Who is Ellen Barkin in the Johnny Depp vs Amber Heard trial?

She's set to be a key witness for Amber Heard.

johnny depp amber heard defamation trial

She's set to be a key witness for Amber Heard.

The Johnny Depp and Amber Heard case is seemingly all everyone is talking about (well, apart from the curious case of Wagtha Christie).

As the multi-million defamation trial between the two starts again after a one-week hiatus, the actress Ellen Barkin - an ex-girlfriend of Depp's and a key witness of Heard's - is potentially set to give evidence that has been described as 'critical'.

But who is Ellen Barkin?

Back in 1998, Barkin and Depp were co-stars in the cult classic, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas. Barkin says they dated, but Depp claims that it was more of a casual sexual relationship.

Her involvement with the Depp vs Heard trial came about after Heard's lawyer, Sasha Wass recounted a statement from Barkin during the 2020 High Court libel case in which Depp attempted to sue The Sun’s publisher, News Group Newspapers for an article calling him a “wife-beater”.

In the statement that Wass read out to the court, Barkin had said that on one occasion, Depp had thrown a bottle of wine across a hotel room in her direction, although it's not claimed that it hit her or caused her any physical damage. She also claimed Depp had got jealous and angry. Depp responded by saying the claims were "untrue" and declaring that Barkin held a grudge against him because he hadn't wanted a "proper relationship" with her.

Will Barkin testify?

Ahead of the trail, which is taking place in Fairfax, Virginia, both Depp and Heard each published a list of witnesses that their teams may call upon. These lists have been refined since, as each side is able to note objections to the other side's witnesses. Barkin is reported to have been on Heard's list since March and has been summoned by Heard's legal team to give evidence.

The 68-year-old, who lives in New York, has two children from her first marriage to the actor Gabriel Byrne. Barkin married her second husband, the billionaire businessman Ronald Perelman in 2000 but the couple divorced six years later.

In a long-running acting career, Barkin has starred in a host of films, such as The Diner, The Big Easy, Crime and Punishment in Suburbia and Ocean's Twelve. She was also nominated for the best actress gong at the Golden Globes for her leading role in the 1991 film, Switch.

When will the verdict of the Depp vs Heard trial be announced?

The trial is a result of Depp filing a $50 million defamation suit against Heard for an op-ed piece written by the actress where she talks about being the victim of domestic abuse (although Heard doesn't name Depp, he claims it is a clear reference to him and has, as a result, damaged his career). In return, Heard is counter-suing her ex-husband for $100 million, alleging that he's responsible for a "smear campaign" against her.

Although many people already think that Johnny Depp has already won the trial, we won't have the official verdict for some time. The trial is due to end on the 19th May, while closing arguments are expected on the 27th May before the jury can deliberate and return a decision.

Amy Sedghi

Amy Sedghi is a freelance journalist, specialising in health and fitness, travel, beauty, sustainability and cycling.

Having started her career in The Guardian newsroom working with an award-winning team, Amy's proud to have reported on a variety of topics, speaking to a range of voices and travelling far and wide to do so. From interviews on ski lifts to writing up breaking stories outside courtrooms, Amy is used to reporting from a range of locations (she’s even been known to type up a story in a tent).

She also loves being active, spending time outdoors and travelling - with some of her favourite features she’s worked on combining all three. Cycling and eating her way round the Isle of Man, learning to sail on the Côte d'Azur and traversing the Caminito del Rey path in Spain are just some of her highlights.

Covering a diverse range of subjects appeals to Amy. One minute she may be writing about her online styling session with Katie Holmes’ stylist and the next she’s transporting readers to the basketball courts of Haringey where she joined a group trying to lower knife crime in the capital.

While at university, Amy was awarded The Media Society bursary. Following her stint at the Guardian, Amy worked at Google and as well as writing for Marie Claire, she regularly contributes interviews, features and articles to National Geographic Traveller, The Guardian, The Independent, The Telegraph, Stylist, Refinery29, Glorious Sport, Cycling Weekly and Rouleur.

When she’s not writing, Amy can be found trying to get through her towering stack of books-to-read, cycling down at Herne Hill Velodrome or looking for the next place to eat and drink with friends.