Depp v. Heard: 7 jurors and 4 alternates to hear $50 million defamation case

Posted at 10:22 PM, April 11, 2022 and last updated 5:40 PM, July 7, 2023

By Grace Wong

Fairfax, Va. (Court TV) — A panel of 7 jurors and 4 alternates was selected to hear the $50 million dollar defamation case that actor Johnny Depp is bringing against his ex-wife Amber Heard, who is countersuing with her own defamation claim seeking $100 million in damages.


Fans got in line as early as 5 a.m., hoping for one of the coveted seats in the courtroom, which sheriff’s deputies reserved for the first 50 people in line. Many were disappointed when the actors were escorted into the building through a secured entrance that kept fans at bay. Some were even more disappointed when they realized the passes they waited hours for only gave them access to an overflow courtroom, while the celebrities sat in another courtroom closely guarded by sheriff’s deputies while jury selection was under way.

Johnny Depp appears at the High Court in London, on July 17, 2020, left, and Amber Heard appears outside the High Court in London on July 28, 2020. Jury selection begins for the libel lawsuit filed by Depp against Heard in Virginia after The Washington Post published her opinion piece. Depp’s lawyers say the article falsely implies that she was physically and sexually abused by Depp when the actors were married. (AP Photo)

Still, Depp fans who stayed to hear prospective jurors be interviewed via a closed circuit feed were vocal in expressing their support for the movie star. One prospective juror sparked raucous laughter when he described being at a wedding with his wife when the subject of the Depp lawsuit came up. He said he thought Depp was a good actor but knew little about the case, and didn’t even know who he was suing. Fans laughed also when another male juror said his wife called Amber Heard “psychotic.”

Many in the pool from which the final panel was selected said they knew little about the case and had not formed an opinion. Depp’s lawyers sought to identify jurors who had experience with domestic abuse and/or sexual assault, and who had legal knowledge or training.

Heard’s attorneys were intent on identifying Depp fans, asking jurors how many Depp movies they had seen. Heard’s defense also explored jurors’ perceptions and beliefs surrounding domestic violence, asking questions like, “Who here believes a wife cannot be raped?” “Do victims of domestic violence always have marks?” and “Who believes that victims of domestic violence would not attempt to cover up their injuries?”

Supporters of actor Johnny Depp stand outside the Fairfax County Courthouse, Monday, April 11, 2022 in Fairfax, Va. Jury selection has begun in a long-anticipated libel lawsuit filed by Johnny Depp against his ex-wife, actress Amber Heard. ( AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana)

Elaine Charlson Bredehoft, Heard’s lead counsel also asked jurors if any of them felt uncomfortable with Heard’s bisexuality having had intimate relationships with both men and women. Heard is expected to call as witnesses, ex-boyfriend and Space-X founder Elon Musk, and ex-girlfriend Tasya Van Ree.

Those fans who are hoping to see the movie stars will get another chance at 7 a.m. Tuesday, April 12 when 100 seats become available in the courtroom. Anyone hoping to get a seat in the courtroom will have to stand in the queue for a wristband that will give them access to the day’s proceedings.

Opening statements are expected to start at 10 a.m.

For Court TV’s full coverage of Johnny Depp v. Amber Heard, visit: