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Celeb trial

The blockbuster court case with no winners

A severed finger. A turd in the bed. Alpacas at the courthouse. “If you want to know what mutually assured destruction looks like,” says Robin Abcarian in the Los Angeles Times, “check out the spectacle of Johnny Depp vs. Amber Heard.” The two actors, who were married from 2015 to 2017, are embroiled in a bitter court battle in Virginia – Depp, 58, is suing Heard, 36, for $50m over a newspaper article she wrote in which, without mentioning him by name, she claimed she was a victim of domestic abuse. Heard is countersuing for $100m. Testimony so far points to a “doomed”, destructive marriage: Depp claims that Heard once threw a vodka bottle at him, which shattered, with the broken glass severing a chunk of his finger. Heard has accused Depp of multiple assaults, both physical and sexual.

The daily livestreams from the courtroom have turned the hearing into a sordid spectacle worthy of Netflix, says Phoebe Luckhurst in the Evening Standard. Each “episode” adds new, gruesome twists, including Depp’s allegation that Heard once defecated on his side of their bed. While testifying, the actor puts on his best “Southern gentleman” act, almost like an “audition piece” to break back into Hollywood. Each day viewers “take to Twitter” to live-blog hot takes as if it’s reality TV. “One current theory reads that Heard is dressing like Depp to try and freak him out.” But “scripted trash lands better than watching these two trash each other” – I’d rather look away.

🦙💄 People are queuing outside the courtroom from the early hours to receive one of the 100 “highly coveted” public spectator wristbands, says Meredith Clark in The Independent. One Depp fan “brings alpacas to the courthouse in hopes of raising the actor’s spirits”. Social media is another battleground. When Heard’s lawyer claimed that the actress used a particular makeup palette from Milani Cosmetics to hide the bruises from Depp’s alleged abuse, the company posted a TikTok pointing out that the product in question was released after the couple’s marriage ended. The video went viral, and another TikToker even visited the courtroom to try and give this “evidence” to Depp’s legal team.