During the six weeks that the Amber Heard-Johnny Depp trial took place in the United States, the former couple made several serious allegations against each other. Details of physical and sexual abuse, verbal threats, drug addiction, ransacked rooms and broken bottles came up in their testimonies, painting a picture of a marriage in which both parties hurt each other. As the jury ponders the evidence that was presented in the courtroom before delivering its verdict, there is one thing that is already clear: Those who followed the trial online processed the stark footage of the breakup. a wedding as a spectacle to be consumed with luxury. .
The marriage broke up and ended in 2017. Everything that happened after – Depp’s libel suit against British tabloid The Sun for calling him a ‘wife beater’, the Washington Post editorial of Heard in which she describes herself as “a public figure representing domestic violence”, and the defamation case which resulted in a very thorough trial – resulted from personal decisions made by two individuals in contexts that no one outside of their relationship will never fully know. But that didn’t seem to matter at all to those watching.
Even before the opening arguments were made, the fact that Depp and Heard were celebrities — Hollywood actors with starring roles in major movie franchises — indicated the case would be watched closely by the public. The closeness only became apparent once the trial began and was broadcast live on screen around the world, especially in the vicious trolling of Heard, the less famous and less powerful of the two. Millions of memes, TikToks and hashtags cluttered the timelines, revealing, in all its brutality, a nasty obsession with having fun at all costs, including the cost of both people’s dignity in marriage and the courtroom. .