The Double Life Of Amber Heard

The following article includes mentions of drug and alcohol use, mental health issues, and domestic abuse allegations.

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 actor 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, some might argue that Heard's passionate positions often appear rooted in hypocrisy. Let's iron out the truth about this seemingly confusing and conflicting star's double life.

Amber Heard accused Johnny Depp of domestic abuse

Amber Heard and ex-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 claimed 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 alleged to 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.

If you or someone you know is dealing with domestic abuse, you can call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1−800−799−7233. You can also find more information, resources, and support at their website.

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."

If you or someone you know is dealing with domestic abuse, you can call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1−800−799−7233. You can also find more information, resources, and support at their website.

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 star's 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 $100 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 needed? 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."

If you or someone you know is dealing with domestic abuse, you can call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1−800−799−7233. You can also find more information, resources, and support at their website.

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 was initially 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. 

If you or someone you know is dealing with domestic abuse, you can call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1−800−799−7233. You can also find more information, resources, and support at their website.

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. In his 2022 defamation case against Heard, Depp further claimed (via Insider) he told doctors the original story because he "didn't want to get her in trouble."

The immediate aftermath of the incident, which occurred in Australia in March 2015, was caught on tape in a nearly five-hour long audio clip. Heard can be heard 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 alleged: "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."

If you or someone you know is dealing with domestic abuse, you can call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1−800−799−7233. You can also find more information, resources, and support at their website.

Amber Heard's assistant painted a shocking image of her

Johnny Depp's legal team strengthened its offensive when it called upon Amber Heard's former personal assistant, Kate James, to testify against her former boss. In a pre-taped video played in court in April 2022, James said she worked for the actor from 2012 through 2015 and claimed she was repeatedly abused. 

According to the Daily Mail, James recalled a number of instances in which Heard allegedly yelled at her in a "blind rage" and claimed that she was hit with "barrages of abusive text messages day and night." She claimed the messages would be "all incoherent, not making sense, just someone to lash out at" and that they would be sent in "the middle of the night." James also testified that she never saw any bruising or signs of abuse on Heard, that the former couple's home always appeared in order, and that Heard never confided in her about any mistreatment.

The most shocking revelation, however, came as James claimed that when she once asked for a raise, Heard "leapt up out of her chair, put her face four inches from my face, telling me how dare I ask the salary I was asking for. She felt that gave her the right to spit in my face," as she told the court. The former P.A. added that Heard's alleged habit of mistreatment extended to her own sister and mother, and James referred to Depp as a "total Southern gentleman" whom she never saw lose his temper.

If you or someone you know is dealing with domestic abuse, you can call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1−800−799−7233. You can also find more information, resources, and support at their website.

A psychologist's take on Amber Heard's PTSD claims

After Johnny Depp filed his $50 million defamation lawsuit against Amber Heard in 2019, she responded by filing her own court documents, in which she detailed her ex's alleged physical and psychological abuse — abuse that she said resulted in her suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). The latter was a claim that Depp's legal team set out to debunk by hiring a clinical and forensic psychologist named Dr. Shannon Curry to evaluate Heard. According to People, Dr. Curry spent about 12 hours with Heard in person and also analyzed various court documents, videos, and evidence. Delivering her verdict in court in April 2022, she concluded that Heard allegedly had borderline personality disorder and histrionic personality disorder, but apparently not PTSD.

According to Mayo Clinic, patients with borderline personality disorder often have "an intense fear of abandonment or instability;" however, their "inappropriate anger, impulsiveness and frequent mood swings" may make keeping relationships difficult. Meanwhile, as Mayo Clinic explains, histrionic personality disorder typically manifests itself in a willingness to do almost anything to be the center of attention. 

Indeed, Dr. Curry assessed that Heard was a type 36 personality, or someone "very concerned with their image, very attention-seeking, very prone to externalizing blame to a point." And while she conceded that Heard still could have been psychologically harmed by Depp, as she's alleged, Dr. Curry concluded that Heard was allegedly "grossly exaggerating symptoms of PTSD when asked about them."

If you or someone you know is struggling with mental health, please contact the Crisis Text Line by texting HOME to 741741, call the National Alliance on Mental Illness helpline at 1-800-950-NAMI (6264), or visit the National Institute of Mental Health website.

Did Amber Heard attack her sister?

During the 2020 court proceedings linked to Johnny Depp's libel lawsuit against The Sun (he was suing the British tabloid for labeling him a "wife beater” in 2018), the actor's legal team tried to prove Amber Heard had a history of physical abuse. According to Page Six, Depp's lawyer, David Sherborne, told a London court he had a video that would prove Heard "had a history of violence and attacking people." In said clip, the "Aquaman" star's younger sister, Whitney Henriquez, is shown having her face and arm examined by a woman who proclaims, "I can't believe Amber beat your a**." 

However, when Henriquez took to the stand, she was adamant that the footage wasn't what it seemed. Explaining that she had only had a verbal disagreement with her sister, Henriquez explained that the clip was filmed for a "really bad reality show" in the mid-2000s, and that the woman was simply "trying to make a very, very boring conversation more interesting."

Henriquez was also asked about a 2015 incident during which Heard admitted she hit Depp in order to protect her sister, whom she feared he would push down the stairs. Recalling the fight that allegedly occurred on the staircase in the building where they all lived, Henriquez seemingly corroborated the story, claiming that Depp was trying to push her aside to get to Heard, and that's when "Amber suddenly lurched forward and hit him and said 'Don't hit my sister.'"

If you or someone you know is dealing with domestic abuse, you can call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1−800−799−7233. You can also find more information, resources, and support at their website.

Did Amber Heard cheat on Johnny Depp?

Amber Heard first met Elon Musk on the set of 2013's "Machete Kills," when the former was with Johnny Depp and the latter was married. They apparently hit it off, but didn't publicly acknowledge a romantic relationship until April 2017, when Heard posted a photo of them to Instagram, in which Musk had a print of her red lipstick on his cheek. As one source told People, friendship didn't blossom into love until they were both single — a claim Depp refuted. 

During his libel case against The Sun, Depp accused his ex-wife of cheating on him with the Tesla founder. He later repeated those same claims during his defamation suit against Heard, alleging that she and Musk first got together in 2015. What's more, he accused the couple of having a threesome with Cara Delevingne at his home in 2016, after he and Heard split. It was an allegation Musk denied, telling Page Six, "Cara and I are friends, but we've never been intimate." He also underscored the fact that he and Heard "only started going out about a month after her divorce filing."

While we may never know the real timeline, Depp and Heard's former talent agent, Christian Carino, added his own take on the matter while testifying in court in April 2022. According to The Guardian, Carino said that while Heard and Depp were indeed separated at the time she was with Musk, she was allegedly "just filling space" with the billionaire while trying to fix things with Depp.

LAPD officers and a makeup brand refuted Amber Heard's claims

In April 2022, Johnny Depp's defamation lawsuit against Amber Heard took yet another turn when Heard's claims that Depp had thrown a phone at her in 2016, leaving her face bruised, were refuted by several parties. For one, TIME reported that some witnesses claimed they saw Heard practicing fake punching with her sister. Then there was Depp's neighbor and childhood friend, Isaac Baruch, who testified (via the Irish Mirror) that he saw Heard shortly after the alleged incident. Baruch claimed that Heard showed him her face as evidence, but that as he looked closely, he alleged, "I don't see a cut, a bruise, swelling, redness." 

What's more, police officers who arrived at the stars' home that day said they failed to see any visible marks on Heard. According to CBS News, the LAPD officers recalled how Heard refused to speak to them, and officer Tyler Hadden told the court, "Just because I see a female with pink cheeks and pink eyes doesn't mean something happened." Six days later, Heard sought a temporary restraining order against Deep.

For her part, Heard's attorney, Elaine Bredehoft, argued that her client was a master of covering up her bruising and showed the court Milani Cosmetics' All-In-One Correcting Kit, saying Heard used it throughout her relationship with Depp. It was a claim the beauty brand quickly debunked on TikTok, writing, "Let the record show that our Correcting Kit launched in 2017."

If you or someone you know is dealing with domestic abuse, you can call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1−800−799−7233. You can also find more information, resources, and support at their website.