How Johnny Depp’s and Amber Heard’s careers have been impacted by the mutual abuse claims

Written by on May 18, 2022

Johnny Depp‘s and Amber Heard’s testimonies within their ongoing defamation trial continue to highlight how the ex-couple’s history of legal battles have impacted their individual careers.

On Tuesday, Heard returned to the stand at Virginia’s Fairfax County Circuit Court to testify that Warner Bros. allegedly dropped her from the upcoming “Aquaman” sequel over her divorce battles with Depp. Per Variety, Heard said she was “actively scheduling timing for filming” the future project. But after Depp’s team called her a liar concerning her abuse allegations, “communications” about the sequel “stopped at that point.”

According to reports from earlier this year, Heard appears in approximately 10 minutes of the film, which is called “Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom.” Heard, who plays the superhero and warrior Mera, first showcased her character in “Justice League.” She then reprised her role in James Wan’s 2018 film “Aquaman” and starred alongside Jason Momoa, who plays the titular character.

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Heard said she earned $1 million for starring in the first film but earned twice the amount for “Aquaman 2,” even though she described her current role as “a very pared-down version.”

“I was given a script and then given new versions of the script that had taken away scenes that had action in it, that depicted my character and another character, without giving any spoiler aways, two characters fighting with one another, and they basically took a bunch out of my role,” she said. “They just removed a bunch out.”

While Heard has not been dropped from any major film projects, the same can’t be said for Depp. In December 2018, Disney dropped Depp from the sixth installment of “Pirates of the Caribbean” shortly after Heard’s Washington Post op-ed — in which she details personal accounts of abuse but refrains from naming Depp as her abuser — was published. Depp addressed the incident at his cross-examination, when Heard’s lawyer, Ben Rottenborn, asked about a Daily Mail article that claimed Depp was “out as Jack Sparrow.”


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“I wasn’t aware of that, but it doesn’t surprise me,” Depp testified, per an April 20 Variety report. “Two years had gone by of constant worldwide talk about me being this wife beater. So I’m sure that Disney was trying to cut ties to be safe. The #MeToo movement was in full swing at that point.”

“I would be a real simpleton to not think that there was an effect on my career based on Ms. Heard’s words, whether they mentioned my name or not,” he continued. Depp added that his career was practically “done” from “the second the allegations were made against me.”

On Sunday, Jerry Bruckheimer, who produced the “Pirates of the Caribbean” films, revealed in an interview with The Times that Depp would not be returning as Sparrow anytime soon. Bruckheimer simply stated, “the future is yet to be decided.”

Instead, the producer said he’s working on a sequel with a female lead.

We’re talking to Margot Robbie,” he said. “We are developing two ‘Pirates’ scripts — one with her, one without.”

Just two years after Depp’s departure from the swashbuckling “Pirates” series, the actor was forced to exit the “Fantastic Beasts” movies after losing a libel case against the British tabloid The Sun, which called Depp a “wife beater” in an article. Depp’s departure took place during filming for “Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore,” the third installment in the film series based on J.K. Rowling’s “Wizarding World of Harry Potter” media franchise. Depp was replaced by Danish actor Mads Mikkelsen, who now stars as Gellert Grindelwald.

Depp is a marquee name and therefore has the massive fanbase and resume to match. While losing out on work from two major franchises is a blow, his long and successful career has afforded him some comfort and stability. While Heard’s career is not inconsiderable,  work loss likely affects her far more since she is younger and doesn’t command the same pay as her former partner.

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