Culture Feature

Stop Acting Like You Know What Happened Between Amber Heard and Johnny Depp

We don't know these people, and the more we forget about them, the happier we'll all be.

It seems like every day there's a new headline emerging from the fallout of Johnny Depp and Amber Heard's disastrous marriage.

More than four years after Heard filed for divorce, entertainment "news" outlets with names like PopCulture and PopSugar and PopCrush (and maybe some fickle other sites I can't think of at the moment) continue to pore over every court transcript and deposition in various unfolding legal cases, like vultures picking the last shreds of rotten flesh from a long-dead carcass.

Did Amber Heard really sever the tip of Johnny Depp's finger by throwing a vodka bottle at him?! And wait, did Johnny Depp then use that ravaged finger to write her messages in his own blood?! That's so crazy—so disturbing—it probably means that he's the kind of person who would cut his own finger just to freak her out. But no, Johnny Depp's exes say he's nice, and the head of his security team said that Amber Heard is the mean one.

Johnny Depp libel case hears of 'severed fingertip' | ITV News

So, when Heard told Depp that no one would believe him, was that because he was lying or because she was? Did he text his friend about drowning and burning her and ****ing her corpse? Did she use makeup to fake her injuries? Was she cheating on him with Elon Musk? Did she get violent with him for losing money? Perhaps most importantly of all, does Johnny Depp really refer to himself as an "injun?"

Depp Vs. Heard: Culture War

The amount of hearsay and conjecture that has flown back and forth around their brief relationship is astonishing. Their marriage has been over for far longer than it was a thing, and we just can't stop. It's become a battleground for a larger cultural war, rather than what it actually is—some stale drama from one of the worst couples in history.

If these people were our friends, we would all have moved on from the drama years ago. Maybe people would still have picked sides, but the general consensus would be "thank god they broke up and we don't have to deal with that mess anymore." But because these people are celebrities shrouded in the aura of fame, we can't look away, and we keep trying to find the piece of evidence that will make anything clear.

At one point it seemed clear that Johnny Depp was an abuser; more recently Amber Heard has been painted as a manipulative sociopath—particularly by people who have an agenda against the #MeToo movement and the push to take women's testimony on abuse seriously.

There is now a cottage industry of articles and videos picking apart recordings and footage of heard and Depp, finding evidence in their mannerisms and their voices to prove one party or the other is telling the truth—ignoring the fact that both of these people are prominent actors, paid millions of dollars to lie at a professional level.

Amber Heard vs Johnny Depp: Comparison of Depositions

No one seems to be particularly interested to consider that abusive relationships are often not one sided. No one wants to acknowledge that the effort to determine which of these strangers we've never met is a villain and which one is the put-upon, long-suffering hero standing up for what's right is nonsense—that what really happened was probably not that clear cut, and that none of us will ever know anyway.

No One Knows What Really Happened

Apart from that security guard, Amber Heard's sister, and a few friends on each side, there are very few people who can say what actually happened in any of these events. And among the people who do have that inside info, there is a divide. They two sides have formed based on established loyalties. So how can millions of strangers claim to do any better?

We don't know what happened, but we like who we like—we have our own biases—and the other person is therefore lying, violent scum.

Even Depp's exes—who insist he was always sweet and never violent—don't have any real insight into what happened in the brief period that Heard and Depp were actually together. Sure, he was sweet with them, but Winona Ryder and Vanessa Paradis are not more than 20 years younger than him.

When Heard and Depp were married, she was in her 20s and he was in his 50s. He had experienced years of addiction, career missteps, and perhaps some bouts of mid-life crisis, and then entered into a relationship with a substantially different power dynamic. It's good that he was never violent in his previous relationships, but the fact that Ryder—who dated Depp in the 90s—finds it "impossible to believe" the accusations against him is not relevant to the reality of what happened in 2015.

Perhaps the most surreal addition to the conversation recently was Amanda Knox—the American woman who was convicted of murdering her roommate in Italy, and spent years in an Italian prison before that conviction was overturned. Knox spoke out on Twitter saying that Depp was "wrongly accused of domestic violence" and used the case as a rallying cry against "cancel culture."

What?! She has no more information or insight on the case than any other stranger reading headlines. And by saying he was "wrongly accused," she is implicitly accusing Amber Heard of a crime.

Surely, Amanda Knox, more than anyone, should know the danger of making up your mind about distant events based on how they're characterized in tabloid news. Surely that's a more important lesson than the dangers of "cancel culture"—which didn't even succeed in getting multi-millionaire Depp fired from the Fantastic Beasts seriesFantastic Beasts series anyway (not with J.K. Rowling on his side).

At this point it's clear that the only healthy thing for us to do as a society is to pretend that Amber Heard and Johnny Depp don't exist. They both have enough money to survive not being famous for the next decade or two, during which we can all move on and stop pretending to know the details that even the people involved were likely too drunk to remember half of it.

So as Johnny Depp's libel trial against The Sun continues and the headlines keep pouring in, the healthiest thing to do is to stop clicking, stop caring, and just be glad that at least this terrible, messy relationship is long dead.

This article is the last word Popdust will say on the matter—which is a shame, because now we can't eat with all the other, cooler vultures.

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