Johnny Depp joins TikTok after legal victory over Amber Heard and his fans are losing it

Embattled actor Johnny Depp has officially opened a TikTok account following his recent legal victory against ex-wife Amber Heard in their sordid and highly scrutinised defamation trial.

Support for the controversial star of the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise found a firm foothold on the popular video-sharing platform, with the hashtag #JohnnyDepp amassing more than 33.5 billion views on the app as of Monday. #JusticeforJohnnyDepp had garnered 20.2 billion views, while comparatively, #JusticeforAmberHeard had 85.9 million views, while the crude tag #AmberTurd courted 4.3 billion.

As of Monday evening (local time), the 58-year-old's TikTok had already been followed by more than 1.6 million people - at the time of writing, the star has amassed close to seven million followers and four million likes.

Also at the time of writing, Depp has yet to personally follow any accounts on the app, but has added "Occasional Thespian" to his bio - the same descriptor used on his Instagram. However, he has already shared his first video: a 30-second clip featuring footage of his supporters, followed by Depp playing guitar on-stage alongside acclaimed musician Jeff Beck in the aftermath of the trial. 

"To all of my most treasured, loyal and unwavering supporters. We've been everywhere together, we have seen everything together. We have walked the same road together. We did the right thing together, all because you cared. And now, we will all move forward together. You are, as always, my employers and once again I am whittled down to no way to say thank you, other than just by saying thank you. So, thank you. My love & respect, JD," he captioned the clip, which has already been viewed nearly 11 million times.

He has close to seven million followers at the time of writing (R).
The actor has quickly amassed a significant following on the app, creating an account in the days after the verdict. He has close to seven million followers at the time of writing (R). Photo credit: Johnny Depp / TikTok

Depp, once one of Hollywood's most in-demand and influential stars, created the TikTok mere days after a jury awarded him more than US$10 million in his libel suit against Heard, 36, last Wednesday. At the centre of the defamation trial was an opinion piece Heard had penned for The Washington Post in December 2018, in which she referred to herself as a "public figure representing domestic abuse".

Although Heard didn't mention Depp by name, the actor's legal team successfully argued that the Aquaman actress had defamed her former spouse and "concocted the story in hopes of generating positive publicity and to advance her career".

The couple, who met while filming the 2011 comedy-drama The Rum Diary, began their ill-fated relationship in 2011 and were married in a civil ceremony in February 2015. Heard filed for divorce from Depp in May 2016 and obtained a temporary restraining order against him, releasing a statement that read: "During the entirety of our relationship, Johnny has been verbally and physically abusive to me. I endured excessive emotional, verbal and physical abuse from Johnny, which has included angry, hostile, humiliating and threatening assaults to me whenever I questioned his authority or disagreed with him."

Their divorce was finalised in January 2017.

Following the verdict last week, Depp shared a statement to his social media that expressed his gratitude for the widespread network of supporters that rallied behind him. 

"Six years ago, my life, the life of my children, the lives of those closest to me, and also, the lives of the people who for many, many years have supported and believed in me were forever changed," he wrote. 

"And six years later, the jury gave me my life back. I am truly humbled. From the very beginning, the goal of bringing this case was to reveal the truth, regardless of the outcome.

"Speaking the truth was something that I owed to my children and to all those who have remained steadfast in their support of me. I feel at peace knowing I have finally accomplished that."

Although initially awarded $15 million in damages, the amount was reduced by the judge to $10.4 million in accordance with state law limitations in regards to punitive damages.

Heard was awarded US$2 million by the Virginia jury for damages stemming from claims made by a member of Depp's legal team, who alleged she had concocted a narrative and trashed an apartment she shared with Depp in an attempt to corroborate her side of the story when she summoned authorities.

In a statement to social media following the trial, Heard said she was "even more disappointed" about the verdict's impact on other women who are survivors of domestic violence. 

"It's a setback," she said. "It sets back the clock to a time when a woman who spoke up and spoke out could be publicly humiliated. It sets back the idea that violence against women is to be taken seriously."

Much of the televised trial was centered around Heard's allegations that Depp had physically and sexually abused her throughout their sordid relationship, claiming he had attacked her on more than a dozen occasions and had also been abusing drugs and alcohol. 

Depp denied he had ever hit Heard or any woman, alleging she had been abusive to him throughout their tumultuous marriage.

A source told the New York Post on Monday that Depp, who is currently on tour with guitarist Jeff Beck, is focusing on his music and is hoping to return to the silver screen in the not too distant future.