As Johnny Depp’s defamation lawsuit against Amber Heard plays out in a Virginia court, fans have been searching the internet for evidence of their own.
The current lawsuit is just one chapter of several legal battles involving Heard’s allegations of abuse against Depp.
The claims first made their way into the public eye after Heard was granted a restraining order against her then-husband, claiming she had been left bruised after an assault.
However, after the restraining order was granted, Heard reportedly reached out to Depp.
Amber Heard and Johnny Depp were heard speaking after the restraining order was granted in recorded audio.
Audio recorded by Heard, which was included in a Discovery + documentary about the allegations, gives an insight into the interaction in a San Francisco hotel room.
Heard pleads with Depp, “Do you want to be with me ever again?” and “I feel like I’m going to die without you. What if I die without you? ”
The recording shows that both Heard and Depp willingly broke the rules of the restraining order that declared Depp was not allowed to be within 100 yards of his estranged wife.
Depp addressed the audio in his own recent testimony, explaining that he was in the city while touring with his band when Heard requested they meet.
Over the course of the audio, Heard asks Depp if he loves her and seemsingly tries to get him to hug her.
At this point, Depp appears to reject her advances and asks, “Really, after all the sh-t you just said?”
Johnny Depp addressed the meeting in his recent testimony.
“I was quite confused as to why I had been summoned to her at that point since all the news was just about the fact that I had allegedly done all these horrible things to her,” Depp said of the interaction.
So I was talked into going there and met with her in hopes that she would retract her lies that the world was now fed. In no way she was ready to do that, and I couldn’t understand why I was there – everything had been taken from me, my children couldn’t escape the fact that all this had gone down. “
By the end of the recording, Depp is heard trying to end the encounter telling his ex, “Get out.”
After Heard agrees to leave, Depp also tells her, “You’re a leftover, f *** ing, over-the-hill stripper and that’s all you’ll ever be.”
Johnny Depp’s supporters consider the evidence ‘proof’ that Amber Heard’s allegations are untrue.
Those who are in favor of Depp’s narrative of events say that the fact that she was recording means that she was trying to catch him doing or saying something that would make him look bad.
Others might point out that it’s unfortunately common for victims of abuse to return to their abusers.
As Jane Clayborne, director of community relations at The James House shelter for victims of domestic violence puts it, “On average, it takes a woman 7 attempts to leave an abusive relationship for good.”
It’s a common trope for a reason, there are a few powerful reasons why a victim might go back to their abuser.
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One major reason why a victim might return is unequal power, where their abuser fosters a sense that the victim needs to return and deserves no different than the life that they already had.
Another reason why a victim might return is, simply, hope, hope that things might change and that their abuser might change their ways. Hope that they might become a “normal” couple.
As the case continues to play out and each side gets further entrenched in their beliefs by the evidence presented, the trial will be decided twice, once in the civil court and once in the court of public opinion.
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Dan O’Reilly is a writer who covers news, politics, and social justice. Follow him on Twitter.