Amber Heard and Johnny Depp settle after a leaked video and gory photos.

Amber Heard and Johnny Depp Settle Their Case After a Disturbing Leaked Video and Gory Photos

Amber Heard and Johnny Depp Settle Their Case After a Disturbing Leaked Video and Gory Photos

The XX Factor
What Women Really Think
Aug. 16 2016 12:28 PM

Amber Heard and Johnny Depp Settle Their Case After a Disturbing Leaked Video and Gory Photos

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Johnny Depp and Amber Heard at the Los Angeles premiere of The Danish Girlon November 21, 2015.

Valerie Macon/AFP/Getty Images

Amber Heard and Johnny Depp have settled their court dispute, and Heard has dismissed her petition for a domestic violence restraining order, according to TMZ. Heard was granted a temporary restraining order in May after she appeared in court for the couple’s divorce proceedings with bruises on her face, allegedly inflicted by Depp in what she says was the latest incident of a years-long pattern of abuse.

Christina Cauterucci Christina Cauterucci

Christina Cauterucci is a Slate staff writer.

The two released a joint post-settlement statement calling their relationship “intensely passionate and at times volatile, but always bound by love.” Heard will walk away with $7 million, TMZ reported on Tuesday.

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This news comes on the heels of two bizarre new developments in the Heard-Depp case. Settlement aside, if Heard’s abuse allegations against Depp have seemed far-fetched to some fans of his whimsical filmography, this might be the week they change their minds. A newly leaked video of Depp in a violent outburst and a gruesome new story with photos to back it up are bound to chip away at the goodwill he’s built among the general public over the past decades.

On Friday, TMZ published a video recorded by Heard (though she says she’s not the one who leaked it) that shows Depp slamming around a kitchen, screaming, and calling Heard crazy. He appears to throw and shatter a glass and wine bottle, then grabs her phone and chases after her when he realizes she’s filming him.

Then, on Monday, TMZ reported that, according to Heard, Depp once smashed several bottles, windows, and a plastic phone, cutting off the tip of his finger in the process. This allegedly happened last March, when Depp accused Heard of sleeping with Billy Bob Thornton, her co-star in 2009’s The Informers. Heard says Depp then dipped his bloody, partially severed finger in paint and scribbled on a mirror the words “starring Billy Bob” and “easy Amber.” (There’s a gory photo of the finger, the mirror, and Depp’s later-healed hand here.) The whole thing is like something out of a sick horror film; it would seem almost too grisly to be true if it weren’t for the photos and the unsettling wine-bottle video.

When Heard’s abuse allegations first came out, TMZ was noticeably skeptical. That was a red flag for those who know the outlet as notoriously unwilling to kiss up for access and that’s often right about breaking news. Early posts about the couple’s impending split implied that Heard was heartless to file for divorce so soon after Depp’s mother died. “As if that's not enough, Johnny's new movie, Alice Through the Looking Glass, opens Friday,” the post read.

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Once Heard spoke out about Depp’s alleged domestic abuse, TMZ doubled down on its disbelief. “It's interesting—she's asking for a temporary restraining order claiming there's an immediate threat of harm, but Depp has been out of town since Wednesday promoting his new movie,” TMZ staff wrote, dripping with shade, after photos of Heard’s facial bruises came out. “One week after his mom died, she's claiming domestic violence.” In part to combat accusations that she was making up her stories of abuse to get Depp’s money, Heard withdrew her request for temporary spousal support in June and is now focused on getting a domestic violence restraining order against him.

But in its latest posts about the Heard-Depp saga, TMZ still hadn’t changed its tone. “It's certainly weird the [bottle-throwing] video surfaced last night,” the site’s staff wrote, noting rumors that the two were close to a settlement. Its post on the video mentions hearing from anonymous sources that it was “a complete set-up by Amber” and “heavily edited” to remove parts where she was smiling.

The world’s most generous interpretation of the video can’t cover up the fact that it’s disturbing to watch and listen to. Depp’s anger is frightening and destructive; it should convince some of Heard’s doubters that Depp does indeed have the capacity for violent rages. “Johnny has a long-held and widely-acknowledged public and private history of drug and alcohol abuse,” Heard said in an early court filing. “He has a short fuse. He is often paranoid and his temper is extremely scary for me as it has proven many times to be physically dangerous and/or life-threatening to me.” Whether or not it was edited, the content of the video clearly reveals how out-of-control Depp’s temper can be.

Even so, in its announcement of the Heard-Depp settlement, TMZ couldn’t resist a few last pokes at Heard:

The statement goes on: “Neither party has made false accusations for financial gains.” That's an interesting sentence, because it does not say neither party has made false statements. … And it ends this way: “Amber wishes the best for Johnny in the future. Amber will be donating financial proceeds from the divorce to a charity.” She does not specify what percentage and which charity.

The site was far more generous to Depp, reporting the statement’s claim that “there was never an intent of physical or emotional harm” with zero commentary. An interesting sentence, I’d say, since it doesn’t say no physical or emotional harm came to pass.