allegations.

Although she didn't mention Johnny Depp by name in the piece, Heard was hit with a $50 million defamation lawsuit by the actor, who felt it was a "clear implication" of 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 claimed (via NBC News), calling the picture "categorically and demonstrably false." Depp also alleged that Heard "hit, punched and kicked me. She also repeatedly and frequently threw objects into my body and head." 

In response, Heard claimed that Depp had threatened to kill her and dubbed him, "The Monster" (via Page Six). Recalling the times when Depp allegedly physically assaulted and attempted to suffocate her while under the influence of alcohol and drugs, Heard claimed, "Johnny often would not remember his delusional and violent conduct after he came out of his drunk or medicated states. Because I loved Johnny, I had believed his multiple promises that he could and would get better. I was wrong."

Secret audio recordings shed new light on the allegations

If we could describe Amber Heard and Johnny Depp's relationship in one word, that word would probably be "volatile." And while Depp has been widely viewed as the alleged aggressor, public perception on the situation began to shift when expletive-filled audio recordings from 2015 were obtained by the Daily Mail in February 2020, on which Heard appeared to admit to physically assaulting him. 

In the first recording, Heard can be heard on tape talking about an incident that occurred the night before, during which Depp claimed she punched him. "I'm sorry that I didn't ... hit you across the face in a proper slap, but I was hitting you, it was not punching you," she could be heard allegedly saying. "Babe, you're not punched." The second audio recording features Heard appearing to almost taunt Depp, asking if anyone would believe that a "115 lb woman" attacked him. "You're going to get up on the stand, Johnny, and say, she started it? Really?" Heard reportedly said in a mocking tone. "You can please tell people that it was a fair fight, and see what the jury and judge thinks. Tell the world Johnny, tell them Johnny Depp, I Johnny Depp, a man, I'm a victim too of domestic violence."

Heard's motion to dismiss Depp's defamation lawsuit was denied that March, per Deadline, and the case remains ongoing, as of this writing. 

Did Amber Heard cause Johnny Depp's finger injury?

During his relationship with Amber Heard, Johnny Depp famously suffered an injury that severed the tip of his finger. Depp initially claimed he lost a piece of the digit after getting it caught in the door. However, in court filings obtained by the Daily Mail in April 2020, both parties had different versions of how the injury occurred. According to Heard, Depp had smashed a phone against the wall while under the influence of the drug ecstasy; per Depp's account, Heard threw a vodka bottle at him and the shards of glass "guillotined his finger" against their marble bar top. 

The immediate aftermath of the incident, which occurred in Australia in March 2015, was caught on tape in a nearly five-hour long recorded audio clip shared by the media outlet. Heard can be heard violently sobbing as the couple appears to argue, while Depp's personal doctor and nurse search for the tip of his finger. "Look at all this awful blood. Holy f**k. Wow, wow, wow," nurse Debbie Lloyd appears to say in the clip. Jerry Judge, Depp's former head of security, can also be heard talking to an unidentified woman on the phone about the scene that night. Claiming that Heard and Depp had "wrecked" their rental property and were throwing items at each other, he claimed: "There's windows broken. There is a TV, she did it. There's been bottles thrown and she admits to me that she threw the first."