As the fourth week of Johnny Depp's defamation lawsuit against Amber Heard gets underway in Fairfax County, Va., his ex-wife's legal team is set to present her defense beginning Tuesday.

Heard, who recently hired a new crisis PR team after reportedly growing frustrated with coverage of the trial, is expected to take the stand this week. Depp testified over four days last week, and was grilled by Heard's defense on his drug and alcohol use, controversial text exchanges with friends and former costars (including Paul Bettany), and alleged physical and emotional abuse.

Depp is suing Heard for $50 million over her 2018 Washington Post op-ed chronicling her experiences as a domestic violence survivor. Though Heard never mentioned Depp by name in the piece, his lawyers maintain the references to him and her public abuse allegations were clear and that the op-ed damaged his career and reputation. Heard filed a $100 million countersuit in response, alleging that Depp and his legal team defamed her by referring to her abuse allegations as a "sexual violence hoax." It's up to the jurors to decide if Heard acted with "actual malice" or "reckless disregard" for the truth when she penned the piece. They'll also review issues put forth in Heard's countersuit.

Here's what to expect from Heard and her legal counsel this week.

Amber Heard in the courtroom at the Fairfax County Circuit Courthouse in Fairfax, Virginia, on May 2, 2022
Amber Heard in court during Johnny Depp defamation trial
| Credit: STEVE HELBER/POOL/AFP via Getty Images

When will Heard take the stand?

Heard is expected to take the stand Wednesday. She will be the second witness for her defense, following testimony from a psychologist and expert in interpersonal violence and abuse on behalf of her team on Tuesday.

What can we expect from her testimony?

Like Depp, Heard will likely revisit and rehash moments in their volatile relationship, including the incident in Australia. Many of those moments were also dissected in Depp's libel lawsuit against British newspaper The Sun (over the publication's use of the term "wife-beater" when reporting on Heard's allegations) in 2020. At the time, both Heard and Depp revisited the bloody altercation, which involved Depp dipping his injured finger into paint and leaving messages on furniture in their shared residence. Heard will also very likely have to revisit Depp's claims that she left human feces on his side of the bed following an argument in 2016. 

Who's her first witness?

Dr. Dawn Hughes, a clinical and forensic psychologist and expert in interpersonal violence, abuse, and traumatic stress, will testify about Heard's post-traumatic stress disorder and other forms of psychological distress as a result of statements Depp made about her to the press. Hughes is expected to share analysis that corroborates Heard's allegations of domestic violence, including text messages, medical documentation, therapy records, and collateral interviews, among others. The testimony, an effort to dispel myths about domestic violence, will also push back on claims made by psychologist Dr. Shannon Curry, who testified on behalf of Depp last week.

What accusations will Depp face?

Heard's team is expected to outline Depp's alleged cycle of mental, physical, and sexual abuse. Heard has accused Depp of striking, choking, sexually assaulting, and throwing items at her, allegations he has denied. In opening statements, Heard's attorney vowed to expose Depp, recalling the couple's infamous 2015 fight in Australia that led to Depp's severed finger. "As you go through those three days in Australia, some pretty horrendous things happen to her," her attorney said. "He rips off her nightgown; he has her jammed up against a bar; he has hurled bottles and bottles at her; he has dragged her across the floor on the broken bottles and liquor; he has punched her… That's the Johnny Depp you're going to hear about in this case."

Will James Franco and Elon Musk be called to the stand?

Along with psychologists, law enforcement, and employees, Heard's witness list includes some famous names: James Franco, whom Heard starred opposite in Pineapple Express and The Adderall Diaries, and Elon Musk, CEO of Tesla and soon-to-be owner of Twitter. Heard previously testified in Depp's libel lawsuit that Franco had seen her bruised face after an alleged altercation. As for Musk, the two were in a brief relationship in 2017. It's still unclear if Franco and Musk will be called to the stand to testify on Heard's behalf, whether in person or via remote call.

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