Amber Heard

Amber Heard

Amber Laura Heard (born on April 22, 1986) is an American actress and model. After a series of small roles in film and television, Heard had her first starring role in the horror film All the Boys Love Mandy Lane (2006). First the recognition of the mainstream for supporting roles in the action film Never Back Down (2008) and the comedy Pineapple Express (2008). In the following years, she appeared in films such as The Joneses (2009), The Ward (2010), The Rum Diary (2011), Drive Angry (2011), Machete Kills (2013) and Magic Mike XXL (2015).

Personal Information
Full name Amber Laura Heard
Other names Martha Jane Canary
Birth date April 22, 1986
Birthplace Austin, Texas, United States
Residence Majorca
Nationality American
Religion Atheism
Native language English
Physical characteristics
Height 1.7 m
Spouse Johnny Depp
(marr.2015; Div.2016)
  • Tasya van Ree (2008-2012)
  • Elon Musk (2016-2017)
Children 1
Professional information
Occupation Actress and model
Active years 2004-present
Political party Democratic Party
  • Young Hollywood Awards (2008)
  • Spotlight Awards (2011)
  • Texas Film Hall of Fame (2014)
Criminal Information
Criminal Charges defamation

In 2017, Heard joined the DC Extended Universe to play Atlantean Queen Mera in the superhero films Justice League (2017), Aquaman (2018) and Zack Snyder’s Justice League (2021). In addition to acting, Heard has been a global spokesperson for cosmetics giant L’Oréal Paris since 2018. She is also involved in human rights activism.

Heard was married to actor Johnny Depp from 2015 to 2016. Her divorce caught media attention because she alleged she had been abusive for most of their relationship. He then sued her for defamation in 2019 after Heard wrote an op-ed about being a public victim of domestic violence. He also sued The Sun’s editors for related defamation in England. In 2020, the High Court of Justice of England and Wales ruled that Depp had lost his defamation case and that most of Heard’s allegations had been proven civilly.

Depp sued Heard for defamation in the US after she stated in a 2018 Washington Post op-ed that she had spoken out “against sexual violence” and had become “a public figure representing domestic abuse”. In Depp v. Heard, the jury ruled that these statements were false and defamed Depp, but also ruled that she was defamed, not by the actor, but by a former lawyer who worked for the latter and only on one of the three occasions included in her counterclaim. The court awarded Depp and Heard damages of $10.35 million and $2 million respectively.

The actress filed a lawsuit to reinstate the trial, arguing that the information about the age of one of the jurors was not correct and therefore overturned the ruling that forces her to pay compensation to Depp. The lawsuit was dismissed and the actress must comply with the payment to the actor.

In December 2022, Heard’s lawyers requested another retrial on the grounds that the psychological evidence presented in the case was not properly analyzed.

Early life

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 tamed horses in his spare time and she grew up riding, hunting and fishing with him. She also participated in beauty pageants, although as an adult she has said that she can no longer “support objectification”. By the age of 17, Heard was no longer comfortable in “conservative and God-fearing Texas” and dropped out of her Catholic high school to pursue an acting career in Los Angeles. Heard, who was raised Catholic, later declared herself an atheist, due to the influence of Ayn Rand’s works. She eventually earned a diploma through a home-study course.

The career of Amber Heard

2003-2007: Early roles

Heard’s earlier 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 OC (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 such as Drop Dead Sexy (2005), North Country (2005), Side FX (2005), Price to Pay (2006), Alpha Dog (2006) and Spin (2007), and a guest star spot in an episode of the police procedure Criminal Minds. Heard received her first starring 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 United States until 2013 due to distribution issues.

In 2007, Heard played the love interest of the main character in The CW’s teen drama Hidden Palms, which the network wanted to replace summer reruns of other series aimed at teen audiences. The series premiered in the U.S. in May 2007 to mixed reviews and low ratings, prompting the CW to air only eight of the planned 12 episodes before canceling it. The same year, Heard also appeared in the short film Day 73 with Sarah,  in the teen drama Remember the Daze and in an episode of the Showtime series Californication.

2008-2016: Conventional recognition

Heard gained moderate 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 blockbusters. She also appeared as part of a cast in an adaptation of the novel The Informers (2008) by Bret Easton Ellis, but the film was a critical failure. The following year, Heard starred in The Joneses (2009) alongside David Duchovny and Demi Moore; Variety wrote that Heard “steals the show” from Moore.  Aside from a brief appearance in the blockbuster Zombieland (2009), Heard’s other films during this time were independent films that received only a limited theatrical release: Exterminators (2009), The River Why (2010), And Soon the Darkness (2010) — or critically acclaimed 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 mostly poor reviews and underperformed commercially, but film critic Roger Ebert wrote that she “goes out of her way” with her character, a waitress who becomes embroiled in an undead’s mission to save her daughter from a cult. In early 2011, Heard also appeared on the British television show Top Gear. Next, Heard starred in NBC’s The Playboy Club, a crime drama series about the original Playboy Club in the 1960s Chicago.

After poor reviews and ratings, as well as protests from both feminists and conservative groups, the series was canceled after only three episodes aired. Heard’s third role in 2011 was as the love interest of the main character, played by Johnny Depp, in the adaptation of Hunter S. Thompson, The Rum Diary (2011). The film was not a commercial success, and received mixed reviews, with the part of Heard considered underdeveloped. In 2011, Heard also appeared in an advertising campaign for the fashion brand, Guess.

Heard then starred in the thriller, Paranoia (2013), the exploitation film, Machete Kills (2013) and the satire, Syrup (2013), neither of which were critical or commercial successes. The year also saw the limited U.S. release of All the Boys Mandy Lane. Although reviews of the film were generally mixed to negative, Heard’s performance was rated “the most definitive to date” by the Los Angeles Times and “psychologically interesting” by The Washington Post. In 2014, Heard appeared in a supporting role in the commercially successful action thriller, 3 Days to Kill.

In 2015, Heard had a prominent supporting role in the comedy-drama Magic Mike XXL, playing the love interest of the film’s protagonist, Channing Tatum. Like its predecessor, the film was a huge box-office success. Heard also had a small supporting role in Tom Hooper’s period drama The Danish Girl (2015), and a starring role opposite James Franco and Ed Harris in the independent crime thriller The Adderall Diaries (2015). Although reviews for the latter were generally negative, Indiewire stated that although Heard was “misunderstood”, she “shows a lot of potential and has been successful in an attempt to be taken more seriously”.  Her fourth role in 2015 was opposite Christopher Walken in the TV movie One More Time, which aired on Starz.

For her role as a struggling singer-songwriter, she took singing lessons and learned to play the piano and guitar. The Los Angeles Times called her performance “excellent” and The Film Stage stated that Heard did an “admirable job”.

In addition to her other roles in 2015, Heard played the female lead in London Fields, an adaptation of Martin Amis‘ novel about a clairvoyant who knows she will be murdered. After its press premiere at the 2015 Toronto International Film Festival, Heard’s performance received rave reviews, and she later stated that “it was one of the most difficult films to shoot and has proven to continue to be difficult… I can’t say I did [the character] justice”. Shortly after the initial screening, the film was pulled from release due to disagreements between the director and producers, and due to litigation, it was not released until 2018. Heard was nominated for the Golden Raspberry Award for Worst Actress for the film.

2017-present: DC Extended Universe and other projects

In 2017, Heard appeared as part of a cast in Lake Bell’s independent comedy, I Do… Until I Don’t and joined the DC Extended Universe (DCEU) cast as Mera, Aquaman’s Atlantean queen, 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 that drew her to the role was that Mera is “a strong, independent and self-owning superhero in her own right”, who refuses to be called Aquawoman instead of her own name. Aquaman became the fifth most profitable launch of 2018, and the most profitable DCEU delivery up to that point. The same year, Heard was named a global ambassador for cosmetics giant L’Oréal Paris.

In 2019, Heard had supporting roles in the independent dramas Her Smell, alongside 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 played Nadine Cross, a schoolteacher 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 Zack Snyder’s superhero film Justice League, a montage by the director of the 2017 film. She will then appear in Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom, the sequel to Aquaman, which began filming in the summer of 2021 and will be released in late 2022.


Heard is an ambassador for the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), to whom she promised half of her divorce settlement, and a human rights advocate for the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Stand Up for Human Rights campaign. In May 2019, she delivered a speech in support of the SHIELD Act on Capitol Hill, and spoke of her experience of her private nude photos being hacked and distributed online without their consent during the 2014 iCloud celebrity photo leaks.

Heard wrote about her experiences of domestic violence in the December 2016 issue of Porter magazine and in an op-ed for The Washington Post in December 2018. In November 2019, The New York Times published an op-ed written by Heard on the topic of revenge porn. She also made a public service announcement on domestic violence for Project #GirlGaze. Prior to the 2020 U.S. presidential election, Heard appeared in a campaign ad created by artist Marilyn Minter in support of Planned Parenthood.

Private Life of Amber Heard

Amber came out as bisexual in 2010, at GLAAD’s 25th anniversary event. In 2018, Heard revealed that she had been warned not to come out as bisexual, as it could negatively affect her career.

She was in a relationship with American photographer Tasya van Ree from 2008 to 2012. In 2009, Heard was arrested in Washington state for misdemeanor domestic violence, allegedly after grabbing Van Ree and hitting his arm. No charges were filed against Heard. Police legally expunged arrest records in 2011 after a request, but King County District Court withheld its own records. In 2016, Van Ree stated that Heard had been “unfairly” accused and that the incident had been “misinterpreted and exaggerated”.

In 2014, Heard was one of the victims of celebrity photo leaks on iCloud, in which her private nude photos were hacked and distributed without their consent.

After her divorce from Depp, Heard dated tech entrepreneur Elon Musk for a year, until early 2018. In 2020, she began dating cinematographer Bianca Butti.

On April 8, 2021, she welcomed her daughter Oonagh Paige Heard through surrogacy.

Relationship with Johnny Depp

Heard and Depp began dating in 2012 and married in a civil ceremony in February 2015. In April 2015, Heard violated Australia’s biosecurity laws when she failed to declare her and Depp’s two dogs at customs when they flew to Queensland, where he was working on a film. Heard pleaded guilty to falsifying quarantine documents, claiming she had made a mistake due to lack of sleep. She was held on $1,000 bail for good conduct for one month for producing a false document;  Heard and Depp also posted a video in which they apologized for their behavior and urged people to adhere to biosecurity laws. The Guardian called the case the “highest-profile criminal quarantine case” in Australia’s history.

Heard filed for divorce from Depp in May 2016 and obtained a temporary restraining order against him, alleging in her court deposition that he had been verbally and physically abusive during their relationship, usually under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Depp claimed that he was “trying to achieve premature financial resolution”. Depp’s ex-partner, Vanessa Paradis, and one of their daughters in common wrote a letter in his defense, something that could not avoid the swift condemnation of the actor by the media and feminist groups.

An agreement was reached in August 2016, and the divorce was finalized in January 2017. She heard the restraining order dismissed and issued a joint statement saying their “relationship was intensely passionate and at times volatile, but always bound by love. Neither side has made false accusations for financial gain. There was never any intention of physical or emotional aggression”. Depp paid Heard a US$7 million settlement, which she pledged to donate to the ACLU and Children’s Hospital Los Angeles. In 2021, Heard’s legal team claimed that she had “fallen behind on that goal because Mr. Depp filed a lawsuit against her and has consequently been forced to spend millions of dollars defending Mr. Depp’s alleged false allegations against her”.

In June 2018, Depp filed a defamation lawsuit in the UK against News Group Newspapers (NGN), the company that publishes The Sun, which had called him a “wife beater” in an April 2018 article. Heard was a key witness for NGN during the highly publicized trial in July 2020. In November 2020, the High Court of Justice ruled that Depp had lost his claim and that “the vast majority of Mr. Depp’s alleged assaults on Ms. Heard have been proven to the civil standard” rejecting any notion of a hoax against her. The verdict also found that Heard’s career and activism had been negatively affected by going public with the abuse. Depp’s appeal to overturn the verdict was rejected in March 2021.

In early 2019, Depp sued Heard for $50 million, due to alleged defamation over an op-ed she wrote about her experiences leaving an abusive relationship, which was published by The Washington Post in December 2018. The fact that the note did not specifically mention Depp by name is not disputed by either side. Depp also alleged that Heard had been the abuser and that her allegations constituted a hoax against her. Her legal team also released allegations that Heard herself had abused Depp. In response, Heard said Depp’s claims were not true and repeated her allegations and evidence that Depp mistreated her.

A psychological evaluation by Dr. Hughes, summoned by Heard’s defense, claimed she suffers from post-traumatic stress syndrome related to her ex-husband’s abuse.

The case went to trial in Fairfax County, Virginia, in April and May 2022. Heard asked a judge to dismiss Depp’s lawsuit filed in Virginia, where The Washington Post is located, so that the case could be tried in California (where most of the witnesses reside), but this request was denied.

Following the verdict in Depp v NGN, a petition from requesting that Heard be fired from Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom reached more than a million supporters. In August 2020, Heard countered Depp, claiming that he had coordinated “a campaign of harassment via Twitter and [by] orchestrating online petitions in an effort to get her fired from Aquaman and L’Oreal”.



Year Title Paper Observations
2004 Friday Night Lights Maria  
SideFX Shay  
2005 Drop Dead Sexy Candy  
North Country Young Josey Aimes  
2006 Price to Pay Trish  
Alpha Dog Soul  
All the Boys Love Mandy Lane Mandy Lane  
2007 Spin Amber  
Day 73 with Sarah Mary Short film
Remember the Daze Julia Ford  
2008 Never Back Down Baja Miller  
The Informers Christie  
Pineapple Express Angie  
2009 ExTerminators Nikki  
Joneses Jenn Jones  
Zombieland 406  
The Stepfather Kelly Porter  
2010 And Soon the Darkness Stephanie Also co-producer
River Why Eddy  
Trapped Kristen  
2011 Drive Angry Piper  
Diary of a Seducer Chenault  
2013 Syrup Six Also executive producer
Paranoia Emma Jennings  
Machete Kills Miss San Antonio  
2014 Three days to kill Agent Vivi  
2015 The Adderall Diaries Lana Edmond  
One More Time Jude  
Magic Mike XXL Zoe  
The Danish Girl Ulla Paulson  
2017 I Do… Until I Don’t Fanny  
2018 Her Smell Zelda  
London Fields Nicola Six Filmed in 2013
Aquaman Mera  
2019 Gully Joyce  


Year Title Role Notes
2004 Jack & Bobby Liz Episode: “Pilot”
The Mountain Riley Episode: “A Piece of the Rock”
2005 The O. C. Salesgirl Episode: “Mallpisode”
2006 Criminal Minds Lila Archer Episode: “Somebody’s Watching”
2007 Californication Amber Episode: “California Son”
Hidden Palms Greta Matthews 8 episodes
2010 The Cleveland Show Herself (voice) Episode: “Beer Walk!”
2011 Top Gear Herself Episode: “Episode #16.5”
The Playboy Club Bunny Maureen 7 episodes
2015 Overhaulin’ Herself Episode: “In Too Depp”
The Prince Serena Television movie
2020–2021 The Stand Nadine Cross 7 episodes

Music videos

Year Title Artist
2003 “There Goes My Life” Kenny Chesney
2005 “I Wasn’t Prepared” (Version 1) Eisley

Awards and nominations

Year Prize Category Film Result
2008 Young Hollywood Awards Innovative Performance Award Herself Winner
2009 Detroit Film Critics Society Awards Best Assembly Zombieland Nominated
2010 Scream Awards Winner
Dallas International Film Festival Dallas Star Award Herself Winner
2011 Hollywood Film Festival Spotlight Award The Rum Diary Winner
2014 Texas Film Hall of Fame Inductee Herself Winner
2019 Golden Raspberry Awards Worst Actress London Fields Nominated
MTV Movie & TV Awards Best Kiss (Shared with Jason Momoa) Aquaman Nominated
Premios Teen Choice Awards Best Actress in a Sci-Fi/Fantasy Film Aquaman Nominated
Saturn Award Best Actress Aquaman Nominated

Journal rankings

Year Countdown Name Ranking
2008 One of Maxim magazine’s 100 hottest women of 2008 #21
One of FHM magazine’s 100 sexiest women of 2008 #90
2009 One of FHM magazine’s 100 hottest women of 2009 #31
One of Maxim magazine’s 100 hottest women of 2009 #56
2010 One of FHM magazine’s 100 sexiest women of 2010 #25
One of Maxim magazine’s 100 hottest women of 2010 #13

References (sources)