Why Vanessa Paradis & Lily-Rose Depp’s Support For Johnny Depp Is A Huge Problem

About a week ago, actress Amber Heard filed for divorce from husband and Pirates of the Caribbean star Johnny Depp citing irreconcilable differences. But in light of Heard’s recent claims that Depp was consistently abusive throughout their 15-month marriage and four-year relationship, and her specific allegation that Depp threw an iPhone at her face (supported with photographic evidence, FYI), it seems very much like “irreconcilable differences” was a dramatic understatement. Since Heard’s accusations of abuse and subsequent restraining order, Depp’s ex-partner of 14 years Vanessa Paradis and daughter Lily-Rose offered Depp their support on social media. This…is a problem.

Lily-Rose called her father “the sweetest, most loving person,” and claimed “everyone who knows him would say the same” in the caption of an Instagram photo posted Sunday. Meanwhile, Paradis, who is the mother of Depp’s two children, called Depp a “sensitive, loving and loved person,” in a hand-written open letter shared on Friday.

She continued: “I believe with all my heart that these recent allegations being made are outrageous. In all the years I have known Johnny, he has never been physically abusive with with me and this looks nothing like the man I lived with for 14 wonderful years.”

To be clear, when I say “this public support is a problem,” I don’t mean that it’s inherently problematic that Depp’s loved ones have his back. Like, do whatever you want; of course they have his back. What’s a problem is the part where their “support” implies that Heard is lying — and the real problem is when people start to believe that.

So, what are we supposed to do when believing one woman must come at the cost of disbelieving another? Well, for starters, we could acknowledge that while Paradis and Lily-Rose’s experiences with Depp might have been and be overwhelmingly positive, it doesn’t somehow follow Heard’s must have been, too.

What’s a problem is the part where their “support” implies that Heard is lying — and the real problem is when people start to believe that.

But that’s also not to say that whether or not Depp was consistently abusive toward Heard over the course of the past four years, as Heard alleges, that the past four years haven’t heeded some good times, too. They seemed pretty pleased with themselves just last month when they made a video together praising Australia after Heard was caught lying to Australian border patrol about bringing her dogs, when she visited the country to see her husband on the set of the upcoming fifth Pirates of the Caribbean movie.

The point here is that there shouldn’t be any single mold a man must fit to be acknowledged as a domestic abuser, nor any singular mold a relationship must fit to be perceived as abusive, for victims to be believed. The same goes if the roles are reversed and the abuser is a woman and the victim, a man. No abuser has to appear completely and utterly despicable and loathed by everyone in their life for it to be conceivable that they abused someone physically or otherwise.

It shouldn’t take a dozen testimonies that an abuser was, indeed, a brutally violent monster for us to believe their victim(s). And, frankly, testimonies from loved ones aren’t exactly meaningless, but how much do they really matter? How much should testimonies from anyone who isn’t the alleged victim really change the situation at hand? An abuser’s behavior in previous relationships or with anyone else is mutually exclusive of their behavior with their victim; they don’t have to be complete assholes to everyone they know in order to be recognized as abusive.

Domestic abuse is, unfortunately, a relatively common phenomenon, with one in three women in the US facing it at some point in their lives, according to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence (NCADV), but, quite predictably, statistics aren’t enough to convince many media outlets and others too enamored with Depp’s brilliant acting to even consider the prospect of him being abusive.

An abuser’s behavior in previous relationships or with anyone else is mutually exclusive of their behavior with their victim; they don’t have to be complete assholes to everyone they know in order to be recognized as abusive.

As the above tweet points out, even after jumping through all the ridiculous hoops women and all victims have to jump through to be believed (having photographic evidence and witnesses; having called the police; receiving a restraining order; etc.), while supported by fans and feminists everywhere, a question mark continues to linger by Heard’s accusations, and I doubt the latest comments by Depp’s ex-partner and daughter will win Heard any more support.

Heard alleges the bruising of her face, in the photos she provided, was a result of an incident on May 21. The LAPD investigated the scene after Depp had already left Heard’s apartment and claimed there was not “any evidence of a crime,” and Heard declined to file a report against Depp at the time.

It’s important to note how difficult reporting abuse and getting help can be, and how many men and women suffer in silence everyday, as Heard claims she has for the past four years of her relationship with Depp. The social repercussions and being faced with disbelief, all while sincerely caring for their abusers and not wanting to lose them, make for an extremely complex, difficult situation faced by victims deserving of far more compassion than they tend to receive.

Heard, Paradis, and Lily-Rose have all spoken, and recently, Depp’s attorney Laura Wasser contributed to the dialogue — and mounting evidence of how victims continue to be discredited, disbelieved, and misrepresented in society — as well, claiming Heard’s accusations are merely an attempt “to secure a premature financial resolution by alleging abuse.”

johnny depp amber heard
CREDIT: Jason Merritt/Getty Images

Considering Depp’s vast wealth and unwillingness to pay a cent of it to Heard, this claim might just be believable and all… if it weren’t for the literal shit-ton of evidence Heard has that speaks otherwise. Like, you can make Amber Heard out to be a gold-digging whore all you want, but it doesn’t really take the wind out of her claims. Girl has the fucking receipts.

Frankly, it’s sad to see that even with as much evidence as Heard has to support her claims, she continues to be discredited, but it’s even sadder when you think about what this means for all the victims out there who don’t have photographic evidence and witnesses.