Last year, the 37-year-old actor became embroiled in a highly-publicised legal battle with her ex-husband, Johnny Depp, who sued Heard for $50m (£38.2m) for implying he abused her in a 2018 Washington Post op-ed. After a six-week trial, the jury determined Heard defamed Depp on all three counts and awarded him $10m (£8.2m) in compensatory damages and $5m (£4.1m) in punitive damages. Heard was awarded $2m (£1.6m) in compensatory damages.
Heard then filed a notice of appeal one month after the initial verdict, with her attorney citing “errors” made by the court. However, she decided to withdraw the appeal in December, calling the decision to settle with Depp “very difficult”, and something that had required “a great deal of deliberation”.
Since then, the Rum Diary star has reportedly “quit Hollywood” in search of more privacy. After the bombshell defamation trial revealed details about the actor’s personal life - as well as an online frenzy that was largely skewed against Heard - she has since sold her home in California and relocated to Madrid, Spain.
In July 2022, Heard reportedly sold her six-acre home in Yucca Valley, California, for $1.05m, according to the New York Post. The three-bedroom, three-bathroom desert home was purchased off-market, as TMZ reported the new owner was in touch with Heard’s “people” during the transaction.
Heard traded her desert retreat for a rental home on the island of Mallorca in Spain, where she briefly lived before permanently moving to the Spanish capital of Madrid. The Texas native was spotted multiple times in Spain, such as shopping at a local book fair, before she seemingly confirmed her new residence while speaking to Spanish reporters last June.
“Amber, how is your new life here in Madrid?” the cameraman asked Heard in the clip. She replied in Spanish: “I love Spain, so much.” When asked whether she plans on staying in Madrid, Heard responded: “Yes, I hope so. Yes, yes, I love living here.”
Back in April, a source told People that Heard “couldn’t wait to leave the US with her daughter” after the defamation trial reached a verdict in June 2022. “She has been living in Spain, where she gets more privacy. The trial was beyond stressful for her, and she just wanted to start fresh out of the country.”
Meanwhile, another source previously told the Daily Mail that Heard is “bilingual in Spanish” and happy to be “raising her daughter away from all the noise”.
The social media obsession surrounding the defamation trial, which sparked hashtags including #amberheardisaliar and #justiceforjohnnydepp, reportedly caused Heard to feel “like a pariah” after it had reached an outcome in favour of her ex-husband. A source told People at the time: “She just had to get out of the US. It felt like too much chaos.”
Following the infamous legal battle, sources claimed that Heard would be willing to return to work “when the time is right for the right project”. She is set to reprise her role as Queen Mera in Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom, the sequel to DC Comics’ 2018 film Aquaman, which will be released in December 2023.
The actor also made her post-defamation trial return with her new film, In the Fire, which premiered at the Taormina Film Festival on 25 June. In her first Instagram post since the Depp v Heard trial, she celebrated the premiere of the thriller film by posting a smiling photo of herself from the Italian film festival. “Thank you for such an incredibly warm reception at the Taormina Film festival for my latest movie In the Fire. It was an unforgettable weekend,” she captioned the post.
In a separate post, Heard shared a bird’s-eye image of the fans who were waiting to greet her outside the premiere. “What a reception,” she wrote. “Thank you to all of my fans and supporters. I am so touched.”
Speaking to Deadline about the In the Fire premiere, Heard made a subtle reference to the challenges and pressures she faced as a result of the trial. “That’s a big thing I had to learn, that I’m not in control of stories other people create around me. That’s something that probably I’ll appreciate as a blessing further down the line,” she told the outlet last June.
“Right now, I just kind of want to not have, you know, stones thrown at me so much. So let’s get the elephant out of the room then, and just let me say that. I am an actress. I’m here to support a movie. And that’s not something I can be sued for.”
Heard went on to discuss her pride in her career, having worked professionally her “whole adult life, since [she] was 16”. As a result, she said that her success in the entertainment industry should be enough to shape her reputation, rather than her personal life. “I think I’ve earned respect for that to be its own thing,” Heard explained. “That’s substantial enough. What I have been through, what I’ve lived through, doesn’t make my career at all. And it’s certainly not gonna stop my career.
“I just want to make movies and be appreciated as an actress. I don’t want to have to be crucified to be appreciated as one.”
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