Amber Heard: who is Johnny Depp’s ex wife, did she date Elon Musk and James Franco and what films was she in?

Johnny Depp successfully sued the Aquaman actor for three counts of libel - although she looks set to appeal the verdict

The libel case between Amber Heard and ex-husband Johnny Depp has ended, with Mr Depp securing a full victory and Ms Heard being only partially successful with her counterclaim.

The result of the trial has seen renewed calls for Amber Heard to be dropped from comic book film Aquaman, as a Change.org petition has reached more than 4.4 million signatures.

As well as being a high-profile actor - appearing in successful films like the Rum Diary and The Danish Girl - Ms Heard has also been in the limelight for relationships with the likes of Tesla CEO Elon Musk.

Amber Heard hears the result of the libel case against her ex-husband Johnny Depp (image: AFP/Getty Images)

So what do we know about Amber Heard’s background?

Here’s everything you need to know.

Who is Amber Heard?

Heard is an American actress who is best known as the Atlantean queen Mera in the DC Extended Universe.

She was born in Austin, Texas, on 22 April 1986, to mother Patricia Paige (née Parsons) and David Clinton Heard (born 1950).

As a teenager, Heard dropped out of high school to instead move to Los Angeles to pursue a career in acting.

Outside of acting, Heard became a mother on 8 April 2021 when her daughter, Oonagh Paige Heard, was born via a surrogate.

On 1 July 2021, Heard shared the news on Instagram with a photo of herself and her sleeping daughter.

In the caption, she wrote: “I’m so excited to share this news with you. Four years ago, I decided I wanted to have a child. I wanted to do it on my own terms.

“I now appreciate how radical it is for us as women to think about one of the most fundamental parts of our destinies in this way. I hope we arrive at a point in which it’s normalised to not want a ring in order to have a crib.

“A part of me wants to uphold that my private life is none of anyone’s business. I also get that the nature of my job compels me to take control of this.

“My daughter was born on April 8, 2021. Her name is Oonagh Paige Heard. She’s the beginning of the rest of my life.”

What has she been in?

Heard’s first role that gained her mainstream recognition was as a supporting character in the comedy Pineapple Express with Seth Rogen (Pam & Tommy, Superbad) and James Franco (The Disaster Artist, 127 Hours) in 2008.

From there, she went on to star in The Informers, an adaptation of the Bret Easton Ellis novel of the same name, The Joneses opposite Demi Moore (G.I. Jane, Ghost) and David Duchovny (The X-Files, Californication), and appeared briefly in the Jesse Eisenberg (The Social Network, Now You See Me) zombie comedy Zombieland.

She joined the DC Extended Universe in the 2017 superhero film Justice League as Mera, a role which she reprised in 2018 in Aquaman, which starred Jason Momoa (Game of Thrones, Dune), Nicole Kidman (Roar, Nine Perfect Strangers) and Willem Dafeo (The Northman, The Lighthouse).

Heard is set to star as Mera once again in Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom, the sequel to Aquaman, which is due to be released in 2023.

Other roles you may recognise Heard from include:

  • Friday Night Lights
  • All the Boys Love Mandy Lane
  • Never Back Down
  • Drive Angry
  • The Rum Diary
  • Magic Mike XXL
  • The Danish Girl 
  • I Do… Until I Don’t
  • The Playboy Club
  • The Stand

Who has she dated?

Prior to her relationship with Depp, Heard dated photographer Tasya van Ree from 2008 to 2012. Heard officially came out publicly as bisexual in 2010.

Following her split from Depp, Heard dated Tesla CEO Elon Musk for a year until the two split in early 2018.

At the time, a source reportedly told People: “Elon decided it was time to end it and Amber agreed. They both still care deeply for each other but the timing wasn’t right.”

Speaking to the Hollywood Reporter in December 2018, Heard said: “Elon and I had a beautiful relationship, and we have a beautiful friendship now, one that was based on our core values.”

Amber Heard and Elon Musk went their separate ways in 2018 (Photo: PATRICK PLEUL/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

She listed the aforementioned “core values” as “intellectual curiosity, ideas and conversation, a shared love for science”.

“We just bonded on a lot of things that speak to who I am on the inside. I have so much respect for him,” Heard said.

She has also been romantically linked to a number of others, including Cara Delevingne (Carnival Row, Suicide Squad), director Andy Muschietti and art dealer Vito Schnabel.

Heard has most recently been linked with filmmaker Bianca Butti, whom she was seen kissing in January 2020.

A source reportedly told US in February 2020 that they were officially dating.

They said: “Amber is fine and happier than ever.

“Bianca has been very supportive of her, and Amber feels like she can trust her and be comfortable around her, especially since they were friends first.”

Amber Heard with girlfriend Bianca Butti leaving the Royal Courts of Justice, the Strand on July 28, 2020 in London, England (Photo: Stuart C. Wilson/Getty Images)

According to a report from the Mirror, Heard and Butti split up at the end of last year due difficulties coping with being long distance.

A source told the outlet: “Amber is a very busy woman being a new mother and working flat out in the UK on her latest film, while Bianca is also tied up with various projects in the US.

“With not being in the same country for months at a time and dealing with a new baby, it leaves very little time for romance, and things look like they have fizzled out between them.”

Did Amber Heard date James Franco?

While her relationship with Musk reportedly took place after her split from Depp, Depp’s lawyers have claimed that she had “two extra-marital affairs” with Musk and actor James Franco, who Heard co-starred with in the 2014 film The Adderall Diaries.

Depp’s team have called for “disclosure of all communications over a particular period in 2016” between Heard, Musk and Franco.

James Franco and Amber Heard at the premiere of The Adderall Diaries during the 2015 Tribeca Film Festival (Photo: Jemal Countess/Getty Images for the 2015 Tribeca Film Festival)

Franco was served the subpoena after surveillance footage showed, in May 2016, the actor getting into a lift with Heard, 24 hours after a fight that allegedly resulted in Depp giving her a black eye.

Franco will be questioned over his relationship with Heard, and whether they talked about the fight, or if he saw the alleged bruises on her face. Franco and Heard can be seen in the clip leaving the lift together on the penthouse floor where she and Depp had shared an apartment.

When was she married to Johnny Depp?

Depp and Heard met when they co-starred together in the 2011 film The Rum Diary, however at the time Depp was still in a relationship with French actress and singer Vanessa Paradis. 

While Depp and Paradis were never married, they had two children together - daughter Lily-Rose Melody Depp, born in 1999, and son John Christopher “Jack” Depp III, born in 2002.

After Depp and Paradis separated in 2012, he began dating Heard. The two married in February 2015, however their marriage only lasted 15 months before Heard filed for divorce in May 2016.

Amber Heard and Johnny Depp at the Black Mass screening during the BFI London Film Festival, 2015 (Photo: John Phillips/Getty Images for BFI)

From there, the two have been embroiled in a number of legal battles after Heard obtained a temporary restraining order against Depp and alleged that he had been verbal and physically abusive during their relationship.

A settlement was reached in August 2016 and their divorce finalised in January 2017.

At the time, the two released a joint statement which said: “Our relationship was intensely passionate and at times volatile, but always bound by love.

“Neither party has made false accusations for financial gain.

“There was never any intent of physical or emotional harm.”

Amber Heard and Johnny Depp at the Black Mass premiere during the 2015 Toronto International Film Festival (Photo: Jason Merritt/Getty Images)

In 2018, Depp sued News Group Newspapers, publishers of the Sun, in a libel lawsuit regarding an article published in April 2018 which called him a “wife beater”. Depp ultimately lost the lawsuit and his appeal was subsequently rejected.

In addition to suing the Sun, Depp also launched a lawsuit against Heard for defamation after she wrote an op-ed for the Washington Post in which she described herself as a victim of domestic abuse.

While she never named Depp specifically in the piece, lawyers for the Pirates of the Caribbean actor successfully argued that the article falsely implied Depp was an abuser.

Heard wrote: “Two years ago, I became a public figure representing domestic abuse, and I felt the full force of our culture’s wrath for women who speak out.”

The trial began in Fairfax County, Virginia, on 11 April 2022 and ended on 1 June 2022.

While Depp was successful on all counts of his lawsuit, Ms Heard’s counterclaim only won one out of three claims she made against Mr Depp.

It is now set to go to an appeal.

What is Amber Heard’s net worth?

If the result of the libel trial remains the same after an appeal, Ms Heard could find herself in major financial difficulties.

Some have estimated her net worth is $8 million, while others have said she’s worth a lower figure.

Given Johnny Depp would be due $8.4 million, it’s unclear how Ms Heard will be able to fully pay back the damages Mr Depp was awarded.