The latest chapter of the legal battle between Johnny Depp and his ex-wife Amber Heard is set to begin on Monday, which marks the first day in a defamation trial.
Depp, 58, is suing Aquaman star Heard, 35, for $50m (£38m) over an article she wrote for the Washington Post in 2018 entitled: "I spoke up against sexual violence — and faced our culture’s wrath. That has to change".
Heard's team submitted a $100m (£77m) counter-claim against Depp, with the trial now set to begin on 11 April in Virginia, where the Post is published.
The legal proceedings will be televised in the United States via Court TV and are expected to feature star-studded witnesses including Elon Musk, Paul Bettany and James Franco.
What claims are Depp and Heard making?
The article did not name Depp, but Heard made reference in the piece to being a survivor of domestic violence who had received considerable abuse online since going public with her allegations.
Depp's legal team claimed that the op-ed "depended on the central premise that Ms. Heard was a domestic abuse victim and that Mr. Depp perpetrated domestic violence against her".
Their contention is that Heard is not a victim of domestic abuse and was instead the perpetrator of abuse against Depp.
They further alleged that the article cost Depp his role as Captain Jack Sparrow in the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise, with Disney confirming his departure just days after it was released.
Heard has argued that the information contained within the article is true and that she intends to continue to fight for survivors of domestic violence, while suggesting that Depp and his fans have wreaked a harassment campaign hoping to oust her from work including her role in the Aquaman franchise.
What's the history of this case?
Depp and Heard met in 2009 on the set of Hunter S. Thompson adaptation The Rum Diary, in which Depp played the leading role. They married in 2015, but Heard filed for divorce just a year later and obtained a temporary restraining order amid allegations of emotional and physical abuse.
The couple reached a financial settlement and their divorce was finalised in 2017.
Depp then filed a libel action against The Sun in the UK in relation to an article in which he was described as a "wife beater". The High Court considered 14 allegations of violence against Heard and decided that 12 of them met the threshold for legal certainty, dismissing Depp's libel claim.
He resigned from his role as dark wizard Gellert Grindelwald in the Fantastic Beasts franchise — to be replaced by Mads Mikkelsen — in the wake of the verdict and was denied permission to appeal in March 2021.
The couple's claims against each other will again be tested in court when they appear in Virginia next week for the high-profile defamation case.
Depp and Heard will both appear in person, though famous faces including richest man in the world Musk, WandaVision star Bettany and Franco are expected to give evidence virtually.
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