Elon Musk and James Franco to Testify for Amber Heard in Johnny Depp Trial
The upcoming trial for Johnny Depp's defamation lawsuit against his ex-wife Amber Heard will be a star-studded event, now featuring actor James Franco and billionaire Elon Musk. On Monday, reporters from Deadline learned that Franco and Musk have been scheduled to testify on Heard's behalf in the upcoming trial. It will take place on Monday, April 11.
Depp is still suing Heard over an op-ed she wrote for The Washington Post in 2018 where she described herself as a survivor of domestic violence. The trial has been postponed numerous times since Depp filed the suit in March of 2019, but now it is finally moving forward. Depp has previously lost a libel lawsuit against the British tabloid The Sun which is related to this case, as The Sun referred to Depp as a "wife-beater." A U.K. court deemed this description to be "substantially true" and later denied Depp's attempts to overturn the decision.
This lawsuit between the ex-spouses was filed in Virginia. Heard first accused Depp of domestic abuse in 2016 when they split up, and Depp denied the allegations. She did not call Depp by name in her 2018 op-ed, which may complicate the actor's case. Heard has asked Depp to drop this lawsuit and has made a legal plea to have it dismissed, but a Virginia judge ruled that it could go on as planned back in August.
Heard has reportedly asked Franco and Musk to testify for her in the lawsuit, and both have agreed. Heard dated Musk after her split from Depp, though Depp later claimed that she had an extra-marital affair with him for most of their marriage. Meanwhile, Heard argues that Franco's testimony will be relevant to the case because she confided in him about her marriage to Depp while they were working together in those years.
Franco and Musk will attend the trial virtually and testify via video chat. Depp has reportedly secured actor Paul Bettany to testify as well. Screenshots of text messages between Depp and Bettany were used in the previous trial, so this connection makes sense. Actress Ellen Barkin will testify for Heard along with the others.
Testimony aside, the trial will include a peek at some A-list text message transcripts. The evidence folders reportedly include texts between Heard, Jason Momoa and Aquaman director James Wan; Heard, Momoa and Justice League director Zack Snyder; and texts between Depp and author J.K. Rowling.
For those catching up, Depp and Heard began dating in 2011 after filming The Rum Diary together. When they broke up in May of 2016, Heard sought a restraining order against Depp on the grounds that he had physically abused her. Eventually, the couple settled their divorce out of court, and Heard claimed she donated her $7 million from the settlement to charity. The lawsuits have been slow but continuous ever since.