Well now Frankie and Johnny were sweethearts
They were true as a blue blue sky–The Ballad of Frankie and Johnny, Sammy Cahn and Johnny Green
Apparently, Amber Heard and Johnny Depp met during the filming of The Rum Diary, a movie based on the Hunter S. Thompson book of the same name. Depp was, it appears, fascinated with Thompson and had been ever since his encounter with the author in the late 1990s during the filming of Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas. Big surprise–as it turned out–given Thompson’s widely-known drug use, mental instability, and misogyny.
Thompson’s son, in his memoir, Stories I tell Myself: Growing Up with Hunter S. Thompson, wrote about his mother
[Thompson] didn’t care what she was trying to say, he cared about breaking her,
and recalled his father’s
deliberate distortions and carefully chosen words that would inflict maximum hurt.
Ultimately, Juan Thompson distanced himself from his father, writing that
Whatever my father’s greater virtues were as a writer, a warrior, and a wise man – in his daily life he was a basket case, or in the vocabulary of the time: dysfunctional.
Yeah. Hunter S. Thompson–a dysfunctional and abusive alcoholic and clearly a very troubled soul–shot himself at the age of 67 in his “fortified compound” of Owl Farm, Colorado on February 20, 2005. His second wife, Anita, was on the phone with him at the time. (I don’t have to imagine what that was like. I lived a terrifying afternoon when I believed the very drunk and dysfunctional person on the other end of the phone might do exactly the same thing. As it turned out, his sense of self-preservation must have been stronger than Thompson’s, and he–thankfully–remains with us today.)
I can’t and won’t speak to the truth (or otherwise) of the revelations that Depp has made about his childhood on the witness stand in the last several days. They’re horrifying. And it will be up to the jury to decide 1) if they’re true and 2) if they’re relevant. I’ll say only that–many years ago, when Johnny Depp made interesting movies and seemed inclined to spend at least part of his career on films that were family-appropriate–I had a bit of a thing for him. That affection faded slowly as his films got rather more bizarre, as his life seemed to disintegrate, and as his personal presentation became filthier (in a material, not a sexual) sense and ever-more unattractive.
Until we’ve reached the point we are today.
I know very little about Amber Heard. I don’t think I’ve seen a single movie she’s been in. Like the poor-man’s Kardashian, she seems to be famous for being famous, and most recently, for being famous for being Mrs. Johnny Depp. So most of my (relatively little) knowledge of the woman stems from her relationship with Johnny Depp and a brief 2015 frisson of public interest when the two of them lied about bringing their dogs into Australia when they should have been quarantined (the dogs, not–at least in this case–the Depps.)
Slightly more than a year after they were married in February 2015 (which marriage occurred about three years after they’d started “dating”), Heard filed for divorce. And the games began! Allegations of verbal and physical abuse. Stories of financial manipulation. And an eventual resolution a couple of years later in which Depp paid Heard several millions of dollars that she pledged to donate to civil liberties and children’s health organizations.** Shortly thereafter, the couple issued a joint statement that:
[their] relationship was intensely passionate and at times volatile, but always bound by love.
So. Here we are at the trial, which was precipitated by Heard’s op-ed piece in The Washington Post in December of 2018 in which she claimed to be a victim of domestic violence. Depp is suing her for $50 million, citing the loss of career opportunities, and Heard has countersued, claiming that he’d orchestrated a harassment campaign on Twitter and that he’s ruined her own career.
And so (agiain), here we are. A news story that I’m not actively following, but which keeps thrusting itself into my consciousness, to wit:
- Ugly revelations about Depp’s childhood.
- Apparently well-documented stories of Depp’s sexual abuse of Heard with a liquor bottle
- Stories of Heard’s chasing Depp around to escalate volatile situations
- Who hit whom? He swears he’s never hit her. She claims to have hit him only in self-defense.
- “Who crapped in the bed?” Apparently one of the humans. It seems that the geometricians evaluated the dimensions of the product and dismissed the idea that it could be from either of the couple’s seven-pound Yorkshire Terriers. (Hafta say, as a farm girl, that I don’t find this sort of examination as appalling as some of you might. Sometimes, the origins of the malfeasance, and the identity of the malefactor, is important. But–of course–I’m talking dogs vice cats, vice sheep, goats, or rabbits. Because, in my world, humans don’t–for the very most part–crap in the bed themselves.) The idea that it must have been Johnny or Amber actually does disgust, whichever one of them it was.
- The severed finger. Lord. He claims it was severed as the result of a well-aimed vodka bottle she chucked at him. (Quite a throw! Sign her up for the major leagues!) She claims he chopped it off himself in some sort of revenge ploy. (Texts from Depp himself seem to support this second assertion.)
- General ugliness all round. Depp’s texts shouting “Let’s burn Amber!” and claiming he would “fuck [Heard’s] burnt corpse to make sure she is dead.” Heard’s apparent lies about which particular makeup brand she used to cover up evidence of Depp’s punches to her face.
Can we simply agree that these two supremely unpleasant people deserve each other? That this trial–whatever it is about–isn’t about the patriarchy, or feminism, or the rise or fall of Western Civilization?
And, when the jury reaches its verdict, and after the inevitable rounds of virtue signaling from the winners, and hysterical predictions of impending armageddon from the losers, can we consign the whole bloody thing to the ash-heap of history where it belongs, forget about it, and just move on?
**Not sure of the status of these donations today. At some point, I think I read that Ms. Heard’s attorneys were claiming that she’d been unable to donate the monies because she was using them up on attorney fees to fight Mr. Depp’s subsequent allegations. Hmm.