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Johnny Depp’s Defamation Case Against Amber Heard Has Been Delayed, But Not Why You’d Think

By Dirk Libbey

The ongoing legal battles between Amber Heard and Johnny Depp are going to continue to be ongoing for the foreseeable future. This is because the second civil trial involving the two, this one a case of defamation brought by Depp against Heard, has been delayed and now won’t begin before May 2021. Johnny Depp had asked for a delay in the trial, as the current date was set to conflict with him reprising his role in the Fantastic Beasts franchise, however, that was not the reason the delay was given. It was just another good, old-fashioned COVID-19 delay.

Jury trials have not yet been given the go-ahead in the state of Virginia, and as such, Circuit Court Chief Judge Bruce White made the decision to push the trial back from its previously set January start date to May 3, 2021. However, even that date is far from set in stone. Since criminal trials are going to be given priority once jury trials do resume, the backlog of cases could end up forcing additional delays.

The delay is perfect for Johnny Depp. as he had asked for a delay in the case that would see it start between March and June because the January date was going to conflict with Depp’s need to be on set to film Fantastic Beasts 3 in the U.K. Depp is expected to start filming the movie in the next few days and to be working until February.

Amber Heard’s side had argued against the trial delay that Johnny Depp wanted because doing so would put the trial up against her own blockbuster movie responsibilities for Aquaman 2. Heard said that movie was expected to begin filming in February, but according to Deadline, shooting dates for Aquaman 2 are not currently set, but it is expected to begin shooting in the spring, so the new May date could potentially cause a problem for Heard depending on how things shake out. If it looks like the case is going to go ahead in May, we could still see a delay, or at least a request for one, if the trial ends up conflicting with the Aquaman sequel.

The defamation case brought by Johnny Depp focuses on an op-ed written by Amber heard for the Washing ton Post in December 2018. Heard wrote about suffering from domestic violence, and while she never mentions her abuser by name in the piece, Johnny Depp says that it was due to the story that he lost out on future Pirates of the Caribbean film projects.

This case follows a libel case recently heard in the U.K against The Sun newspaper brought by Depp. That case has concluded but the parties are waiting to hear the outcome.

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