Elon Musk and James Franco Will Testify for Amber Heard in Upcoming Trial with Johnny Depp (Report)

The trial for Johnny Depp's defamation lawsuit against ex-wife Amber Heard, originally filed in 2019, is set to begin trial on April 11

ohnny Depp, Amber Heard, Elon Musk and james franco
Photo: John Phillips/Getty Images; Phillip Faraone/Getty Images; Frazer Harrison/FilmMagic; Tommaso Boddi/WireImage

Amber Heard is calling on several famous acquaintances for her upcoming defamation trial with ex-husband Johnny Depp.

The Aquaman actress, 35, is being sued by Depp, 58, over a 2018 Washington Post op-ed in which she wrote about surviving domestic violence. (Heard never named Depp in the op-ed, but she did accuse the actor of domestic violence during their 2016 split, which he denied.)

After several postponements since Depp originally filed the $50 million lawsuit in March 2019, the trial is officially set to begin Monday, April 11, in Virginia, according to Deadline and TMZ.

Back in November 2020, Depp lost his U.K. libel lawsuit case against British tabloid The Sun for calling him a "wife-beater." The court upheld the outlet's claims as being "substantially true." In March 2021, his attempt to overturn the decision was overruled.

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Heard asked to dismiss Depp's Virginia lawsuit, arguing that the U.K. judgment should hold sway on the proceedings in the U.S. since both lawsuits center on allegations of the actor as an abuser. In August, however, a Virginia judge granted Depp the right to pursue his lawsuit, denying Heard's supplemental plea to dismiss the case.

Deadline reports that Heard is set to have her Pineapple Express costar and friend James Franco, actress Ellen Barkin, and Tesla CEO Elon Musk testify virtually as witnesses for her at the trial. WandaVision actor Paul Bettany will testify virtually for Depp, after the star's texts with Depp were made public in the previous trial as well.

Heard previously said in court overseas that she once confided in Franco, 43, about bruises she sustained from an alleged fight with Depp. In his lawsuit, Depp claims that Heard had an affair with Musk, 50, "no later than one month after" she and Depp married in 2015.

Johnny Depp Amber Heard
Johnny Depp (L); Amber Heard. Marc Piasecki/WireImage; Phillip Faraone/Getty

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Depp and Heard, who met making the 2011 movie The Rum Diary together, broke up in May 2016, when she sought a domestic violence restraining order against him, accusing him of abusing her. Depp denied the claims, and the former couple settled their divorce out of court in August 2016. She said she donated her $7 million divorce settlement to charity.

A rep for Musk previously said that "Elon and Amber didn't start seeing each other until May 2016, and even then it was infrequent. Their relationship didn't become romantic until some time later."

According to Deadline, text messages between Depp and Heard and their colleagues will also be aired out in court, including exchanges between Heard and Jason Momoa and Aquaman director James Wan, as well as Justice League director Zack Synder. Additionally, messages between Depp and Fantastic Beasts writer J.K. Rowling will also be revealed.

Rowling has publicly defended Depp, though he was replaced in the Harry Potter prequel franchise with Mads Mikkelsen in the new Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore, out in April.

Last year, Depp, who has spoken about being a victim of "cancel culture," told U.K.'s The Sunday Times that he feels Hollywood has a "boycott" of him after the controversy, but he hopes to "bring things to light" to clear things up after a "surreal five years."

RELATED VIDEO: Johnny Depp Agrees to Resign from Fantastic Beasts Role After Losing 'Wife Beater' Libel Case

Heard, meanwhile, became a mom when she welcomed her first baby, daughter Oonagh Paige, in April 2021. She also reprises her role in the upcoming Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom, which is in theaters March 2023.

When Depp originally filed the defamation lawsuit in 2019, his lawyers said in the lawsuit, "Mr. Depp never abused Ms. Heard. Her allegations against him were false when they were made in 2016. They were part of an elaborate hoax to generate positive publicity for Ms. Heard and advance her career."

In response to the lawsuit, Heard's rep told PEOPLE in a statement at the time, "This frivolous action is just the latest of Johnny Depp's repeated efforts to silence Amber Heard. She will not be silenced. Mr. Depp's actions prove he is unable to accept the truth of his ongoing abusive behavior. But while he appears hell-bent on achieving self-destruction, we will prevail in defeating this groundless lawsuit and ending the continued vile harassment of my client by Mr. Depp and his legal team."

If you are experiencing domestic violence, call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233, or go to thehotline.org. All calls are toll-free and confidential. The hotline is available 24/7 in more than 170 languages.

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