The most high-profile celebrity lawsuits of all time
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Johnny Depp took the stand on April 19 in his defamation trial against Amber Heard to give his witness testimony, and shared that he was in "complete shock" when he first heard her domestic abuse allegations against him, which he claims "were not based in any species of truth," People reports. "Never did I myself reach the point of striking Ms. Heard in any way, nor have I ever struck any woman in my life," the actor said under oath. He added regarding her allegations, "Since I knew there was no truth to it whatsoever, I felt it my responsibility to stand up not only for myself in that instance but stand up for my children, who at the time were 14 and 16," referring to his daughter Lily-Rose and son Jack. 

"My goal is the truth," he said, explaining that "it killed [him]" to have his reputation ruined and have the people in his life "think that I was a fraud and had lied to them." He continued, "It's been six years of trying times ... I didn't deserve that, nor did my children, nor did the people who have believed in me for all these years. I didn't want any of those people to believe that I had done them wrong or lied to them or that I was a fraud. I pride myself on honesty." He added, "Truth is the only thing I'm interested in." The case, with reportedly almost 100 potential witnesses who could be called, is predicted to last until late May.

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Opening arguments for the US$50 million Depp vs Heard defamation trial were made on April 12 in Fairfax County. According to The Washington Post, Depps attorneys argued that Heard irreversibly damaged his career after she alleged that he abused her in her 2018 Washington Post opinion piece, and Heards lawyers countered that her op-ed is both true and protected under the First Amendment, arguing instead that it was Depp's struggles with substance abuse that led to his career downfall. Heard has countersued him for defamation for US$100 million.

In their opening arguments, Depp's lawyers claimed Heard became physically violent and verbally abusive after aggressively pursuing a relationship with him. They said Heard made up the story of Depp's alleged abuse to keep him when he wanted to file for divorce, and when that plan failed she "recast herself as an abuse survivor," including fabricated stories and faked photos.

Rebutting against Depp's remarks on the whole, Heards attorneys claimed Depp wanted to ruin Heard's life and career, calling him an obsessed ex-husband hellbent on revenge" who was allegedly physically, verbally and sexually violent”much of which they claim happened when Depp was blacked out from drugs and alcohol. 

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The trial for Johnny Depp's defamation lawsuit against ex-wife Amber Heard, originally filed in 2019, is set to be a star-studded affair, Deadline reports. Heard is calling on several famous acquaintances to testify virtually as witnesses for her, including her 'Pineapple Express' co-star and friend James Franco, actress Ellen Barkin, and Tesla CEO Elon Musk. 'WandaVision' star Paul Bettany will testify virtually for Depp, since his texts with Depp were made public in the previous trial. According to Deadline, there will be more A-lister text exchanges aired out in court between Heard and Jason Momoa and 'Aquaman' director James Wan, as well as 'Justice League' director Zack Snyder. On Depp's side, his messages with 'Fantastic Beasts' writer J.K. Rowling, who has publicly supported him in the past, will also be revealed. 

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Johnny Depp attempted to sue the British tabloid newspaper The Sun for labeling him as a wife-beater in 2018. In a highly-publicized court case, his ex-wife Amber Heard appeared as a witness on behalf of The Sun. She told horrific stories about their relationship, and the court ruled that "the great majority" of Heard's claims of domestic abuse "could be proved to the civil standard."

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Over one week after Blac Chyna's defamation case against the Kardashian-Jenner family began, the Kardashians won. On May 2, the jury awarded no damages to Chyna, who accused the family of defamation and contract interference.  Chyna filed the lawsuit against the Kardashian-Jenner family back in 2017 after her reality show 'Rob & Chyna' was canceled by E!, as she believed the family influenced the network in their decision to cancel the show. She co-starred alongside her ex, Rob Kardashian, for just one season. Ryan Seacrest served as an executive producer, and appeared on Chyna's list of witnesses, along with Kris Jenner and her boyfriend, Corey Gamble, Kim Kardashian, Khloé Kardashian, and Kylie Jenner. 

Chyna's original filing focused on Rob Kardashian, claiming that his resentment towards her and his influence in the Kardashian family contributed to the show's cancelation. She also referenced the emotional distress caused by a 2017 incident where Kardashian posted compromising photos of her to Instagram without her consent.  In a more recent update, Chyna stated that she intended to "re-focus my attention on my trial against Kris Jenner and her daughters Kim, Khloé, and Kylie." She continued, "When they got my No. 1 hit show killed back in January 2017, that not only hurt me financially and emotionally, that hurt my beautiful KIDS." 

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Respected CNN anchor Chris Cuomo experienced a monumental fall from grace in 2021 when he was linked to the sexual assault case brought against his brother, Former Governor of New York Andrew Cuomo. He was suspended from his job at CNN while they investigated allegations that he was involved in building a defense case for his brother, jeopardizing his impartiality as a journalist. He was ultimately fired in November 2021, and has since decided to sue CNN for wrongful termination. His lawyers claim that the public firing "unjustifiably smeared" his journalistic integrity. He is looking for US$125 million in damages.  

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It's now well known that Alec Baldwin fired a prop gun with real ammunition on the set of the film 'Rust' and accidentally killed the director of photography, 42-year-old Halyna Hutchins, while also injuring the director Joel Souza. There is much mystery and suspicion about why the prop gun was loaded, but Baldwin said he was cooperating with the police to find out how the tragic accident occurred. On February 15, lawyers for Halyna Hutchins family filed a wrongful-death suit against Baldwin, while also releasing an eerie animated video re-enacting the fatal scene, which the NY Post has shared. "[Baldwin] has significant portion liability, but there are others, and thats what this case is going to be about”assessing fair apportionment to whoevers responsible for the senseless tragedy, Hutchins family lawyer Brian Panish said of the suit, which was filed in New Mexico.

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The lawyers claimed Baldwin refused weapons training on how to perform the cross-draw action he was supposed to enact, and that he received the gun from assistant director David Halls instead of from the armorer, who was reportedly not even in the room, as he should have been. They also said that industry standard requires a crew to be behind protective glass during any scenes where the gun is pointed towards the camera. Though Baldwin previously claimed in an interview that he had no idea real bullets were loaded, and that he didnt pull the trigger," the films script supervisor said in a separate lawsuit the actor intentionally ¦ cocked and fired the gun. The Hutchins family suit is the fourth legal claim filed against Baldwin and 'Rust' producers, the others from lighting technician Serge Svetnoy, script supervisor Mamie Mitchell, and armorer Gutierrez-Reed.

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YouTuber Tasha K made several videos about Cardi B with salacious allegations, including that the rapper has herpes. Cardi filed a lawsuit in 2019, and in 2022 she took the stand in federal court and revealed that those videos caused her to feel "extremely suicidal," along with anxiety, fatigue, weight loss, and migraines. Court documents obtained by ET revealed that the case closed and on January 24 Cardi was awarded over US$4 million in damages by a federal jury. Tasha K, whose real name is Latasha Kebe, was found guilty on the claims of defamation, false light, and emotional distress.  

In 2021, Scarlett Johansson bravely took on one of the largest media conglomerates in the world: Disney. She sued them for breach of contract over the release of the movie 'Black Widow.'

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Johansson's legal team argued that Disney had broken their contractual agreement by releasing the movie on their streaming platform early, which reduced the box-office profits she was entitled to. It was a bold move that few actors have ever attempted and made a statement that powerful production companies can't stiff their actors and get away with it. They settled the dispute for an undisclosed sum, but Johansson and her team were reportedly very pleased.

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The Duchess of Cambridge was swarmed by paparazzi after her marriage to Prince William. British tabloids are notorious for going to any lengths to get the picture or story they want, which resulted in a topless photo of Middleton being published in the French edition of Closer magazine.

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A member of the paparazzi apparently went to extreme lengths to take a secret photo of her while she was sunbathing at a private villa. The royal family sued the magazine when the photo was published in 2012. The case was finally resolved in favor of the royals in 2017. The newspaper was ordered to pay €100,000 (about US$115,000) in damages.

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If anyone can relate to Middleton's struggle with the tabloids, it's Meghan Markle. The Duchess of Sussex sued the Mail on Sunday newspaper in 2019 after they published a private letter she wrote to her father without her permission.

Her legal team argued that the publication breached the Data Protection Act through misuse of private information and copyright infringement. In 2021, the court ruled in her favor, agreeing that it was an unnecessary invasion of her privacy.

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Kelly Clarkson ended up in a nasty legal battle with her former management company, Starstruck Management Group. It was particularly nasty because the company was run by her ex-husband, Brandon Blackstock, and his father.

The company actually sued Clarkson first, shortly after she filed for divorce, claiming she owed them US$1.4 million in unpaid management fees. Clarkson responded that they never had a contract and that the Blackstocks weren't licensed to act as her managers. She also countersued, accusing them of defrauding her of millions in earnings. Her ex-husband was accused of charging her excessively high fees for his unlicensed management services for more than a decade. The case is yet to be resolved.

LaBeouf has admitted that he suffers from alcoholism and PTSD, which has caused him to harm himself and those around him in the past, but denied the allegations made in the lawsuit. The proceedings are ongoing.

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Most of us will remember the Fyre Festival fiasco of 2017. The failed music festival, arranged by a con artist, was advertised as a luxury event. A whole range of A-list celebs, including Kendall Jenner, Bella Hadid, and Emily Ratajkowski, were paid large sums to hype the event on social media. When attendees arrived at the disastrous festival to discover they'd been ripped off, Jenner and her fellow promoters came under fire.

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Jenner was sued in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court by George Messer, who was in charge of the festival's bankruptcy filing. She was accused of misleading her followers by failing to disclose that she was paid for the promotion. She was paid US$275,000, to be exact. She also claimed the festival "would be filled with famous models on an 'exotic private island with first-class culinary experiences and a luxury atmosphere.'" Jenner agreed to pay $90,000 to settle the suit.

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Jennifer Lawrence was one of the most high-profile victims of the 2014 iCloud hacking scandal that resulted in the private photos of more than 100 celebrities ending up online. Many of the sites that posted the compromising photos refused to take them down, claiming that Lawrence didn't own the copyright as they weren't selfies (despite the fact they'd been stolen from her personal iCloud account). 

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Lawrence teamed up with several other women to threaten Google with a US$100 million lawsuit if they didn't remove the images from all websites owned or hosted by Google. Google claimed to have removed tens of thousands of photos and closed hundreds of accounts.

Any criminal case the Kesha might have against Dr. Luke was dismissed on the grounds that the alleged assaults occurred outside of the statute of limitations. The court ultimately decided in favor of Dr. Luke in the defamation lawsuit.

Sofia Vergara was sued by her ex-fiancé, Nick Loeb, for custody of two embryos they created during their relationship in 2013. The couple chose to freeze them at the time, planning to proceed with IVF in the future. They split in 2014.

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Loeb sued Vergara for the right to use the embryos with another woman as a surrogate, stating that he would waive her of any parental duties. Vergara's legal team argued that both parties had agreed not to implant the embryos without consent on both sides. The case was thrown out and Loeb failed to gain custody.

Lakshmi alleged that she was specifically targeted and threatened by the men. The judge found them not guilty, although he acknowledged that harsh language had been used.

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O.J. Simpson was the defendant in one of the biggest criminal trials of all time after he was arrested for the murder of his ex-wife, Nicole Brown Simpson, and her companion, Ronald Goldman. Although he was found not guilty in 1995, the victims' families brought a civil suit against him in 1996. 

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The Browns and the Goldmans sued Simpson for wrongful death, and the jury came to a unanimous verdict of guilt. He was ordered to pay US$33.5 million in damages to the families.

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Donald Trump is not afraid to sue! He's been involved in many lawsuits throughout his long career, but his most high-profile legal dispute came after he lost the US presidential election to Joe Biden in 2020. Trump and his Republican allies filed a whopping 42 lawsuits to contest the election results.

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The suits were filed in a number of states and for a number of alleged offenses, such as irregularities in ballot counting and improper voter registration. Unfortunately for Trump, none of the judges ruled in his favor.

Sources: (Time) (SheKnows) (Business Insider

See also: Musicians who sued their own bands

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Once you hit a certain level of fame or a certain bank account balance, lawsuits become inevitable. Realistically, we'd probably all get sued for libel if all of our social media posts and conversations were analyzed with a fine-tooth comb! It's no wonder then that celebrities are constantly besieged with legal problems. Some are so low-level that they don't even make it into the tabloids, while others dominate the headlines from start to finish.

In the middle of Johnny Depp's US$50 million defamation case against ex-wife Amber Heard, before Heard's side brought witnesses to the stand, the actress' legal team motioned for dismissal of the lawsuit. The judge has, however, denied the request.

On May 3, Depp's side wrapped their witness list, and Heard's attorney Ben Rottenborn made the case for why the lawsuit should be thrown out based on his argument that Depp's side didn't have enough evidence to prove defamation. Though both sides are arguing that the other was abusive, the case is centered around the 2018 Washington Post op-ed that Depp is alleging ruined his career. After reviewing the evidence, Judge Penney Azcarate denied the motion to toss the case, saying that the "weight of that evidence is up to the fact-finders," which means she'll be letting the jury decide whether Heard's op-ed was indeed defamatory as the trial moves forward. 

Click through this gallery to learn more about the trial and look back at some of the most significant high-profile celebrity lawsuits of all time.

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