Johnny Depp's libel lawsuit against ex-wife Amber Heard is now marking day 10 since the start of the trial. And it's been a rollercoaster for both the plaintiff and defendant, with plenty of onlookers leaping to the defense of one or the other.
However, some fans and trial watchers have noticed something that's frankly a little bizarre. Heard appears to be copying Depp's suits - exactly - in an echo of outfits he has recently worn. The speculation is rampant as to what - if anything - this behavior means. Fan theories suggest that Heard isn't just a bitter ex-wife, that she's obsessed, and she's playing mind games with the object of her obsession. Here's what's going on and why people think Heard is escalating her war of mind games.
Copycat: Imitation is the Sincerest Form of Flattery or Mind Games?
Given the contentious back-and-forth between Heard and Depp, it's pretty safe to say that there's no sincere flattery going on here in Heard's imitation of his outfits. So what's going on?
Well, it could be a bit of Amber-see, Amber-do. Marca writes, "One of the last public appearances in which Johnny Depp was spotted before this trial, he wore an all black shirt with a black tie and a completely gray suit. Amber Heard wore the exact same outfit on the first day of the trial. On that same day, Depp decided to wear a black Gucci bee tie, Amber Heard wore the exact same tie on the next day.
Johnny wore all black on that day and Heard wore all black on the third day of the trial. It's evident she is just leaving the trial and going to buy the exact same outfit wore, but why is she doing this? Is it to play mind games with Depp or is she just mocking him?"
Is she mocking him? It's a valid question. Critics of Heard have suggested for years that she is obsessed with him, and not in that cute, "You're the love of my life," kind of way.
According to some fans, Heard's obsession goes beyond the pale and strays into stalker/control territory, and the outfit choices during the trial are reinforcing their beliefs. According to these theories, Heard wants to isolate Depp from his sense of self-identity and make him feel as though she still has an impactful presence in his day to day life. Which, given how much she's dragged his name through the mud and messed with his career, is probably true. But an ex is usually just someone you share bad memories with, not ongoing litigations.
Heard's outfits could be reminding Depp that they're still connected - and she still has the upper hand. For now. It's important to look back at what led to this trial to form an opinion over who really has the upper hand, regardless of who believes they do.
Some experts say she's just portraying a strong and well-put-together woman but don't directly address the copycat nature of the outfits. So what's her motivation? It's anyone's guess.
The History Between Depp and Heard is Volatile
It all started (well, the public legal scrap) in 2016. Heard filed for divorce from Depp in early 2016. Their marriage lasted 15 months and Heard claimed "irreconcilable differences."
As part of the finalization of their divorce which was granted in January 2017, Depp paid Heard $7 million, which she donated to charity. With no children and less than a year and a half of marriage, that should have been the end of it. Not even close, though.
In 2018, Heard published an op-ed with the Washington Post. In it, she claimed to be the victim of domestic violence and that speaking out about her experiences caused Hollywood and the public to blacklist and punish her. While Heard didn't directly mention Depp's name, she was less than a year from the end of what she admits was a contentious marriage that ended abruptly in divorce.
It was to this op-ed that Depp took exception and filed a $50M lawsuit for defamation against Heard. ET writes, "In the suit, Depp claims that Heard's allegations of abuse against him were an 'elaborate hoax.' Depp alleges the op-ed caused damage to his career. He says he was dropped from Disney's Pirates of the Caribbean franchise four days after the op-ed was published.
Though Heard never mentioned Depp by name in the article, the suit claims that the piece 'depends on the central premise that Ms. Heard was a domestic abuse victim and that Mr. Depp perpetrated domestic violence against her.' While Depp originally filed in 2019, the subsequent coronavirus pandemic pushed the case back significantly."
The trial has been a bitte back and forth between the pair to try to prove the other a villain. In this situation it seems less like there's two bad guys, and more like there's a bad guy - and a liar. But who's telling the truth? Fans of Depp will say that she put him through horrifying abuse, and we do know that she may or may not have severed his fingertipD in an altercation.
But fans of Heard claim that Depp put her through emotional, psychological and even sexual abuse.
As for trial witnesses, both friends and family have testified in defense of Depp and claim he has never been abusive - but do admit that he struggled with substance abuse, and one friend admitted that he received disturbing texts from Depp in 2016 that he hoped his wife's "rotting corpse is decomposing in the f--king trunk of a Honda Civic," per ET.
A former assistant for Heard claims that her former boss was verbally abusive towards employees, and that she never witnessed any abuse from Depp towards Heard. Kate James, the former assistant, had a lot to say, per ET, "James claims that Heard was a 'dramatic' person in general, and had seen the actress fly into a 'blind rage.' In contrast, she described Depp, upon her first meeting him, as 'shy, peaceful, quiet' and said he behaved like 'a total Southern Gentleman.'
James further alleged that Heard once spit in her face while discussing the possibility of a raise, and claimed that Heard would have something akin to 'manic episodes,' allegedly calling James and texting incoherently at odd hours of the night. James claimed that Heard treated her own sister 'like a dog that you kicked,' and said she was once told by Heard's mother that she was 'terrified' of her daughter."
Who's Going to Win the Trial?
When Depp took the stand, he admitted to surprise that things ended the way they did. Depp claims nothing of what he is accused of actually occurred and that while their marriage was volatile, he never abused her.
Depp describes what it feels like for the world to suddenly turn you into the villain, recalling how public opinion turned against him after Heard's op-ed. He describes what it feels like to go from "Cinderella" to "Quasimodo."
Watching the couple's volatile disagreements analyzed in minutiae on the public stage is grueling and difficult to see even from a distance.
So far, the evidence has been mostly in Depp's favor; but then, he's trying to prove his character to show that what she wrote did in fact damage his career, not his own actions.
It's a remarkable situation that's ridden a rollercoaster of ups and downs. In the beginning, the public seemed willing to take Heard's claims at face value and throw Depp under the bus. He lost contracts with Disney and found himself persona non grata, because the #MeToo movement was still in full swing and she harnessed that momentum to tell what she claims is her true story.
But eventually, more details came out about their volatile relationship and it would seem that not only was Depp not the only abuser, he may have been the victim and engaging in what's known as "reactive abuse," which is when someone acts violently or abusively against someone who has abused them first. While that seems to be the prevailing opinion now - it's worth noting that just two years ago, the prevailing opinion was the exact opposite.
Who the trial will come down in favor of is anyone's guess at this point. There's still a lot of evidence to go through and Heard will have her say; but ultimately, public opinion is already being formed. Whoever comes out legally on top, everyone knows who they believe was in the right and who they believe was in the wrong.