A timeline of Johnny Depp and Amber Heard's relationship and legal battle

Opening arguments for a multimillion-dollar defamation case begin on Tuesday

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Opening arguments will begin on Tuesday in the multimillion-dollar defamation case between Pirates of the Caribbean star Johnny Depp and his former wife, actress Amber Heard, whose allegations of spousal abuse are under the microscope.

A jury was picked on Monday to hear the suit brought by Depp, 58, against Heard, 35, in Fairfax County Circuit Court in Virginia.

Here is a timeline of the legal twists and turns of the tumultuous Hollywood romance.


Actors Johnny Depp and Amber Heard begin dating after meeting on the set of comedy film The Rum Diary.


Depp is alleged to have been physically violent to Heard for the first time early in the year.

Heard claims the actor slapped her three times after she joked about a tattoo he got on his arm during his relationship with actress Winona Ryder. He denies the allegation.


Depp and Heard marry at a private ceremony in Los Angeles in February.

FILE - In this Jan. 2, 2016, file photo, Amber Heard, left, and Johnny Depp arrive at the 27th annual Palm Springs International Film Festival Awards Gala in Palm Springs, Calif. In a complaint filed Friday, March 1, 2019, Depp is suing his ex-wife Heard in a $50 million defamation lawsuit, citing a piece she wrote for The Washington Post about domestic abuse. (Photo by Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP, File)

The couple takes a trip to Australia in March, which Heard describes as "a three-day hostage situation", claiming Depp is abusive while drinking heavily and taking drugs.

Depp again denies the allegations and says Heard lost her temper after a conversation about a post-nuptial agreement.


In May, the pair separate after an incident in which Heard claims Depp became angry at their Los Angeles penthouse and destroyed property with a bottle of champagne.

Heard files a petition for the dissolution of their marriage as well as a temporary domestic violence restraining order, which prevents Depp from contacting her.

The estranged couple reach an agreement concerning the dissolution of their marriage. Heard later donates her $7 million settlement to charity.


The couple become formally divorced in January.


An article by The Sun newspaper's executive editor Dan Wootton is published in April, in which he refers to Depp as a "wife-beater" in the headline.

The actor files his libel claim against News Group Newspapers, the owner of The Sun.

Heard publishes an op-ed in The Washington Post in December, which deals with her personal experiences of domestic violence.

It is titled I spoke up against sexual violence — and faced our culture's wrath. That has to change, but does not mention Depp by name.


Depp launches a $50 million defamation lawsuit against Heard, with his lawyers claiming the article falsely implies she was physically and sexually abused by the actor when they were married.

He claims the piece caused him to be dropped from the Pirates Of The Caribbean franchise and that Heard was the one who had been abusive towards him.


The pair meet in the Royal Courts Of Justice in London for Depp's NGN libel suit, which was delayed owing to the coronavirus crisis.

Johnny Depp arrives at the High Court in London in July 2020. AP Photo

Following a 16-day trial in July, a judge finds the content of the article proven to be "substantially true".

Justice Nicol dismisses Depp's plea to challenge his ruling at the Court of Appeal.

Depp's lawyers file grounds of appeal with the Court of Appeal, claiming the actor "did not receive a fair trial" and that Justice Nicol's ruling is "plainly wrong" and "manifestly unsafe".


The UK Court Of Appeal refuses permission for Depp to appeal against the High Court ruling.


Depp's 2019 defamation case against Heard, also delayed owing to the pandemic, begins on April 12.

Witness lists reveal that several high-profile celebrities are due to give testimony, including actors James Franco and Paul Bettany, and Tesla founder Elon Musk.

- AFP and PA contributed to this report

Updated: April 12, 2022, 6:03 AM