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Amber Heard
Amber Heard by Gage Skidmore.jpg
Heard in 2018
Born
Amber Laura Heard

(1986-04-22) April 22, 1986 (age 37)
Other names
  • Amber Laura Depp
  • Amber van Ree
Occupation Actress
Years active 2003–present
Spouse(s)
(m. 2015; div. 2017)
Partner(s) Tasya van Ree
(2008–2012)
Children 1

Amber Laura Heard (born April 22, 1986) is an American actress. She had her first leading role in the horror film All the Boys Love Mandy Lane (2006), and went on to star in films such as The Ward (2010), Drive Angry (2011), and London Fields (2018). She has also had supporting roles in films including Pineapple Express (2008), Never Back Down (2008), The Joneses (2009), The Rum Diary (2011), Paranoia (2013), Machete Kills (2013), Magic Mike XXL (2015), and The Danish Girl (2015). Heard is part of the DC Extended Universe franchise, playing Mera in Justice League (2017), Aquaman (2018), and the forthcoming Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom (2023). She has also acted in television series such as The CW's teen drama Hidden Palms (2007) and the Paramount+'s post-apocalyptic The Stand (2020).

In 2016, Heard became a volunteer with the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) in the capacity of an ACLU Artist Ambassador, a role reserved for individuals who advocate for civil rights and civil liberties. Heard also served as a Human Rights Ambassador for the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights.

Heard married actor Johnny Depp in 2015 until their dissolution of the marriage in 2016.

Early life

Heard was born in Austin, Texas, the middle child of three daughters of internet researcher Patricia Paige (née Parsons; 1956–2020) and construction company owner David Clinton Heard (born 1950). The family lived outside Austin. Heard's father trained horses in his free time, and she grew up riding horses, hunting, and fishing with him. She also participated in beauty pageants, although as an adult she has said that she could no longer "support the objectification". Raised Catholic, Heard began identifying as an atheist at the age of sixteen after her best friend died in a car crash. The following year, no longer comfortable in "conservative, God-fearin' Texas", Heard dropped out of her Catholic high school to pursue an acting career in Los Angeles. She eventually earned a diploma through a home-study course.

Career

2003–2007: Early roles

Heard's earliest 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 The O.C. (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 North Country (2005), Side FX (2005), Price to Pay (2006), Alpha Dog (2006), and Spin (2007), and a guest-starring spot in an episode of the police procedural crime drama television series Criminal Minds. Heard received her first leading 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 US until 2013 due to distribution problems.

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

2008–2016: Mainstream recognition

AmberHeard09TIFF
Heard at the 2009 Toronto International Film Festival

Heard gained mainstream recognition in 2008 with supporting roles in the Judd Apatow-produced comedy Pineapple Express and the martial arts drama Never Back Down, both of which were box office successes. She also appeared as part of an ensemble cast in an adaptation of Bret Easton Ellis's novel The Informers (2008), but the film was a critical failure. The following year, Heard starred in The Joneses (2009) opposite David Duchovny and Demi Moore; Variety wrote that Heard "more or less steals the show" from Moore. Outside a brief appearance in the box office hit Zombieland (2009), Heard's other films during this time were either independent films that received only limited theatrical release – ExTerminators (2009), The River Why (2010), And Soon the Darkness (2010) – or critically panned 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 mainly bad reviews and underperformed commercially, but film critic Roger Ebert wrote that she "does everything that can possibly be done" with her character, a waitress who becomes entangled in an undead man's mission to save his daughter from a cult. In early 2011, Heard also appeared on the British television program Top Gear as a star in a reasonably priced car coming 33rd of 41 on their Cee'd leaderboard. In 2011, Heard also played along Johnny Depp, in the Hunter S. Thompson adaptation The Rum Diary (2011). The film was a commercial failure, grossing $30 million on a $45 million budget, and received mixed reviews. Heard's part was said to be underdeveloped. In 2011, Heard appeared in an advertisement campaign for the fashion brand Guess.

Heard next starred in the thriller Paranoia (2013), the exploitation film Machete Kills (2013) and the satire Syrup (2013), none of which were critical or commercial successes. The year also saw the US limited release of All the Boys Love Mandy Lane. Although the film's reviews were overall mixed to negative, Heard's performance was deemed her "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 large 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). IndieWire stated that although Heard was "miscast" in The Adderrall Diaries, she "displays much potential and has succeeded in a bid to be taken more seriously". Her fourth role in 2015 was opposite Christopher Walken in the television film One More Time, which aired on Starz. For her role as a struggling singer-songwriter, she took singing lessons and learned to play piano and guitar. The Los Angeles Times called her performance "superb" and The Film Stage stated that Heard did an "admirable job". The actress also appeared in a November 2015 episode of the American automotive reality series Overhaulin', in which her Mustang received a makeover. It also featured the cast pranking Heard at the behest of Depp.

Heard played the female lead in London Fields, an adaptation of Martin Amis's novel. It premiered at the 2015 Toronto International Film Festival. Shortly after the screening, the film was pulled from release due to disagreements between its director and producers, and due to litigation. Heard was sued for $10 million dollars for allegedly breaching performance and promotional obligations. The actress countersued. In September 2018, a settlement was reached, and the film was finally released. It received highly negative reviews, and Heard later stated that "it was one of the most difficult movies to film and it has proven to continue to be difficult ... I can't say I did [the character] justice". Jane Mulkerrins of The Daily Telegraph wrote that Heard provided "a decent enough turn as the enigmatic [Nicola Six]" that still could not save the adaptation, while Peter Sobczynski of RogerEbert.com said that she "just does not project the kind of mystery and allure" that the character requires. In 2019, Heard's performance in the film received a nomination for the Golden Raspberry Award for Worst Actress.

2017–present: DC Extended Universe and other projects

In 2017, Heard appeared as part of an ensemble cast in Lake Bell's indie comedy I Do... Until I Don't and joined the DC Extended Universe (DCEU) cast as Mera, a princess of an Atlantean kingdom, in the superhero film Justice League. She reprised the role the following year in Aquaman, which co-starred Jason Momoa and marked Heard's first major role in a studio film. She cited Mera's trait of being "a strong, independent, self-possessed superhero in her own right" as one of the reasons for her attraction to the role, who rejects being called Aquawoman instead of by her own name. Aquaman received mixed reviews. It was a commercial success, grossing over $1 billion. The Chicago Tribune's Michael Phillips and The Independent's Geoffrey Macnab respectively noted that Heard "lends a blasé air of early '50s B-movie cheese" and that she "camps it up entertainingly" as Mera. That same year, Heard was appointed global ambassador for cosmetics brand L'Oréal Paris.

In 2019, Heard had supporting roles in the independent dramas Her Smell and Gully. Her only project released in 2020 was The Stand, a miniseries based on Stephen King's novel of the same name. She played Nadine Cross, a school teacher who is among the few survivors of an apocalyptic plague. It 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 the superhero film Zack Snyder's Justice League, a director's cut of the 2017 film, for which she had also filmed new scenes.

Heard is set to star in Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom (2023), a sequel to Aquaman. An online petition to remove Heard from the film began following her ex-husband Depp's loss in his UK libel case and his replacement in the Fantastic Beasts films in 2020. By the start of the 2022 Depp v. Heard trial in the US, the petition had reached 2 million signatures. In her testimony, Heard stated that she "'fought really hard to stay in the movie' but that 'they didn't want to include me in the film' and only shot a 'very pared-down version' of her part". Heard is also attached to appear in Conor Allyn's forthcoming period drama, In the Fire.

Charity and activism

In February 2010, Heard hosted a charity photo exhibition for Tasya van Ree's art work. The event, which took place in Beverly Hills, was attended by, among others, Michelle Rodriguez, Odette Yustman, and Billy Zane. Later that year in August, Heard, together with van Ree and some of their friends, took part in a Los Angeles protest against a stay of the overturning of Proposition 8. Proposition 8 was a law that banned same-sex marriage in California and had just been overturned earlier that month only for an appeals court to grant a stay of this ruling to proponents of the law.

Beginning 2011, Heard partnered with Amnesty International and severally accompanied their staff in research and humanitarian missions to the Mexico-United States border. Among the humanitarian activities that she performed in the missions was her aiding in language translation, interviewing, and advocacy for Mexican immigrants to the United States along with the raising of awareness of existing immigration policies in the United States.

In August 2016, Heard pledged to donate her $7 million divorce settlement with Johnny Depp to the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and Children's Hospital Los Angeles (CHLA). Later that year in November 2016, she issued a statement defending this pledge against allegations from TMZ—despite the fact that Depp had not yet finished paying the $7 million dollars to her—that she had not yet made the donations as she had pledged. Depp finished paying the full $7 million divorce settlement to Heard by October 2018. By then, CHLA had already recognized Heard as one of their donors by officially including her in their "Honor Roll of Donors" list for the fiscal year 2017. In the following year in 2019, they likewise included her in their donors list for the fiscal year 2018.

In January 2021, the Daily Mail reported an allegation made by Depp's lawyers that Heard had yet to complete her donations. In response to this claim, Heard's lawyer stated that Heard intends to "eventually fulfill her pledge" in full but has "been delayed in that goal because Mr. Depp filed a lawsuit against her, and consequently, she has been forced to spend millions of dollars." In the Depp v. Heard trial in 2022, the corporate designee of CHLA testified that as of 2021, Heard had paid $250,000 to them. In a December 2021 testimony previously used in the trial, the ACLU's chief operating officer testified that the organization expected the pledged money to come in over a 10-year period and that Heard had made no contributions since 2018. To that time, the ACLU had received a total of $1.3 million between 2016 and 2018, of which $350,000 was directly from Heard, $500,000 from a donor advised fund believed to be of Elon Musk, $350,000 from another donor advised fund and $100,000 directly from Depp as part of the settlement. In 2019, the ACLU learned that Heard was "having financial problems and could not fulfill the remainder of the pledge." Heard testified that defending the case had cost her more than $6 million in legal fees. She also testified that the donation by Musk on her behalf did not count towards the final $3.5 million that she had pledged to donate and that she plans to resume her donations when she can.

In November 2016, Heard was filmed for a public service announcement (PSA) on domestic violence for the #GirlGaze Project. In the PSA, she spoke about the importance of women helping each other and reminded those women affected by violence against women (VAW) that they are not alone while also encouraging them to "speak up." She also highlighted the importance of taking responsibility for how VAW is dealt with and talked about "in the media and in our culture" with the aim of making it easier for survivors to come forward and to stand up for themselves. She echoed similar sentiments in a letter addressed to "[her] silent sisters everywhere" and published in the December 2016 issue of Porter magazine. In the letter, she wrote, among other things, that "No matter how terrible or terrifying surviving trauma may be, unfortunately it can pale in comparison to what follows" and that "It isn’t easy to raise your voice, to stand up for yourself and your truth and to do it ‘alone’." Furthermore, she assured "every woman who is suffering in silence" that "you are not alone" and that "You may not see us, but we are there. Your sisters are everywhere... and we are with you."

In an interview for The Economist's Pride and Prejudice event in March 2017 Heard highlighted the underrepresentation of LGBTQ characters in the Hollywood film industry (henceforth referred to as Hollywood). In the same interview, Heard pointed out that in contrast to the common view that Hollywood is a "beacon of liberalism and progressive ideology," it still lags behind society in general when it comes to the macro-level inclusion and representation of LGBTQ peoples. She also expressed the view that stakeholders in Hollywood should not use the power that movies have to maintain the status quo but rather to challenge it. In line with this, she stated that she plans to use her experiences, power, and drive to produce and participate in movie projects that communicate LGBTQ stories. Furthermore, Heard talked about the importance of more gay men coming out in Hollywood because, she explained, this would go a long way towards making the industry more LGBTQ-inclusive. Likewise, she added, Hollywood filmmakers need to be more inclusive and to take more risks towards making movies that are more in tune with changing demographics. Later that same year in August, Heard produced a short video for The Economist in which she spoke about the gender pay gap in Hollywood and the underrepresentation of women in the industry. She urged women to not be afraid to stand up for themselves and concluded the video by calling on its viewers to fight for equality in all social matters because if "[something] is unfair for one person, it's unfair for us all."

In April 2018, Heard joined the Syrian American Medical Society (SAMS) on a multi-specialty medical mission to the Al-Zaatari Refugee Camp in Jordan as a Goodwill Ambassador. While there, she met a 12-year-old girl named Weam who had thalassemia and needed expensive life-sustaining drugs and blood transfusions. She henceforth partnered with SAMS to help raise needed funds to aid Weam and 12 other children in the camp with thalassemia afford the costs of their treatments and to raise awareness about SAMS' humanitarian medical activities in Jordan.

In the same year, Heard accepted an invitation from ACLU to become an ACLU Artist Ambassador in the capacity of which she aided ACLU's efforts in their activism for justice in gender issues. The result of this collaboration was the op-ed that was first published by The Washington Post in her name on December 18, 2018 and that was republished by ACLU on December 27, 2018. It is this op-ed for which Depp sued her in late February/early March 2019 alleging that it had defamed him.

Heard was one of the speakers at the United Nations's 9th Annual Social Good Summit in September 23, 2018 in New York alongside others like Mónica Ramírez, Sonita Alizadeh, and Uzo Aduba. In her talk, she spoke about her history of volunteer and activist work starting from her childhood school days to her more contemporary work with SAMS. She also highlighted the centrality of humans and of human connections in human activities and passionately spoke about the significance of fairness and justice as embodied in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. She finished the talk by discussing how people, at the individual level, had been empowered by technology to launch and drive unprecedent social movements in defense of women's rights as human rights in recent years and by calling upon members of her audience to use the power that technology affords them to campaign for human rights.

Ahead of the 70th anniversary for the drafting of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Heard gave a speech, in October 2018, for the HagueTalks event Imagine the World We Want. In the speech, she highlighted the discriminations and other human rights abuses that contemporary immigrants to the United States face. In addition, while acknowledging the privileges that being a white woman living in the United States afford her, Heard expressed fear and concern for the human rights violations that women, including herself, and immigrants, face in the country. Despite this, she noted, there was still hope for improvement through the increasing levels of grassroots activism that she had been observing at the time. She finished the speech by forwarding that the success of a protest or a revolution should be measured in its changing of attitudes and at the same time also urged members of the audience to stand up for human rights.

In February 2019, Heard joined SAMS on a medical mission to Lebanon targeting Syrian refugee women living in poverty and in need of medical care. While on the mission, she visited several informal settlements in Beka'a Valley including Al-Omaria. She also partnered with SAMS to help raise funds to establish psychosocial programs, to increase access to educational programs, and to provide vocational training, all to mostly widowed women and orphaned children in these settlements.

Heard is a Human Rights Champion for the Stand Up for Human Rights campaign by the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights. In May 2019, she gave a speech in support of the SHIELD Act on Capitol Hill.

Personal life

Amber-heard-90121001
Heard in 2009

Heard publicly came out in 2010, but has stated, "I don't label myself one way or another – I have had successful relationships with men and now a woman. I love who I love; it's the person that matters."

Heard was in a relationship with photographer Tasya van Ree from 2008 to 2012. Heard had her last name legally changed to van Ree during the relationship and reverted to her birth name in 2014.

Following her divorce from Johnny Depp, Heard dated tech entrepreneur and Tesla CEO and shareholder Elon Musk for a year, until early 2018. She later had a relationship with actress and cinematographer Bianca Butti from January 2020 to December 2021.

In April 2021, Heard had her first child via surrogacy.

Filmography

Key
Not yet released Denotes works that have not yet been released

Film

Year Title Role Notes
2004 Friday Night Lights Maria
2005 Side FX Shay
Drop Dead *** Candy
North Country Young Josey Aimes
2006 Price to Pay Trish
Alpha Dog Alma
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
Informers, TheThe Informers Christie
Pineapple Express Angie Anderson
2009 ExTerminators Nikki
Joneses, TheThe Joneses Jenn Jones
Zombieland 406
Stepfather, TheThe Stepfather Kelly Porter
2010 And Soon the Darkness Stephanie Also co-producer
River Why, TheThe River Why Eddy
Ward, TheThe Ward Kristen
2011 Drive Angry Piper
Rum Diary, TheThe Rum Diary Chenault
2013 Syrup Six Also executive producer
Paranoia Emma Jennings
Machete Kills Miss San Antonio
2014 3 Days to Kill Agent Vivi Delay
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
Justice League Mera
2018 Her Smell Zelda E. Zekiel
London Fields Nicola Six Filmed in 2013
Aquaman Mera
2019 Gully Joyce
2021 Zack Snyder's Justice League Mera
2023 Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom Not yet released Post-production

Television

Year Title Role Notes
2004 Jack & Bobby Liz Episode: "Pilot"
Mountain, TheThe Mountain Riley Episode: "A Piece of the Rock"
2005 O.C., TheThe 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-episode series
2010 The Cleveland Show Herself (voice) Episode: "Beer Walk!"
2011 Top Gear Herself Episode: "Episode#16.5"
2015 Overhaulin' Herself Episode: "In Too Depp"
2020–2021 The Stand Nadine Cross 7/9 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 Award Category Work Result
2008 Young Hollywood Awards Breakthrough of the Year Herself Won
2009 Detroit Film Critics Society Awards Best Ensemble Zombieland Nominated
2010 Scream Awards Won
Dallas International Film Festival Dallas Star Award Herself Won
2011 Hollywood Film Festival Spotlight Award The Rum Diary Won
2014 Texas Film Hall of Fame Inductee Herself Won
2019 Golden Raspberry Awards Worst Actress London Fields Nominated
MTV Movie & TV Awards Best Kiss Aquaman Nominated
Saturn Awards Best Supporting Actress Nominated
Teen Choice Awards Choice Sci-Fi/Fantasy Movie Actress Nominated

See also

Kids robot.svg In Spanish: Amber Heard para niños

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