Depp v Heard – muddying the waters around domestic violence

Amber Heard was always going to be a questionable flag-bearer for the #metoo movement. But the jury’s finding against her in the Depp libel trial, while understandable, has raised concerns that the fight against domestic violence has taken a step backwards. Activists claim she has been vilified, the victim of gaslighting, as is common when abuse victims try to blow the whistle. Though the holes in her stories were too large to ignore.

  Both sound a nightmare and neither’s life has been improved with the airing of dirty laundry. See previous post 13 April 2022.

  #Metoo hit mainstream consciousness with the Harvey Weinsten allegations in 2017 when Jupiter was moving into Scorpio which sign is usually in evidence when sexual offences crop up. Pluto moving through Scorpio from 1983 oversaw stories of child sexual abuse pouring into the open. For Pluto’s swan song as it exited Scorpio in 1997 the gruesomely repellent Rosemary (and Fred) West Trial in the UK laid parental depravity bare.

 But for every movement there is a counter-movement. I wrote in 2017: ‘The outpouring of #metoo allegations of sexual abuse and harassment in the USA and UK feels like a game-changing moment, although it is in danger of saturating a public more inclined to look the other way.  It’ll only take a couple of false allegations to be exposed to run the risk of being swept back under the rug again.’

 Which was what happened after Child Sexual Abuse was finally recognised as a problem in the 1980s. It then faced a vicious onslaught from the deniers, liars, accused perpetrators and pro-paedophile lobby (it does actually exist) in the 1990s, all claiming allegations of csa were false or brainwashed in by therapists. What had finally found a voice was very nearly silenced.  But not quite. Family sexual abuse has still not regained the ground lost but multiple-victim cases against priests, sports coaches and the like have made inroads into public consciousness.

   This year’s Scorpio/Taurus Eclipses extending into 2023’s Lunar Eclipses may keep the issue foreground. As did similar Eclipses in 2013 when Jimmy Saville’s crimes were exposed as tr Saturn moved into Scorpio.

   What effect will Pluto in Aquarius have?

  Aquarius as a Sun sign despite being seen as against the biology, unemotional and unphysical does have a connection to sexuality – not surprisingly through its thinking function. Sex researchers figure amongst their number – Havelock Ellis, Alex Comfort (Joy of Sex), Virginia Johnson (half of sex-researchers + Masters), as well as writers William Burroughs (The Naked Lunch), Rabelais, Germaine Greer. It may progress our understanding of sexuality.

What may make a difference is the millennial generation born in the Pluto in Scorpio years (1983 to 1995), as well as the triple conjunction in Capricorn of the late 80s/early 90s. They are rebellious, more inclined to disregard ‘conventional’ wisdom and to rock the boat wherever possible. Ronan Farrow whose determined efforts broke the Weinstein story was born on 19 December 1987 with Pluto and Mars conjunct in Scorpio.

  All straws in the wind. The pendulum swings one way and then reverses – and jumpers on the bandwagon who make claims of groundless victimhood do real damage. But Martin Luther King’s thought is the one I hang onto. “The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice.” While grinding my teeth about it taking so long.

24 thoughts on “Depp v Heard – muddying the waters around domestic violence

  1. It would make sense that Aquarians (such as all the ones named) would be interested in studying (intellectually) sexual issues because their solar sign MC is in Scorpio


    I have worked in DV. I offer this article because the public hatred generated towards AH is far greater than that toward the killers of children, old people or even it seems, victims of war. Not only have I seen awful stuff hurled at her, some seem to be braying for her to top herself. Truly, it feels like a witch burning. And yet, this story is not just about her. It’s about so many women who are not believed until it’s too late. Perhaps Depp could support some of the many underfunded refuges since he has found the cause useful to exploit? We will see.

  3. While I have not followed this case closely and therefore cannot weigh in on the guilt nor innocence of the parties in this case (even astrologically, especially after the fact, since that would seem more like rationalization, unless those same inter-chart aspects can in turn predict, reliably, same future outcomes), I have noticed a continuation of trends in judging a woman’s believability vs that of a man:
    1. The need for the woman to be perfect. In this case, even though she has already donated $1.3 million, the fact that AH hasn’t FULLY fulfilled her donation pledge to the ACLU was used as a strike against her honesty. Can anyone of us guarantee that we’ve never overestimated our ability to deliver on a promise?
    2. Relatedly, the requirement for women to act more responsibly, even in the case where the men are much older and at a more successful stage on their career paths (please note that AH was about half JD’s age when they met and wed and at a much earlier point in her career). No matter how much we may find her quest for fame distasteful, reflecting on our own careers, at what stage were we more hungry, more willing to do “whatever” it takes?
    3. That there’s a need for more than one victim. Is the first one just a “sacrificial lamb” that we still need to have before we penalize the abuser? And for those who need that sacrifice, are you willing to volunteer yourself or your loved one?
    Unless someone can offer more plausible reasons for these, they all seem to be rooted in the unequal value society still places on women vs men.
    In addition, while I believe the liable laws in the U.K. to be more stringent (please correct me if I’m wrong) than those in the U.S., the Sun, which is owned by Fox, and more powerful and wealthy than a measly actor, even one as popular as JD, was able to triumph in that particular lawsuit, while the more wealthy and powerful JD was able to win in his latest lawsuit against a lesser-known actress.
    In terms of the Norwegian research that J provided, since the author herself said that the finding is contrary to most research on the topic of intimate-partner abuse, its subjects were all Norwegian and the research does not apply to every couple with a power imbalance (as in AH & JD did not participate in this research), unless this research has been replicated elsewhere, I would be a little skeptical in presenting it as rock-solid proof in terms of this specific case. Similarly (and even less scientific) are those who are presenting their own lived or indirect experiences as proof of AH’s guilt or innocence. There’s an unflattering name to describe the behavior of indiscriminately applying one’s own experience with a person (or even people) of a certain persuasion to judge any person of that persuasion. We are complex living organisms living in an even more complex world. Perhaps we should reserve such black-and-white judgements unless we don’t mind being similarly judged?

    • I am reminded here of the toxic marriage of Charles and Diana.

      Diana presented herself as the ‘sacrificial lamb’. Was this just a ploy to undermine the credibility of her husband? Did Diana’s repeated verbal assaults on her husband result from a power imbalance (a naive young virgin pitted against an experienced older man well established in his role as Prince of Wales)?

      As we know, Diana did manage to sway public opinion in her favour (who can resist a beautiful young woman when she turns on the charm) – at least in the early stages of her game. But there was no way Charles was going to play the second victim – not when he had Camilla in the wings of his life at any rate.

      I am also reminded of Meghan and Harry – though I can’t decide who is the victim in this marriage. I accept that, astrologically speaking, the two women are not alike. Yet both Meghan and Diana could and did beam beatifically in public whilst their respective husbands tried desperately to cover up their inner despair at the situation they found themselves in. [The members of the congregation at St Pauls looked disbelievingly at the brazenness of Meghan just as they had looked disbelievingly at Diana after her Bashir interview.]

      Amber Heard is displaying something of the same quality – an apparently genuine belief that she was/is the wronged woman both during the trial and after the verdict. Yet all three women, if not entirely the guilty parties, contributed significantly to their own downfall in the eyes of the general public. All three married very public figures but became dominant and controlling. Two paid the price – Meghan should take note.

    • I’ve read stories about super-successful business women who were in abusive marriages/relationships – and they couldn’t extricate themselves for many years.

      • Yes, Majorie, both your knowledge of this sort of abuse and the Norwegian research show that this sort of abuse DOES occur. What they do NOT proof, however, is who’s (more) at fault in the toxic relationship that was AH & JD.

  4. I must say I dont agree about the Millenials being rebellious, not like 1964 to 67 for instance. I think they are extremely conforming to their ideologies from University and crucially, the internet, and very very controlling, the Victorian beards say it all. I see very little free thinking or digression allowed and thats affecting all of society.

  5. I have followed the Depp & Heard relationship closely from 2014, when they became engaged. I have an interest in celebrity culture because often astrological charts are available for celebs, so for me, it is a way of enlarging my astrological knowledge. I had no particular interest in Johnny Depp before, but something about the way they presented themselves to the outside world – constantly pushing themselves into the limelight – caught my attention. Especially as Depp had been such a private person up until then. My impression during the 2 years which followed up until their divorce in 2016, was that Heard was an extremely fame hungry person. Also a person who was constantly pushing stories about them as a couple in the media to influence the narrative. I noticed that at first, Depp lost weight and started looking even more shy than usual. And then from the second half of 2014, he completely deteriorated in his looks, becoming fat and looking miserable. With regard to their body language, in photo’s, Amber seemed the dominating partner (if interested, look up the pictures of the Venice film festival 2015). My conclusion was – also because of having experience with alcoholism in my family – that Depp was a classic alcoholic and Heard a classic co-alcoholic trying to control her partner. When it became known later on that Heard had an alcoholic father, the picture was complete because these patterns often run in families. It does really grate on me, by the way, when people say that a more powerful partner (in terms of income and status) cannot be abused by their partner in an intimate relationship. Norwegian research from 2014 shows that in cases of abuse in intimate relationships, the more powerful partner, be they a man or a woman, can very well, and often is indeed abused by a less powerful partner. This is because the less powerful partner (maybe unconsciously) tries to redress the balance. See also

  6. “Hell has no fury like a woman scorned.” 1697

    Both parties were seemingly responsible for the toxic marriage and should share joint responsibility for the outcome. I hope neither Depp nor Heard press for the money awarded – unless of course the libels and slanders are repeated publically. There would be no point in further fanning the flames of anger.

  7. I was born the same year as Johnny Depp and had a work colleague with the same birthday as Ms Heard.
    I know times etc are different but my colleagues feelings took precedent over everything else. She would deliberately misunderstand and take offence but at the same time insisted on a safe space for her feelings to be heard (meaning where she couldn’t be called out on her behaviour )
    I wondered if this was a generational clash of values. My generation were often expected to be silent when we were upset and often but not always ended up burying the hurt in addiction. It’s a sweeping generalisation but I find the people I have to deal with who are in their mid thirties completely exhausting with their demands they be noticed and placed above everyone else.

    It must have been hell for both of them in that marriage.

    • ‘My generation were often expected to be silent when we were upset and often but not always ended up burying the hurt in addiction.’Thats very true, but clearly destructive for our generation, although the women are now seaking out. ‘I find the people I have to deal with who are in their mid thirties completely exhausting with their demands they be noticed and placed above everyone else.’ So whats the alternative,The Middle Road maybe.

      • I don’t know what the answer is or if there is one.

        Only that if you have had your needs ignored it is very hard then to deal with people who think their every need must be met. You cannot give what you have not been given without supreme effort. Most people find they want to make that sort of effort for their families.

        Minimise time spent with them I guess.

  8. It was a libel trial. The question was simply were some of the allegations made by Heard against Depp untrue and did she make them maliciously with the intent to harm him materially. On the basis of the evidence presented jury decided against Heard on both counts This does not mean that everything she said about Depp was false but clearly the jury thought that for most of the issues under consideration she had manipulated or fabricated allegations which were untrue with the intent to harm Depp’s career. It is a warning to others tempted to go down that road. Heard might be able to get the financial damages reduced on appeal but she is very unlikely to get the verdict overturned on a point of law. Personally having heard the witnesses I think the result of the trial was fair. It is the media circus surrounding it that has been the problem with various interest groups pitching for their side with little regard to the due process of law.

    Astrologically Neptune in Pisces and Pluto in Capricorn have tended to weigh in on the emotional side of debate with sometimes little regard to facts. I think that will be changing when Pluto enters the rather cool and rational sign of Aquarius.

    • Spot on. Amber’s credibility was utterly destroyed when she couldn’t account for the promise she made when she
      obtained her six million pound settlement. Kate Moss’s evidence was the final nail in the coffin for Amber, financially
      and career-wise.

      The other factor which has been overlooked, in all of Depp’s previous relationships, not one woman has spoken about
      him being abusive to them verbally or physically. I worked in a DV unit for a while, and the same characteristics
      emerged time and time again in those appalling relationships. Even in the first case when Depp was labeled as a
      “wife-beater”, surely it would have given the opportunity for more women to step forward with their stories?

      The silence was deafening. Depp and Amber’s tale was very ugly and depressing, but it would appear that Amber
      was in the wrong and this was reflected in the verdict. If you pick a fight, make sure you can win. She instigated
      the appalling debacle and now has suffered the dire consequences of her actions.

      • Robert: Although I didn’t follow the trial closely I agree with all your points. I too noticed that none of Johnny’s ex partners had complained of any kind of abuse even after the lurid allegations made at the earlier libel trial in London. Interesting what you say about patterns of behaviour in domestic abuse. JD’s sister testified regarding the physical verbal and emotional abuse she and Johnny suffered at the hands of their mother. Their response was to hide not to fight. It seems Amber knowingly or unknowingly patterned some of this behaviour suffered by JD? JD’s sister says she booked an extra bedroom when they were travelling so that he always had somewhere to ‘escape’ to.
        I agree VF about men also being victims of domestic abuse often with little chance of being taken seriously.
        Thanks also to Hugh for your clarification on libel law.
        This has been an illuminating discussion of a difficult and depressing subject.

        • Josie, I had a male friend who suffered awful DV from his former wife. He thought of taking his
          own life because it was so dreadful, yet he couldn’t tell his friends because they might think he was

          She poisoned the relationship with his son to such an extent, that the son refused to talk to him for
          years. Eventually, he sought to get professional help and broke away from that destructive relationship.
          He met a very kind woman and has managed to re-establish trust with his son.

          Ultimately, Amber Heard was a very cunning woman who thought she get away with her manipulative
          and cruel behaviour. She failed to destroy JD and has now been very publicly ruined.
          Her career and finances are in considerable tatters.

          You reap what you sow.

          • Robert I’m sorry to hear of your friend’s toxic relationship but glad that he eventually extricated himself before it was too late. I’m sure he still bears psychological wounds that may never completely heal. You only occasionally hear of males being the victims of DV but I’m sure there are many out there especially of the verbal and emotional variety. I’m not trying to say that there is not much more violence by men against women people! As VF pointed out it’s not a competition.
            I don’t know much about JD but think a lot of his substance abuse may be related to his horrific childhood. The verbal and emotional abuse was probably worse than the physical. His father was said to have also been abused by their mother but never reacted or more importantly intervened to protect his children! He apparently walked out when JD was about 16 telling him he was “the man of the house”. What kind of father leaves his kids behind? JD still took his mother to his film premieres when she was alive so maybe he was still trying to win her approval? Very sad.
            That must have been a very difficult gig working in DV? It’s a very complex subject with patterns of behaviour in both victim and perpetrator sometimes repeating in families? Not for the faint hearted..

        • Josie, the tenure in the DV unit was bleak as hell. Voltaire summed up human nature very succinctly:-

          “Society changes, men rarely.” DV will still exist when we are long dead and gone.

    • Agree with these posts. I didn’t have a dog in this race and was fairly neutral about the defamation allegations, but changed my mind when it became clear that AH had fabricated evidence, lied and told false information to journalists which did indeed affect Depp’s career, as well as admit on tape that she punched him. “All that glisters is not gold” and the marriage looked grim and ugly from the inside. I’ve also known abused men and it’s well nigh impossible for them to be taken seriously as DV victims and is disturbing the extent to which they suffer in silence and self-blame. Men often don’t even realise they are being abused, particularly when the abuse is coercive – mental, emotional and verbal or when they have come from dysfunctional families. That’s not to take away from the fact that statistically, women are far more likely to be victims of DV – I don’t think this should be a competition between the sexes. Both parties in this case are troubled individuals and one can only hope get the help they need.

  9. I’m going to say the quiet part out loud: women who have been tormented by other women broadly recognize a lot of the reported behavior of Amber Heard. This has been discussed at some length within my own friend group. And some men do too. My now-husband was formerly married to a woman who was later diagnosed with bipolar 1 disorder. He says that she was very sexually alluring at first (she has Scorpio rising with Venus in the 1st house), and more broadly charming to people in public. She also had aspects like Moon/Pluto/Uranus conjunct in Virgo, Saturn conjunct South Node in the 4th house, and Mercury square Mars in her natals. Certainly you can’t 100% prejudge a person based on their natals, as they may have been working diligently to evolve to the higher responses. But hindsight told the story here. At first, not many people outside the family would initially believe what he was finding out about how she was in private. Her family kept her bad behavior hush-hush. He left her when he started considering suicide as a way out. (At the time he was a religious man, and divorce would have been frowned upon. He ended up leaving Christianity altogether.) So as much as my husband supports #MeToo, and he truly does, he also painfully understands there can be another side of the story. That said, physical and emotional abuse is never acceptable. Depp and Heard should have walked away from each other long before they did. But certainly, also, people’s motivations for doing or not doing something can be complex.

    • I recognise it. Especially the quote from the psychologist who said “It was a point of pride to her, if she felt disrespected, to initiate a fight”.

      With her Sun opposite Pluto and a Libra moon square Mars and Neptune, I don’t doubt Amber thinks she is the victim here but every bit of testimony showed she isn’t.

      • Yes. And my husband’s daughter has a 4th house Chiron in Virgo and is bipolar (also) and histrionic by diagnosis. With all three of the children from that marriage, actually (the other two are sons, and coping better than their sister is) the scars the mother has left on them are astrologically apparent. These things become ancestral trauma, adding to that which was already present. It’s unfortunate that we can only see these things with hindsight.

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