Johnny Depp and Amber Heard: what next for stars after defamation trial - from Aquaman 2 to POTC 6 rumours

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Johnny Depp and Amber Heard’s careers have slumped with TV and film roles drying up

Johnny Depp and Amber Heard, who were married from 2015-2017, were at the centre of a media storm from 2020-2022 due to two defamation cases over allegations that Depp had been abusive towards Heard during their relationship.

The allegations caused Depp to be dropped from two major film franchises - Fantastic Beasts, and Pirates of the Caribbean, whilst Depp’s 2022 defamation suit against Heard has also damaged her Hollywood career, with her future in the DCEU post-Aquaman 2 looking unlikely.

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Johnny Depp and Amber Heard have both struggled with their careers after defamation casesJohnny Depp and Amber Heard have both struggled with their careers after defamation cases
Johnny Depp and Amber Heard have both struggled with their careers after defamation cases | Margate House Films, Why Not Productions

What is Amber Heard doing now?

Amber Heard’s biggest film post-defamation trial is her role as Princess Mera in DC sequel Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom, although you wouldn’t know it from the film’s promos which has all but erased her from the project.

Despite being paid $2 million for the movie, which was filmed before the trial, Heard’s screen time is rumoured to have been slashed to as little as eight minutes, she does not feature in the official posters and pops up in the trailer for less than a second.

The actress was released from her contract with Warner Bros ahead of Aquaman 2’s release, and given how little the studio has made of her role in the sequel, it’s unlikely she’ll be asked to return for future DCEU projects.

Amber Heard has a blink and you'll miss it appearance in the Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom trailerAmber Heard has a blink and you'll miss it appearance in the Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom trailer
Amber Heard has a blink and you'll miss it appearance in the Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom trailer | Warner Bros

Her only other film to come out after the trial was 2023 period thriller In the Fire, in which she plays a doctor who treats a young boy believed by the religious community to be possessed by the devil. The film was review bombed following its release by opponents of Heard, and was released directly to streaming. 

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Heard now lives in Madrid, Spain and has been living a quiet life since the end of her defamation court case, avoiding social media. She currently has no confirmed upcoming film or TV roles in the works, whether this will change as the media and public move on from the trial remains to be seen.

What is Johnny Depp doing now?

Depp finds himself in a strange position, having been found in favour of in his 2022 defamation suit against Heard, which found that she had defamed him by suggesting that he had been abusive towards her, but having lost an earlier case in the UK against The Sun, which found that the newspaper could accurately call him a ‘wife beater’.

These two seemingly contradictory findings mean that Depp has both detractors and supporters, and whilst his career is beginning to go through a resurgence it’s unlikely that he’ll return to the leading roles he had before Heard’s allegations were made public.

He starred as French king Louis XV in historical romance Jeanne du Barry, and will lend his voice to children's animation Johnny Puff: Secret Mission, playing the titular role when the film is released next year. Depp is set to direct biographical drama film Modi, about Italian painter and sculptor Amedeo Modigliani, which will star, among others, Al Pacino, and Stephen Graham. 

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Rumours of Depp returning to his iconic role of Captain Jack Sparrow in a future Pirates of the Caribbean film, following Disney dropping him from the franchise, have once again done the rounds online. However, this remains unconfirmed, and Depp even said during the defamation trial that he would not take part in a future Pirates film even if Disney offered him $300 million.

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