|Amber Laura Heard
|Austin, Texas, U.S.
Amber Laura Heard (born April 22, 1986) is an American actress known for her roles in the films Never Back Down (2008), Drive Angry (2011), The Rum Diary (2011), and playing Mera in Aquaman (2018) and its upcoming 2023 sequel in the DC Extended Universe (DCEU). She is a spokesperson for L’Oréal Paris and a human rights activist.
Heard was married to actor Johnny Depp from 2015 to 2017. Their divorce drew media attention when Heard alleged that Depp had been abusive throughout their relationship. In 2018, Depp sued the publishers of British tabloid The Sun for libel, accusing Heard of abuse. In 2020, the presiding judge found that the printed article, which alleged that Depp had abused Heard, was “substantially true”. In early 2019, Depp sued Heard for defamation over an op-ed she had written on sexual and domestic abuse in The Washington Post. In 2020, Heard filed a countersuit against Depp. The trial Depp v. Heard began in Virginia in April 2022.
Amber Heard Biography
Amber Laura Heard
April 22, 1986
Austin, Texas, U.S.
Johnny Depp (m. 2015; div. 2017)
|Tasya van Ree (2008–2012)
Table of Contents
Early life (Amber Heard Biography)
Heard was born in Austin, Texas, to Patricia Paige (née Parsons), an internet researcher (1956–2020), and David Clinton Heard (born 1950), who owned a small construction company. She has a younger sister, Whitney. The family lived outside Austin. Heard’s father trained horses in his free time, and she grew up riding horses, hunting, and fishing with him. She also participated in beauty pageants, although as an adult she has said that she could no longer “support the objectification”. Heard was raised as Catholic but began identifying as an atheist at sixteen after her best friend died in a car crash. The following year, Heard said she no longer felt comfortable in “conservative, God-fearin’ Texas” and dropped out of her Catholic high school to pursue an acting career in Los Angeles. She eventually earned a diploma through a home-study course.
Career (Amber Heard Biography)
2003–2007: Early roles
Heard’s earliest acting work included appearances in two music videos, Kenny Chesney’s “There Goes My Life” and Eisley’s “I Wasn’t Prepared”, and small supporting roles in the television series Jack & Bobby (2004), The Mountain (2004), and The O.C. (2005). She made her film debut in a minor role in the sports drama Friday Night Lights (2004), followed by brief supporting roles in films Drop Dead Sexy (2005), North Country (2005), Side FX (2005), Price to Pay (2006), Alpha Dog (2006), and Spin (2007), and a guest-starring spot in an episode of the police procedural crime drama television series Criminal Minds. Heard received her first leading role in the unconventional slasher film All the Boys Love Mandy Lane, which premiered at the 2006 Toronto International Film Festival, but was not released in Europe until 2008 and in the US until 2013 due to distribution problems.
In 2007, Heard played the main character’s love interest in The CW’s teen drama Hidden Palms, which the network aired to replace summer reruns of other series aimed at teenage audiences. The series premiered in the US in May 2007 to mixed reviews and poor ratings, leading the CW to air only eight of the planned 12 episodes before canceling it. The same year, Heard also appeared in the short movie Day 73 with Sarah, in the teen drama Remember the Daze, and in an episode of the Showtime series Californication.
2008–2016: Mainstream recognition
Heard gained mainstream recognition in 2008 with supporting roles in the Judd Apatow-produced stoner comedy Pineapple Express and the martial arts drama Never Back Down, both of which were box office successes. She also appeared as part of an ensemble cast in an adaptation of Bret Easton Ellis’s novel The Informers (2008), but the film was a critical failure. The following year, Heard starred in The Joneses (2009) opposite David Duchovny and Demi Moore; Variety wrote that Heard “more or less steals the show” from Moore. Outside a brief appearance in the box office hit Zombieland (2009), Heard’s other films during this time were either independent films that received only limited theatrical release – ExTerminators (2009), The River Why (2010), And Soon the Darkness (2010) – or critically panned horror films – The Stepfather (2009), The Ward.
Heard’s first film release in 2011 was Drive Angry, a supernatural action thriller in which she was paired with Nicolas Cage. The film received mainly bad reviews and underperformed commercially, but film critic Roger Ebert wrote that she “does everything that can possibly be done” with her character, a waitress who becomes entangled in an undead man’s mission to save his daughter from a cult. In early 2011, Heard also appeared on the British television program Top Gear. Heard next starred in NBC’s The Playboy Club, a crime drama series about the original Playboy Club in 1960s Chicago. After poor reviews, ratings, and protests from feminists and conservative groups, the series was canceled after only three episodes had aired. Heard’s third role in 2011 was as the love interest of the main character, played by Johnny Depp, in the Hunter S. Thompson adaptation The Rum Diary (2011). The film was not a commercial success and received mixed reviews. Heard’s part was said to be underdeveloped. In 2011, Heard appeared in an advertisement campaign for the fashion brand Guess.
2017–present: DC Extended Universe and other projects
In 2017, Heard appeared as part of an ensemble cast in Lake Bell’s indie comedy I Do… Until I Don’t and joined the DC Extended Universe (DCEU) cast as Mera (a princess of an Atlantean kingdom) in the superhero film Justice League. She reprised the role the following year in Aquaman (2018), which co-starred Jason Momoa, Nicole Kidman, and Willem Dafoe and marked Heard’s first major role in a studio film. She has stated that one of the reasons attracting her to the part was Mera being “a strong, independent, self-possessed superhero in her own right”, who rejects being called Aquawoman instead of by her own name. Aquaman became the fifth most profitable release of 2018 and the most profitable DCEU installment up to that point. The same year, Heard was appointed global ambassador for cosmetics giant L’Oréal Paris.
In 2019, Heard had supporting roles in the independent dramas Her Smell, opposite Elisabeth Moss, and Gully. Her only project released in 2020 was the post-apocalyptic miniseries The Stand, based on Stephen King’s novel of the same name. She starred as Nadine Cross, a school teacher who is among the few survivors of an apocalyptic plague. It co-starred James Marsden, Odessa Young, Alexander Skarsgård, and Henry Zaga, and premiered on CBS All Access in December 2020, with the series finale airing in February 2021. In 2021, Heard reprised her role as Mera in the superhero film Zack Snyder’s Justice League, a director’s cut of the 2017 film, and shot new scenes written by Snyder for the epilogue of the film. She will next appear in Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom, the sequel to Aquaman, which is set for release in 2023. In February 2022, it was announced that Heard has also been cast in Conor Allyn’s forthcoming period drama, In the Fire.
Charity and activism (Amber Heard Biography)
In August 2016, Heard pledged to donate her $7 million divorce settlement with Johnny Depp to the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and the Children’s Hospital Los Angeles (CHLA) saying, “As described in the restraining order and divorce settlement, money played no role for me personally and never has, except to the extent that I could donate it to charity and, in doing so, hopefully, help those less able to defend themselves”.
In November 2016 Heard was filmed for a public service announcement on domestic violence for the #GirlGaze Project and wrote on the subject both in a letter published in the December 2016 issue of Porter magazine and in the contested op-ed for The Washington Post in December 2018.
In a December 2021 testimony used in evidence in the Depp v. Heard trial in 2022, the ACLU’s chief operating officer testified that the organization expected the pledged money to come in over a 10-year period, but that Heard had made no contributions since 2018. To that time the ACLU had received a total of $1.3 million between 2016 and 2018, of which $350,000 was directly from Heard, $500,000 from a donor advised fund believed to be of Elon Musk, whom Heard was dating at the time, $350,000 from another donor advised fund and $100,000 directly from Depp as part of the settlement. In 2018 Heard accepted an invitation to become an ACLU ambassador on women’s rights. In 2019 the ACLU learned that Heard was “having financial problems and could not fulfill the remainder of the pledge”. According to Heard, she had been delayed in making further payments due to Depp’s lawsuit against her which, in May 2022, Heard testified had cost her more than $6 million in legal fees. She also testified that the donation by Musk on her behalf did not count towards the final $3.5 million that she pledged to donate.
Heard is a Human Rights Champion for the Stand Up for Human Rights campaign by the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights. In May 2019, she gave a speech in support of the SHIELD Act on Capitol Hill, discussing her experience of having had her private nude photos hacked and distributed online without her consent during the 2014 celebrity nude photo leak. In November 2019, Heard wrote an op-ed in The New York Times on revenge porn.
Prior to the 2020 United States presidential election, Heard appeared in an election ad created by artist Marilyn Minter in support of Planned Parenthood. In September 2020, she used her social media presence to participate in the VoteRiders #IDCheck Challenge to help spread the word about voter ID requirements for the upcoming presidential election.
Personal life (Amber Heard Biography)
Heard publicly came out in 2010, but has stated, “I don’t label myself one way or another – I have had successful relationships with men and now a woman. I love who I love; it’s the person that matters”.
Heard was in a relationship with photographer Tasya van Ree from 2008 to 2012. Heard had her last name legally changed to van Ree during the relationship and reverted to her birth name in 2014. In 2009, Heard was arrested in Washington state for misdemeanor domestic violence, after allegedly grabbing van Ree and hitting her arm, but was never charged. The arrest was made public during Heard’s divorce proceedings from actor Johnny Depp in 2016, after which a statement was issued by Heard’s publicist in which van Ree said that Heard had been “wrongfully” accused, that the incident had been “misinterpreted and over-sensationalized” and that she recalled “hints of misogynistic attitudes toward us which later appeared to be homophobic when they found out we were domestic partners and not just ‘friends’.” The female officer that conducted the arrest is openly a lesbian herself.
Relationship with Johnny Depp
Amber Heard met actor Johnny Depp in 2009 in connection to the filming of The Rum Diary. They began dating in 2011 and were married in a civil ceremony in February 2015.
In April 2015, Heard breached Australia’s biosecurity laws when she failed to declare in customs the two dogs accompanying the couple when they flew into Queensland, where Depp was working on a film. In the court case in April 2016, Heard pleaded guilty to falsifying quarantine documents, stating that she had made a mistake due to sleep deprivation. While criminal charges were dropped, Heard was placed on a A$1,000 (US$715) one-month good behavior bond for producing a false document; Heard and Depp released a video apologizing for their behavior and urging others to adhere to biosecurity laws. The Guardian called the case the “highest profile criminal quarantine case” in Australian history. In 2021, Australian officials said they were investigating allegations of perjury against Heard in relation to the incident in cooperation with the FBI.
Heard filed for divorce from Depp in May 2016 and obtained a temporary restraining order against him, alleging in her court declaration that he had been verbally and physically abusive throughout their relationship, usually while under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Depp claimed that Heard was “attempting to secure a premature financial resolution”. A ruling on the scale of the settlement was achieved in August 2016, and Heard pledged to donate the proceeds equally between the ACLU and the Children’s Hospital Los Angeles. Heard dismissed the restraining order, and they issued a joint statement saying that their “relationship was intensely passionate and at times volatile, but always bound by love. Neither party has made false accusations for financial gain. There was never any intent of physical or emotional harm”. The final terms of the settlement were agreed upon in January 2017 with Depp being required to complete the payment of $7 million to Heard over the course of the year. In January 2021, Heard’s legal team responded to claims that the full settlement had not yet been donated to say that she had been “delayed in that goal because Mr. Depp filed a lawsuit against her”.
In early 2019, Depp sued Heard for defamation over a December dated op-ed on sexual violence for The Washington Post in which she stated, “Then two years ago, I became a public figure representing domestic abuse, and I felt the full force of our culture’s wrath for women who speak out.” Depp also alleged that Heard had been the one who abused him and that her allegations constituted a hoax against him. In August 2020, Heard counter-sued Depp, alleging that he had coordinated “a harassment campaign via Twitter and [by] orchestrating online petitions in an effort to get her fired from Aquaman and L’Oréal”. The trial in Depp v. Heard started in Fairfax County, Virginia on April 11, 2022.
Filmography (Amber Heard Biography)
|Denotes works that have not yet been released
|Friday Night Lights
|Drop Dead Sexy
|Young Josey Aimes
|Price to Pay
|All the Boys Love Mandy Lane
|Day 73 with Sarah
|Remember the Daze
|Never Back Down
|And Soon the Darkness
|The River Why
|The Rum Diary
|Also executive producer
|Miss San Antonio
|3 Days to Kill
|Agent Vivi Delay
|The Adderall Diaries
|One More Time
|Magic Mike XXL
|The Danish Girl
|I Do… Until I Don’t
|Zelda E. Zekiel
|Filmed in 2013
|Zack Snyder’s Justice League
|Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom
|Jack & Bobby
|Episode: “A Piece of the Rock”
|Episode: “Somebody’s Watching”
|Episode: “California Son”
|The Cleveland Show
|Episode: “Beer Walk!”
|Episode: “Episode #16.5”
|The Playboy Club
|Episode: “In Too Depp”
|“There Goes My Life”
|“I Wasn’t Prepared” (Version 1)
Awards and nominations (Amber Heard Biography)
|Young Hollywood Awards
|Breakthrough of the Year
|Detroit Film Critics Society Awards
|Dallas International Film Festival
|Dallas Star Award
|Hollywood Film Festival
|The Rum Diary
|Texas Film Hall of Fame
|Golden Raspberry Awards
|MTV Movie & TV Awards
|Best Supporting Actress
|Teen Choice Awards
|Choice Sci-Fi/Fantasy Movie Actress