The Way They Were: Amber Heard and Johnny Depp's Relationship Timeline

Amber Heard wore a lacy sleeveless gown next to Johnny Depp, who sported a tie-less black suit.
Source: Shutterstock

Mar. 10 2020, Published 5:23 p.m. ET

As quickly as Amber Heard and Johnny Depp burned bright, they just as speedily split up. Although their marriage lasted just 15 months, the battle in courts and in the court of public opinion continued.

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The bodaciously beautiful people met on the sun-soaked set of The Rum Diary. Their cinematic chemistry was as hot as the Cuban locale where the flick was filmed. Depp had previously been partnered with French actress Vanessa Paradis for 14 years, and they had two children together — Lily-Rose Depp and John Christopher Depp III.

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Headline-grabbing rumors about the new couple were everywhere. They had a fierce and fiery marriage. From the moment they met, through their contentious divorce proceedings and legal entanglements that still ensnarl both celebrities, we present the definitive chronicle of the whirlwind romance and equally as swift demise that was Amber Heard and Johnny Depp.

2011: A Rummy Beginning

//amber heard and johnny depp the rum diary
Source: FilmDistrict

The pair met on the set of the Hunter S. Thompson page-to-screen project The Rum Diary. Depp had hardly been a stranger to a Thompson screen adaptation. His turn in Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas was iconic. Simply watching Heard and Depp in their first film together, you could feel the heat. The movie featured beautiful settings with two beautiful people. The chemistry oozed on the screen (and clearly off), but Depp was with Paradis at the time. Nothing happened between Depp and Heard while filming. 

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January Through June 2012: Separate Lives

Johnny Depp, in a black suit with a white dress shirt, was joined by Vanessa Paradis, who sported a gorgeous shimmery silver sleeveless dress.
Source: MEGA

Whispers started in January of 2012 that the Depp and Paradis were living apart and heading toward a break. After months of denying it, the former partners released a statement in June 2012 and admitted what many had suspected. After 14 years as a couple they had “amicably separated,” as reported by Radar Online. Almost immediately, sources told various outlets that Depp and Heard were making it official. One told Us Weekly that “they are 100% dating.”

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April 2013

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The new dynamic duo, after months of being spotted all over the place, continued to not confirm and deny that they were a couple. But in the spring of 2013, the two were seen holding hands at a Rolling Stones concert, as reported by Radar Online. Hard to hide affection seen by thousands!

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July 2013: “Lone” No More

Johnny Depp wore jeans and a casual shirt with a grey blazer, while Amber Heard dressed comfortably in a white blouse and dark slacks.
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Depp took Heard to the New Mexico desert for the press tour for his The Lone Ranger — along with his kids. Then, for the international press tour for the film, the actor’s kids were joined by Heard, per Us Weekly! When asked about her connection with Depp, Heard wasn’t having it. "It's not part of my professional life. I want to be an artist. I don't want to be a celebrity. I guess I could not hold hands with who I want to, but what kind of life would that be? I don't want to change just because people are watching. I've always been the person who says what she wants," the Aquaman actress said. Guess an affirmation that the two were dating wouldn’t come from her.

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January 2014: Diamond Days

Johnny Depp looked sharp in a grey suit, matched with a pinstriped oxford while Amber Heard showed off her engagement ring with her black plunging gown.
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The pair made their first public appearance as a couple at the 7th Annual Art Of Elysium's Heaven Gala. Days later, their relationship looked fiercely official as Heard was seen with a beautiful diamond ring on “that” finger. Finally, a source connected to the couple confirmed what we already knew. “Amber is becoming a true part of the family and being involved with the upbringing of Johnny’s kids — albeit on a somewhat limited basis,” the source said in Radar Online. “Amber sees Johnny’s children nearly every weekend Johnny does, especially when they’re in Los Angeles and not working on sets.”

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March 2014: It’s On!

Johnny Depp hugged a friend on the black carpet for his film while showing off his diamond engagement ring on his ring finger.
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While in Asia promoting his film Transcendence, Depp was asked by a foreign reporter about the engagement and the enormous diamond rock that he was wearing on “that” finger. "Can I take that as confirmation of your engagement?" "You can take that any way you like, absolutely," the Edward Scissorhands actor replied, as quoted in Glamour UK. "The fact that I'm wearing a chick's ring on my finger is probably a dead giveaway. Not very subtle." Days later, the couple held an engagement party for themselves with 100 close friends and family.

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December 2014: “Turmoil in the Relationship”

Johnny Depp looked dapper in a paperboy hat and a black winter coat over a black suit while Amber Heard wore a lacy black dress.
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The pair were reportedly happy to be engaged but in no hurry to become man and wife. “There is no rush to marry at the moment," a source was quoted as saying to Radar Online. "Johnny is crazy in love with Amber, but there is turmoil in the relationship."

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January 2015: New Year, New You

Johnny Depp wore a Fedora and shaded glasses with a black overcoat while Amber Heard sported a beige overcoat and white blouse.
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Things appeared to be good when the duo celebrated Depp’s mom’s 80th birthday, according to E!

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February 4, 2015: I Do!

Johnny Depp wore an old-school tuxedo, complete with a stringed pocket watch, while Amber Heard dazzled in a patterned grey gown.
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In a private ceremony held at Depp’s home, the couple tied the knot and made it official.

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April 2016: Aussie Awkwardness

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Who could forget that insanely bizarre video public apology that Depp and Heard had to record after they broke Australian law when they brought their beloved dogs to the country?

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May 23, 2016: Heard & Depp Done

Johnny Depp led Amber Heard through a throng of paparazzi as Depp wore a black suit with a black and red striped tie and Heard sported a black pantsuit with a white blouse under a black blazer.
Source: Shutterstock

Wow, that didn’t take long. The Depp and Heard marriage was officially over. Heard filed the divorce papers after just 15 months of not-so wedded bliss. She cited “irreconcilable differences.” Her filing timing wasn’t the best. Divorce papers arrived merely two days after Depp learned that his beloved mother had passed away. Heard sought spousal support, and the public wondered how much of his $400 million fortune she would try to obtain in divorce court.

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May 27, 2016: Depp Delivers His Side

//amber heard and johnny depp delivers
Source: MEGA

The superstar actor seemed to have an inkling that this divorce would play out in the court of public opinion. As such, he took a few days away from the spotlight, and his PR folks released a statement (published in Radar Online) about the split. "Given the brevity of this marriage and the most recent and tragic loss of his mother, Johnny will not respond to any of the salacious false stories, gossip, misinformation and lies about his personal life. Hopefully the dissolution of this short marriage will be resolved quickly." That same day, photos of Heard were leaked to the press with a black eye — allegedly from Depp throwing his phone at her. Heard sought and received a restraining order against Depp. Meanwhile, the LAPD investigated and saw no signs of bruising when they visited with The Danish Girl actress, per Radar Online.

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May 30, 2016: The Ex-Files

//amber heard and johnny depp vanessa paradis lily rose depp
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Depp’s ex, Paradis, and their daughter, Lily-Rose, came to his defense in an “open letter.” Paradis’ statement read (per the Inquisitor), “To whom it may concern, Johnny Depp is the father of my two children, he is a sensitive, loving, and loved person, and I believe with all my heart that these recent allegations being made are outrageous. In all the years I have known Johnny, he has never been physically abusive with me and this looks nothing like the man I lived with for 14 wonderful years.” And as quoted in Radar Online his daughter added, "My dad is the sweetest most loving person I know, he's been nothing but a wonderful father to my little brother and I, and everyone who knows him would say the same."

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May 30, 2016: Heard from Heard

Amber Heard was all smiles in her rouge patterned sleeveless dress, holding a bouquet of flowers and an award.
Source: MEGA

That same day, Heard’s legal team released their own statement as the war in the press continued. "As the result of Amber's decision to decline giving an initial statement to the LAPD, her silence has been used against her by Johnny's team. Amber did not provide a statement to the LAPD in an attempt to protect her privacy and Johnny's career,” it read. "We took the high road. Unfortunately, Johnny's team immediately went to the press and began viciously attacking Amber's character. Amber is simply a victim of domestic violence, and none of her actions are motivated by money. Amber is a brave and financially independent woman who is showing the courage of her convictions by doing the right thing against Johnny's relentless army of lawyers and surrogates. The Family Law Court is not going to be influenced by misinformation placed in the social media based on anonymous sources. Amber is the victim. Amber is a hero," the statement ended somewhat dramatically, as reported on E! News. "During the entirety of our relationship, Johnny has been verbally and physically abusive to me," she wrote in court documents obtained by E! News. "I endured excessive emotional, verbal and physical abuse from Johnny, which has included angry hostile, humiliating and threatening assaults to me whenever I questioned his authority or disagreed with him." Depp’s attorney fired back and said (quoted in Radar Online), “Amber is attempting to secure a premature financial resolution by alleging abuse."

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July 3, 2016: Tattoo You No More

Johnny Depp showed off his “scum” tattoo, just a bit lower than the cuff of his sky blue blazer.
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Depp had felt such a sense of forever with Heard that he had tattooed her nickname on his finger. The day before Independence Day (symbolic?), the superstar had his “Slim” (her nickname) tattoo altered to “Scum.” What may have pushed him to take action on something he would probably have done at some point was the fact that two days prior, a friend of Heard’s went public and stated that he saw Depp try to smother Heard with a pillow, as reported in Cosmopolitan. The actress also let it be known that she would seek $50,000 a month in spousal support from the Pirates of the Caribbean star.

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August 10, 2016: Courtroom Chaos

Amber Heard left court in a black blazer as paparazzi swarmed.
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On her way to testifying during the divorce trial, Heard allegedly refused to enter the room as she “cried, screamed and refused to enter the deposition room,” as chronicled at Us Weekly.

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August 19, 2016: Amber’s Altruism

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The divorce appeared to be close to settlement. It was reported that Depp was prepared to pony up $7 million to his ex as part of the divorce deal, as reported in Radar Online. Seeking to prove that she was never after Depp’s money, Heard reported that she planned to donate the $7 million settlement to charities — including Children’s Hospital of Los Angeles and The American Civil Liberties Union. She released a statement addressing the latest turn of events, "As described in the restraining order and divorce settlement, money played no role for me personally and never has, except to the extent that I could donate it to charity and, in doing so, hopefully help those less able to defend themselves."

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December 2016: Depp Demands

//amber heard and johnny depp demands
Source: MEGA

After a few quiet months on the Depp v. Heard front, the actor submitted a request to the court in the amount of $100,000 for court citations from the actress, per New York Magazine. Depp’s legal team argued that she “continues to needlessly litigate a case which has been settled, all while parading in front of the media in a desperate attempt to extend her 15 minutes of fame." Her attorney immediately fired back that this was “just another lame attempt by Mr. Depp and his team to not pay my client the money she is owed."

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January 2017: Nearing the End

Johnny Depp looked like a deer in headlights, while he sported a black suit without a tie, but accessorized with three necklaces while Heard looked miserable in a black embroidered matching pants and blazer.
Source: Shutterstock

The couple’s divorce battle reached its final stage. “It is a great day. All Amber wanted was to be divorced and now she is,” Heard’s attorney, Pierce O’Donnell, told Us Weekly. “In the words of Gerald Ford, ‘Our long national nightmare is over.’” So, when it came to the $100,000 request from Depp to cover his fees, the court dismissed it (reported in Us Weekly).

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October 2018: Depp Opens Up

Johnny Depp was ready for his close-up on the cover of British GQ. His hands were covered in rings and tattoos.
Source: GQ

In an interview with British GQ, the superstar emotionally responded to Heard’s allegations that were thrown at him during the divorce proceedings. “The thing that hurt me is being presented as something that you're really as far away from as you could possibly get, you know?" he said in the Q&A. As soon as the story hit newsstands, Heard and her team responded. "Mr. Depp is shamefully continuing his psychological abuse of Ms. Heard, who has attempted to put a very painful part of her life firmly in her past," a spokesperson was quoted as saying in Us Weekly. "One need only look at the physical evidence to draw the proper conclusion."

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January 2019: Depp’s Not Done

//amber heard and johnny depp depps not done
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Depp, to counter any kind of mudslinging that was done to his name, requested that his attorneys prove that her allegations of spousal abuse were false. His lawyers claimed to have evidence that would prove that Heard was not being honest. The actor’s attorney stated that they had (from Newsweek) “filed a partial list of evidence that we will use to disprove the fraudulent underlying allegations against Mr. Depp.” They reportedly also possessed "eyewitness statements, newly discovered sworn affidavits and deposition transcripts from 2016 and text messages between the Sun and their #metoo source." The crux of this entire effort on Depp’s part was based on a lawsuit that the actor had launched against The Sun. They had called him a “wife beater.” The hope was that he could prove his innocence and that it would dispute everything that Heard had accused him of. 

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March 2019: Depp Defamed

Johnny Depp rocked a light peach leather jacket with a black T-shirt underneath, accessorized with a flop hat and an intertwining scarf and necklaces.
Source: MEGA

The Charlie and the Chocolate Factory star filed a $50 million defamation lawsuit against Heard for an op-ed she wrote for the Washington Post where she detailed her experience with alleged abuse — yet never mentioned her ex-husband by name. Depp claimed that his ex-wife was still entangling him in her affairs in an effort to expand and extend her fame. In court docs — obtained by Radar Online — his lawyers stated that her accusations were a product of an “elaborate hoax” to “enhance her career.” Depp also claimed that her allegations were hurting his career and if anything, it was him who was “violently abused.”

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April 2019: Heard Demands Dismissal

Amber Heard wore a patterned blazer with shoulder pads, accessorized with a gold, neck-hugging necklace.
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The actress filed a motion to have the lawsuit against her dismissed, per the Associated Press. “Since their divorce, Mr. Depp has continued to publicly harass Ms. Heard, and attempted to gaslight the world by denying his abuse," her attorney's statement read, as reported by the AP. "It is long past time for Mr. Depp's despicable conduct to end. Today, we presented to the court irrefutable evidence of Mr. Depp's abuse. It is regrettable that it will take a judge to finally end the persistent harassment of Ms. Heard by Mr. Depp, but Ms. Heard will take whatever action is necessary to vindicate the truth."

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May 2019: More Back & Forth

Johnny Depp wore a pink blazer over a black vest and white collared shirt while Amber Heard sported a navel-bearing black pantsuit with matching blazer.
Source: Shutterstock

The actor submitted a lengthy “declaration” that supported his defamation lawsuit. He directly tackled the allegations surrounding that bruised photo, claiming that she “painted it on,” as reported at Us Weekly. Heard’s attorney responded as they have since the beginning of this legal tussle, "The evidence in this case is clear: Johnny Depp repeatedly beat Amber Heard."  

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July 2019: James Franco?

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Depp’s legal team claimed that they had surveillance video of actor James Franco getting in an elevator with Heard, supposedly right after she had a fight with The Lone Ranger star. They intend to subpoena the 127 Hours actor to speak to the actress’ state of mind, per MSN. His attorney, Adam Waldman, said that, “We are enthusiastic about James Franco and Elon Musk as assurance observers since we have evidence they are men who saw Amber Heard’s face in the days and nights between when she ensured Mr. Depp squashed her in the front on May 21 and when she went to court with painted on ‘wounds’ to get a Temporary Restraining Order on May 27.” The lawsuit is still open, and the trial will commence sometime in August.

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February 2, 2020: Tale of the Tape

In a black and white screencap, James Franco was seen on a surveillance video, as he entered an elevator with Amber Heard. Franco wore a hat that covered his face while Heard was seen from behind.
Source: MEGA

After months of silence, an audiotape leaked that allegedly found Heard admitting to smacking Depp, as reported in Newsweek. In the clip, the couple are heard arguing and at one point the actress stated, "I'm sorry that I didn't, uh, uh, hit you across the face in a proper slap, but I was hitting you, it was not punching you. Babe, you're not punched." Soon after #JusticeforJohnnyDepp started trending. The lawsuit is still open, and the trial will commence sometime in August 2020. 

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