Amber Heard vs Johnny Depp: 10 celebrities who were named in the defamation trial

Elon Musk, Kate Moss and Eddie Redmayne among the stars who were mentioned in the case

Tom Murray
Thursday 18 May 2023 18:31 BST
Johnny Depp says he made waffles for fans waiting outside court

When a relationship between two A-listers self-destructs, there’s bound to be some collateral.

Celebrities from Elon Musk to Kate Moss were caught up in the explosive trial between Johnny Depp and Amber Heard.

Depp sued his ex-wife, Heard, for $50m (£40m) over a Washington Post op-ed she wrote in 2018, which he said implied he abused her.

Heard countersued for $100m (£80m), accusing Depp of orchestrating a “smear campaign” against her and describing his lawsuit as a continuation of “abuse and harassment”.

The 2022 trial lasted almost two months, and at times the number of people involved in the case was hard to follow.

Below, we have collated a list of 10 celebrities who made an appearance, whether they liked it or not, in the trial between Depp and Heard.

Elon Musk

During her testimony, Heard described the moment she met Elon Musk at the 2016 Met Gala after her then-husband Depp “stood me up” on the red carpet.

“He seemed like a real gentleman. He was really nice,” Heard said about developing a friendship with the billionaire Tesla CEO.

Elon Musk
Elon Musk (AFP via Getty Images)

Heard and Musk are rumoured to have dated on and off between 2016 and 2018 and the SpaceX boss was named on her witness list for the trial. However, he did not appear on the stand.

During opening statements, Heard’s lawyers said that Depp had been “obsessed” with Musk.

Later in the trial, it was revealed that Musk had donated at least $500,000 to the ACLU and the Children’s Hospital of Los Angeles on Heard’s behalf.

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Paul Bettany

Depp testified that Heard “despised” his friend Paul Bettany because she saw him as a “threat” to their time together.

“Ms Heard despised Mr Bettany, mainly because we had become such close friends and for her, he was a threat and would take me away from her, with regard to if Paul Bettany were getting the attention from me, that was a show-stopper. It would cause all kinds of unpleasantries,” Depp said.

Depp’s friendship with the Wandavision star had already come up during his previous libel case against The Sun in 2020. Text messages between the two were used as evidence in both trials – in them, the pair joked about burning and drowning Heard.

Paul Bettany and Johnny Depp
Paul Bettany and Johnny Depp (Christian Marquardt/Getty Images)

“Let’s drown her before we burn her!!! I will f*** her burnt corpse afterwards to make sure she’s dead,” Depp wrote in the texts.

Bettany addressed the messages during an interview with The Independent in December 2021, saying it was “embarrassing” to have the messages made public.

“And we live in a world without context,” he told The Times.

James Franco

While on the witness stand, Heard alleged that Depp subjected her to a “disgusting” and violent grilling about a sex scene she had filmed with James Franco.

“He was mad at me for taking the job with James Franco,” Heard said. “He hated, hated James Franco and was already accusing me of secretly having a thing with him in my past since we had done Pineapple Express together.”

James Franco and Amber Heard attend the premiere of ‘The Adderall Diaries’ in 2015
James Franco and Amber Heard attend the premiere of ‘The Adderall Diaries’ in 2015 (Jemal Countess/Getty Images for the 2015 Tribeca Film Festival)

The argument over her work with Franco came to a head during a private flight between Boston and Los Angeles, Heard said. She told the court that Depp slapped her and kicked her to the ground while screaming abuse at her.

Later in the trial, jurors were shown elevator footage of Franco visiting Heard at her apartment on 22 May 2016, the night before she filed for divorce from Depp. Four days later, the Aquaman star then filed for a domestic violence restraining order from her then-husband.

The pair appear to rest their heads together in the footage before they exit the elevator.

Kate Moss

Heard told the court that she “instantly” thought “of Kate Moss and stairs” when she recounted a fight with Depp involving her sister Whitney.

Heard was referencing her earlier claim that Depp has pushed Moss down a staircase while they dated in the 1990s.

Kate Moss and Johnny Depp
Kate Moss and Johnny Depp (AFP via Getty Images)

During Depp’s 2020 UK libel trial against the publishers of The Sun newspaper, Heard said, “He pushed Kate Moss down the stairs, I heard this from two people, and this was fresh in my mind”.

Moss has never accused Depp of domestic violence and appeared at the trial by video link to testify that Depp had not pushed her down the stairs and she had slipped on some outdoor steps after a rainstorm while the couple had been only vacation at a resort in Jamaica in the 1990s.

Winona Ryder and Vanessa Paradis

Two of Depp’s other exes, Stranger Things star Winona Ryder and French singer Vanessa Paradis, were mentioned in the trial by Heard’s friend iO Tillett Wright. Wright told the court that Depp confided in him that he “experienced great bouts of jealousy” in relationships, which also fuelled his alcohol issues.

Ryder and Depp dated for four years in the early 1990s, while Paradis dated Depp for 14 years after meeting in 1998. Depp and Paradis share two children, Lily-Rose, born in 1999, and Jack, born in 2002.

“He experienced great bouts of jealousy in relationships that had also led to a lot of drinking and a lot of rage activities,” Wright testified.

“He told me that that happened with Winona. He told me that that happened with Kate. Sorry, with Winona Ryder and Kate Moss.

“He told me that that happened with Vanessa Paradis.”

In witness statements given during Depp’s 2020 trial against The Sun, Ryder and Paradis described the allegations of domestic violence against him as “impossible to believe”.

Eddie Redmayne

On the stand, Heard claimed that Depp accused her of having an affair with Eddie Redmayne while they were filming The Danish Girl (2015).

“I got the sense that he thought I was sleeping with the director [Tom Hooper], and then it was with the actor I was filming with,” Heard said.

Eddie Redmayne
Eddie Redmayne (PA Archive)

Asked to specify who the actor in question was, Heard answered: “Eddie Redmayne.”

Heard testified that she had not had an affair with either Hooper or Redmayne during that time but said that Depp continued to accost her about it, eventually calling her hotel room to check she was there.

Marilyn Manson

Depp testified he once gave Marilyn Manson a pill so he would “stop talking so much”.

Marilyn Manson
Marilyn Manson (AP)

Depp was questioned by Heard’s lawyer about taking drugs with the heavy metal artist, which he answered: “We drank together, we've had cocaine together, maybe a couple of times.”

However, the courtroom burst into laughter at Depp’s reply when asked if he’d ever done “pills” with Manson. “I once gave Marilyn Manson a pill so he would stop talking so much,” he said.

Ellen Barkin

Actor Ellen Barkin said her relationship with Johnny Depp was “sexual” and not “romantic” while testifying against Depp.

The two actors had a brief relationship in 1998 after working on Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas together.

Ellen Barkin testifies about a time Johnny Depp allegedly threw a bottle
Ellen Barkin testifies about a time Johnny Depp allegedly threw a bottle (AP)

“The friendship went from purely platonic to a romantic one,” Barkin said before raising her hand and asking: “Can I change that to sexual?”

Barkin also testified that she was in a Las Vegas hotel room with Depp, his assistant and his friends one day when there was “a fight going on” and the actor picked up a wine bottle and threw it across the room. Depp has denied the incident took place and testified that she called him abusive because she held a “grudge” against him.

Billy Bob Thornton

Billy Bob Thornton is another actor who Heard alleges Depp accused her of having an affair with.

Billy Bob Thornton
Billy Bob Thornton (Kevin Winter/Getty Images)

Heard and Thornton worked together in 2013 on the film London Fields, which was not released until 2018.

Depp told the court that he’d written the message “Starring Billy Bob & easy Amber” in paint on a mirror after Heard hurled a vodka bottle at his finger.

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