Best known for her role in 'Pineapple Express' and 'Machete Kills', Amber Heard is a Los Angeles model turned actress. She maintains that her primary goal in the film industry is women empowerment and not necessarily about being a celebrity. Even then, Heard's controversial bisexual lifestyle of dating both and women has always raised eyebrows.
Amber Laura Heard was born in Austin, Texas She is the daughter of Patricia Paige, an internet researcher and David Clinton Heard who worked as a contractor. Amber and her sister Whitney were raised as Catholics in a tightly knit and loving family. The beauty queen is believed to have English, Scottish, Irish and German ancestry.
Amber attended St. Michael’s Catholic Academy in Austin, Texas. While in high school, she was an active member of the drama class and this was a good foundation to her future acting career.
However, at the age of 17, Heard dropped out of high school and moved to New York to focus on modeling before relocating to Los Angeles to try her luck in the film industry. Even then, she continued her education through homeschooling, which later earned her a diploma.
Working as a minor in the restricted industry wasn’t easy for the young girl nonetheless. Heard confesses to have forged her parents signatures and used fake documents to make modeling possible. Amber started off her career through appearances in the music videos, ‘There Goes My Life’ by Kenny Chesney and ‘I Wasn’t Prepared’ by Eisley. In 2004, she landed small supporting roles in the television series Jack & Bobby and The Mountain, both in 2004. Another remarkable role was in the popular teen drama The O.C in 2005 where she played a salesgirl.
Heard’s first notable work was in 2004 when she played Maria in the sports drama movie Friday Night Lights starring Billy Bob Thornton. The film was a commercial success and this earned her the attention of Hollywood that she needed.
Following the success in her debut film, the next few years were bright for Amber as she landed more supporting roles in feature films that include, Drop Dead Sexy, Price to Pay, You Are Here, Side FX and North Country where she played alongside Charlize Theron. The release of the crime drama film Alpha Dog starring Justin Timberlake and Emile Hirsh gave the upcoming star more exposure after she played Alma, Julie’s friend.
The beautiful actress was slowly gaining recognition and she started taking up more demanding roles. In 2006, she was hired for a lead role in the CW’s teen drama Hidden Palms. The role required Amber to lose up to 25 pounds in order to take part in the film. Determined to thrive in the industry, she gladly embraced the challenge. Unfortunately, the series was negatively reviewed by critics and therefore cancelled after airing only eight episodes. The young girl took the challenge positively and the following year, she appeared in three more films that included Day 73 with Sarah, Remember the Daze and Californication.
Following Heard’s early works in the film industry, the Los Angeles queen was ready to move on to more serious roles in her budding career.
In 2006, film director Jonathan Levine approached Amber for her beauty and innate intelligence. Heard was immediately hired for a lead role in the teen horror All the Boys Mandy Lane where she played a shy outsider who turned a mass murderer. The film was a success and premiered at the 2006 Toronto International Film Festival.
That same year, she was hired for an appearance in the martial arts film Never Back Down and soon after appeared in the comedy Pineapple Express alongside James Franco and Seth Rogen. The two films were her first to achieve great success in the box office. Additionally, they both earned her a Breakthrough Award during the Hollywood Film Festival.
In 2009, the beauty queen upped her game playing Kelly Porter in the suspense thriller film The Stepfather starring alongside Penn Badgley, Sela Ward and Dylan Walsh. The thriller grossed $31.2 million against its budget of $20 million.
She then appeared in the comedic films The Informers, The Joneses and Zombieland where she played the love interest of Jesse Eisenberg. Her strong performance in Zombieland saw her receive the Best Ensemble Award from the Scream Awards as well as a nomination in the same category by Detroit Film Critics Society Awards.
The following year, she starred in the romantic drama The River Why as well as the horror film The Ward. The director was impressed by her performance describing Heard as a smart, driven and talented artist.
In 2010, she also received a Dallas Star Award from the Dallas International Film Festival.
The year 2011 was equally bright for Amber. She starred as the lead actress in The Rum Diary opposite Johnny Depp who was later to become her lover and husband. Although the film was a commercial failure, Heard received the Spotlight Award from Hollywood Film Festival. She also went ahead to feature in the supernatural action thriller Drive Hungry where she played an actress entangled in a mission to save a cult victim.
Heard took an acting break until 2013 when she appeared in the satirical drama Syrup based on a novel by Max Berry. Max was amazed by Heard’s work and he described her as an exceptional actress. That same year, she starred opposite Harrison Ford in the thriller Paranoia and the action comedy Machete Kills.
In 2014, she appeared in 3 Days to kill, a crime thriller starring Kevin Costner and Connie Nielson. Amber played as Vivi Delay, a CIA elite assassin. Although critics negatively reviewed the film, it was a box office success grossing more than $12 million in the first week after release.
Amber had a ‘watershed year’ in 2015 as stated by James Mottram of the British newspaper, The Independent. The year started off with her landing a prominent role in the comedy drama Magic Mike XXL. She played Zoe, a photographer who flirts with Channing Tatum and the film was a big box office success. Although the film received mixed reviews, it grossed global sales totaling to $122.5 million against the initial budget of $14.8 million.
That same year, she played a supporting role in The Danish Girl as a ballet dancer. Like her previous films, The Danish Girl received positive reviews as well as premiering at the 72nd Venice Film Festival.
Heard concluded the year 2015 by featuring in two other films; she starred alongside James Franco and Christian Slater for the independent crime thriller The Adderall Diaries and later in the musical drama One More Time where she learned to play the guitar and piano in preparation for the role.
In 2016, she featured in London Fields, an adaptation of a novel by Martin Amis. Heard played a femme fatale starring opposite Billy Bob Thornton. The film was a total commercial failure and received negative reviews from critics.
As of 2017, Heard is set to appear in Atlantean Queen as Mera and the DC Comic superhero Justice League. In one of her quotes, Amber Heard hopes to land better stories to feature in and not necessarily big commercial pieces of work.
Heard is an activist and has always aimed at empowering women against domestic and sexual violence. In 2016, she launched the GirlGlaze Project whose goal is to fight domestic violence.
Additionally, Heard has on many occasions stated that her interest is more on women empowerment than being in the celebrity world. During an interview with Flare Magazine in 2013, Heard revealed she hopes to see more female film-makers and producers who are powerful and taken more serious by the society.
Besides her good image, Heard’s reputation has on several occasions been tarnished after finding herself on the wrong side of the law.
In April 2015, Amber and her husband Johnny Depp were charged with dog smuggling and illegally bringing their dogs along during a trip to Australia. During the same trip, Heard was accused of producing false documents relating to an incoming passenger card. Heard had flew via a private jet into Queensland where her husband was working on a film. Amber later pleaded guilty and stated that she was sleep deprived making her falsify the quarantine documents. The case was however a huge blow to the couple’s reputation especially after The Guardian called it the ‘highest profile criminal quarantine case’ in the history of Australia.
Although her charges were dropped, she paid a $1,000 fine as well as placement into a full month of good behaviour bond. To settle the bad air that had already engraved their fans, Amber and Depp released an apology video for their bad behavior and also urged the public to obey the biosecurity laws.
In August 2016 again Amber found herself battling a case in court after she was accused of fraud. It all started after she was featured in London Fields and the film set to premier in the 2015 Toronto International Film Festival. Mathew Cullen, the director of the festival, shortly afterwards sued the producers of the film for using his name in a section he did not approve. It was also reported that Heard was sued for $10 million for breaching the film’s contract that required the actress to appear nude in some scenes.
Heard’s relationship matters have been termed controversial for the longest time. In 2010, during The Gay & Lesbian Alliance Defamation (GLAAD) 25th anniversary event, she publicly announced that she is bisexual. According to her, she loves both men and women since what matters is the person and not the gender. Heard is also a gay activist and has over the years campaigned vocally for gay marriages.
Amber was initially romantically involved with photographer Tasya Van Ree from 2008 to 2012. According to documents that were traced by The Mirror newspaper, Heard was previously married to Tasya. However, considering same sex marriage was not legalized then, the two ladies did everything possible to appear married. This included Heard changing her last name to match her partner’s. Thereafter, sources indicated that the two held a private ceremony in 2011 to mark as their secret wedding. However, the two ended their relationship in 2012 but remained great friends nonetheless.
Shortly after ending her previous relationship, Heard started dating Johnny Depp, an actor she had met while filming The Rum Diary in 2011. The couple got engaged in January 2014 and instantly started living together before they finally wedded in a private civil ceremony at their home in Los Angeles in February 2015.
Sadly, Depp and Heard’s marriage was not destined to last as the two began conflicting almost immediately. Amber’s continued friendship with Tasya is something Depp did not support but one Heard was not ready to give up on. This angered Depp and on several occasions he reportedly beat her up when he was intoxicated. Finally, Heard could not take it any longer and in 2016, she called off her 15 month marriage. She filed a case against Johnny Depp for verbally and physically abusing her. Following the evidence obtained, Heard was given a restraining order against her husband.
The two finally settled their divorce proceedings in January 2017 and Heard received $7 million and a dismissal of the restraining order against Depp she had earlier obtained. Amber further made an announcement that she would be donating her divorce proceedings to charity. Both Heard and Depp later issued a joint statement stating that although at times volatile, their relationship was passionate and bound by love.
In matters to do with religion, Heard was raised a Catholic but has since then declared herself an atheist after reading works by philosopher Ayn Rand. Her change of religious beliefs was further motivated when her best friend was involved in a car crash when Heard was only 16 years. Heard received a hard blow on the immediate demise of her friend and there and then, she concluded that there is no God.
Written by: Peris Ngaruiya