Entertainment

Celebrities to testify as Johnny Depp and Amber Heard continue US legal battle

James Franco, Paul Bettany and Elon Musk feature on witness lists alongside representatives of the Walt Disney Company, Warner Bros and the LAPD.

Several high-profile celebrities are set to give testimony in a US courtroom next month during a multi-million dollar lawsuit between Johnny Depp and ex-wife Amber Heard.

James Franco, Paul Bettany and Elon Musk feature on witness lists alongside representatives of the Walt Disney Company, Warner Bros and the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD).

Hollywood heavyweight Depp launched a 50-million-dollar (£39-million) defamation lawsuit against Heard in 2019, after the Aquaman star wrote an op-ed in the Washington Post in December 2018, describing herself as a victim of domestic abuse.

BMW i3 launch party – London
Actor James Franco is included on a list of witness for the trial which is scheduled for April 11 2022 in Virginia (Ian West/PA)

The trial is set to begin on April 11 at the Fairfax County courthouse, in Virginia.

Both Depp and Heard are set to give in person testimony, though Avengers star Bettany, Franco and Tesla founder Musk will do so virtually, according to documents filed on March 14 and 15.

Depp and Heard started dating after meeting on the set of 2011 film The Rum Diary. They married in Los Angeles in February 2015.

In May 2016 Heard obtained a restraining order against Depp after accusing him of abuse, which he denied.

Elon Musk-SEC
Tesla founder Elon Musk is also set to give testimony virtually at the trial (Susan Walsh/AP)

The couple settled their divorce out of court in 2017, with Heard donating her 7 million dollar (£5.5 million) settlement to charity.

The pair also met in the Royal Courts Of Justice in London in 2020 after Depp brought a libel against the publisher of The Sun for referring to him as a “wife-beater”.

Following a three-week trial a judge found that the column, written in April 2018, was “substantially true”.

The actor asked the Court of Appeal to grant permission for him to challenge the ruling, with the aim of having its findings overturned and a retrial ordered, but the appeal was denied in March last year.

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