Amber Laura Heard (born April 22, 1986) is an American actress. She made her film debut in 2004 in the sports drama Friday Night Lights. After small roles in North Country and Alpha Dog, Heard played her first leading role in All the Boys Love Mandy Lane (2006) and appeared in The CW television show Hidden Palms (2007).
Heard's breakthrough came in 2008 with roles in Never Back Down and Pineapple Express. She received the Breakthrough Award at Young Hollywood Awards. Her appearance in films such as The Informers, The Stepfather, Zombieland, and The Joneses brought her further attention. She next starred in John Carpenter's The Ward, alongside Nicolas Cage in Drive Angry, and alongside Johnny Depp in The Rum Diary, for which she won a Spotlight Award at the Hollywood Film Festival. In 2014 she appeared in 3 Days to Kill, and in 2015 in Magic Mike XXL and The Danish Girl. She played Mera in the 2017 superhero film Justice League, a role she will reprise in the 2018 film Aquaman.
Heard was born in Austin, Texas, the daughter of Patricia Paige (née Parsons), an internet researcher, and David Clinton Heard, a contractor. She has a sister, Whitney. She dropped out of high school, eventually earning a diploma through a home-study course. When Heard was 16, her best friend died in a car crash; Heard, who was raised Catholic, subsequently declared herself an atheist. Her then-boyfriend introduced her to the works of novelist Ayn Rand, of whom she said, "I've read all of her books. Ever since then, I have been obsessed with her ideals. All I've ever needed is myself".
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", small supporting roles in The WB's short-lived series Jack & Bobby (2004) and The Mountain (2004), and a guest starring role as a salesgirl in the popular teen drama series The O.C. (2005). She made her film debut in the sports drama Friday Night Lights (2004), which starred Billy Bob Thornton and was a commercial and critical success. In the next two years, she had small supporting roles in several feature films, including Drop Dead Sexy (2005), Price to Pay (2006), You Are Here (2006), and Alpha Dog (2006), and appeared in an episode of the police procedural Criminal Minds as a love interest of main character Spencer Reid. She had more prominent film roles in the independent horror film Side FX (2005), and in Niki Caro's drama North Country (2005), in which she was cast as the teenage version of the protagonist, played by Charlize Theron.
Heard was next cast as the main character's love interest in The CW's teen drama Hidden Palms, which the network wanted to replace summer re-runs of other series aimed for teenage audiences. In order to get the part, she was required to lose 25 pounds. The series premiered in the United States on May 30, 2007, to mixed to negative reviews from the critics. It was also not popular with television audiences, and thus the CW decided to cancel it, airing only eight of the planned twelve episodes. In 2007, Heard also appeared in the short movie Day 73 with Sarah, the critically panned indie drama Remember the Daze, and in an episode of the Showtime series Californication.
Heard gained more mainstream recognition in 2008, when she appeared in supporting roles in the Judd Apatow-produced stoner comedy Pineapple Express, and the martial arts drama Never Back Down, both of which were box office successes. She also won a Breakthrough Award in Hollywood Film Festival. Her other film releases in 2008 were the critically panned Bret Easton Ellis adaptation The Informers, in which she was part of an ensemble cast, and All the Boys Love Mandy Lane, an unconventional slasher film in which she had one of her first leading roles. Its director Jonathan Levine stated that she had chosen Heard for the title role because "there was a certain type of beauty and a certain type of innate intelligence that Amber brought to it that is not something you find every day. Certainly, not something you would find in somebody her age. The wisdom she projects, I thought was pretty remarkable." Mandy Lane had already premiered at the 2006 Toronto International Film Festival, and had been initially picked for distribution by Harvey Weinstein. After a negative test screening, Weinstein dropped the film, and it was then released in the United Kingdom in 2008 by a different distributing company. It did not have theatrical release in the United States until 2013. The Los Angeles Times stated that Heard gave her most "definitive [performance] to date " in the film, and The Washington Post wrote that she gave a "psychologically interesting performance".
In 2009, Heard had roles in the horror film The Stepfather, and in three comedies: ExTerminators, Zombieland, and The Joneses. In their review of the latter, Variety wrote that "she steals the show" from film's more established star, Demi Moore. Critic James Berardinelli, despite giving an overall negative review to the film, also liked Heard's performance. In 2010, she starred in the romantic drama The River Why and continued her work in the horror genre in John Carpenter's The Ward. Carpenter described Heard as "very smart, very driven and very talented." She also co-produced and starred in the independent thriller And Soon the Darkness.
In 2011, Heard appeared as the female lead opposite Johnny Depp in the Hunter S. Thompson adaptation The Rum Diary, which received mixed reviews and was not a commercial success. Heard's other film release in 2011 was Drive Angry, a supernatural action thriller in which she was paired with Nicolas Cage. Film critic Roger Ebert stated 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 February 2011, she also appeared on the British television program Top Gear.
Heard appeared in no new films until 2013, when she starred in the thriller Paranoia, the action-comedy Machete Kills, and the satirical drama Syrup. The latter was based on a novel by Max Barry, who called Heard "amazing" and stated that she "annihilated that character. In a good way." Her only film release in 2014, action-thriller 3 Days to Kill, was a box office success.
Heard had roles in four films released in 2015, which led James Mottram of the British newspaper The Independent to call it a "watershed year" in her career. She had a prominent role in the comedy-drama Magic Mike XXL as a photographer who flirts with Channing Tatum's protagonist; like its predecessor, Magic Mike (2012), the film was a large box office success. Digital Spy described Heard as "a convincing girl-next-door type" in their review. Heard also had a small supporting role as a ballet dancer in Tom Hooper's historical drama The Danish Girl (2015), which premiered at the 72nd Venice Film Festival to overall positive reviews. She also starred in the independent crime thriller The Adderall Diaries alongside James Franco, Christian Slater, and Ed Harris. Indiewire gave film a mixed review and stated that Heard was "miscast" but yet "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 musical drama One More Time; for the role, she took singing lessons and learned to play piano and guitar. International Business Times described Heard as "talented enough to share a few heartfelt moments in a character that mostly operates on the defensive." Los Angeles Times called her performance "superb" and The Film Stage stated that Heard does an "admirable job".
In addition, Heard played the female lead in the Martin Amis adaptation London Fields, which was initially scheduled to premiere at the 2015 Toronto International Film Festival. It was pulled from the festival roster after director Mathew Cullen sued its producers, accusing them of fraud and of using his name to promote a cut of the film he did not support. The film's stars, including Heard, had also written to the producers, objecting to the cut that was seen at press and industry screenings at Toronto. London Fields and Heard's performance received highly negative reviews, and she 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 her [the character] justice."
Heard played Mera, Aquaman's Atlantean queen, in the DC Comics superhero film Justice League (2017). She will reprise the role in a larger capacity in 2018's Aquaman.
Heard has raised awareness about domestic and sexual violence. Together with actors Gabourey Sidibe and Freida Pinto, she read a speech on behalf of rape victim Emily Doe at Glamour's Women of the Year Awards in 2016; Doe was the recipient of an award. The same year, Heard made a public service announcement about domestic violence for the #GirlGaze Project, and wrote an open letter about her experiences with Johnny Depp for the December 2016 issue of Porter magazine.
Heard publicly came out at GLAAD's 25th anniversary event in 2010, and 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." Of her decision to come out, she said: "I think when I became aware of my role in the media, I had to ask myself an important question 'Am I part of the problem?' And I think that when millions and millions of hard-working, taxpaying Americans are denied their rights and denied their equality you have to ask yourself what are the factors that are an epidemic problem and that's what this is."
Heard was in a relationship with photographer Tasya van Ree from 2008 to 2012. She met actor Johnny Depp while filming The Rum Diary in 2011, and they began living together the following year. They were married in a private civil ceremony at their home in Los Angeles on February 3, 2015.
In April 2015, Heard and Depp breached Australia's biosecurity laws when they failed to declare their two Yorkshire terriers to the Australian Customs Service when they flew by private jet into Queensland, where he was working on Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales. Heard pleaded guilty to falsifying quarantine documents, stating that she had made a mistake due to sleep deprivation. She was placed on a one-month good behavior bond and paid a $1,000 fine for producing a false document. Heard and Depp also released a video in which they apologized for their behavior and urged people to adhere to the biosecurity laws. The Guardian called the case the "highest profile criminal quarantine case" in Australian history.
Heard filed for divorce from Depp on May 23, 2016. Five days later, she obtained a temporary restraining order against him, stating in her court declaration that he had been "verbally and physically abusive" throughout their relationship, with the latest incident of violence having taken place only two days before she filed for divorce. In response, Depp's lawyers alleged that she was "attempting to secure a premature financial resolution by alleging abuse". Over the following three months, Heard's lawyers provided information to the media on other alleged incidents of violence during the relationship, and images of her injuries from one incident were published by People. A settlement was reached on August 16, 2016, and the divorce was finalized in January 2017. Heard dismissed the restraining order, and they issued a joint statement, which stated that their "relationship was intensely passionate and at times volatile, but always bound by love. Neither party has made false accusations for financial gain. There was never any intent of physical or emotional harm." She was awarded US$7 million, which she planned to donate to the American Civil Liberties Union and the Children's Hospital Los Angeles. As of December 1, 2016, she had not yet completed the donation; A Forbes contributor has reported that this was likely due to the tax implications of such a charity gift (depending on whether she herself received the money from Depp in the legal category of a "gift", or whether it was "structured as alimony", according to California Divorce Code Section 1041).
Elon Musk and Heard dated for a year, with the relationship ending in August 2017.