Why Did Zendaya Get Brought Up In The Depp-Heard Trial?

With all the dirty laundry aired during the Johnny Depp and Amber Heard trial, many have likely forgotten that it is a defamation case on both ends. Depp sued Heard in 2019, claiming $50 million in damages, after she penned a December 2018 op-ed in The Washington Post, per Vanity Fair. In the piece, Heard never names Depp, but discusses being a public figure representing abuse after their relationship. During the ongoing defamation trial, Depp's former agent, Jack Whigham, has testified that Heard's piece allegedly cost Depp a $22.5 million role in the sixth installment of "Pirates of the Caribbean." Meanwhile, Depp also hasn't worked since early 2019. "After the op-ed it was impossible to get him a studio film," Whigham testified, per Variety.

Heard's team has combatted these claims, with Heard countersuing Depp for defamation (and $100 million) in 2021. Heard alleged that Depp's former attorney, Adam Waldman, hurt her career by labeling her abuse allegations "fake" and a "sexual violence hoax," Vanity Fair reported. In her op-ed, Heard claimed that she lost a brand ambassadorship as well as a film role following her initial allegations against Depp. Heard also recently testified in court, per IndieWire, that Warner Bros. changed her role in the "Aquaman" sequel, dramatically cutting down her screen time.

As Heard's team keeps building their case that she is the one who has been defamed, Zendaya — and some other surprising Hollywood names — popped up in court.

Johnny Depp allegedly cost Amber Heard $50 million

Amber Heard could have been in Zendaya's stratosphere of stardom by now. At least, that was entertainment industry consultant Kathryn Arnold's claim in court on May 23. Hired as an expert witness by Heard's team, Arnold testified that widespread online negativity allegedly cost Heard earnings on par with those of Zendaya, Jason Momoa, Ana de Armas, Gal Gadot, and Chris Pine, per Entertainment Weekly.

According to Arnold, Johnny Depp's former attorney, Adam Waldman, incited a negative social media campaign against Heard in 2020 when he called her domestic violence allegations a hoax. "It can get very messy to continue working with an actor or an actress if there's a lot of negative social media around," Arnold stated, per the Daily Beast. Heard "should have earned between $45 and $50 million" since her "A Star Is Born" moment in 2018's "Aquaman," Arnold testified, using the aforementioned actors as reference. During cross-examination, Arnold did concede that Heard's pre-"Aquaman" career momentum was "not identical" to that of Zendaya, who first got the superhero treatment in "Spider-Man: Homecoming." However, the analogy was apt, Arnold insisted, as "you can still look at it as a comparable trajectory of what happens when you're in a blockbuster movie."

Meanwhile, Twitter users' takes on Arnold's comparison were not in Heard's favor. "Zendaya won an Emmy at the age of 24. Amber Heard was once nominated for worst actress and couldn't even win that," one user wrote