Months after his highly publicised defamation trial, Johnny Depp is “seriously dating” his lawyer Joelle Rich, who represented him in his 2020 UK libel trial.
Rich was not part of Depp’s team against Amber Heard in the US trial earlier this year, however it is reported she was present in court.
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The British lawyer’s divorce is yet to be finalised with her ex, who she shares two children with.
“There was no professional obligation for her being there,” a source told US Weekly about Rich’s attendance and support in Virginia during his US trial.
The trial dragged on for six weeks and resulted in Depp being awarded $US10 million in damages and found that his former wife Heard defamed him with allegations that he had committed domestic violence.
According to the source, during this time Depp and Rich would “discreetly” meet up in hotels.
It is unclear when the romance began.
“Their chemistry is off the charts,” the insider said.
“It’s serious between them. They are the real deal.”
Earlier reports had suggested that Depp was dating his US defamation trial lawyer Camille Vasquez, however she debunked this rumour when she appeared outside of court during the May trial.
In footage published by TMZ, Vasquez emerged from the Virginia courthouse in the white pantsuit she wore to cross-examine Heard, when she was questioned by paparazzi.
“Hey Camille,” the photographer asked. “The people want to know. Are you dating Johnny Depp?”
Vasquez laughed at the question as the photographer continued.
“It’s all over the internet. Can you set the record straight?”
While Vasquez did not reply, she smiled broadly and appeared to both slightly nod and shake her head.
The answer to the question is, however, already known at the time was – no, she was not dating Depp.
Vasquez has reportedly been dating a British real estate agent and her relationship with Depp is strictly professional.
This did not stopped commentators poring over footage of the pair interacting in the courtroom throughout the six week trial.
On Court TV, the US outlet where live footage of the much-publicised defamation trial is being shown, a whole segment was devoted to whether a hug that Vasquez gave Depp after the conclusion of Heard’s cross-examination “crossed a line”.
“She is hugging Johnny Depp, hugging Johnny Depp again… he’s rubbing her back… holding his hand before she walks away,” commentator Ashley Willcott said as footage of Depp and Vasquez embracing after the cross-examination was shown.
“He’s smiling, clearly happy with the job she did on cross-examination,” she added before turning to lawyer Neama Rahmani who added his thoughts.
Willcott, herself a former judge and trial lawyer, then weighed in with her thoughts.
“I was trying to figure out what bothers me about this interaction,” she said. “I’ve been in private practice, I’ve had clients, I’ve represented clients that I have been very fond of.
“However, I feel like perhaps that undermines the respect of women who are lawyers in court and we’ve taken years to get there but not just female lawyers, all lawyers.
“To have the respect of the courtroom in the courtroom, I’m just not convinced I think that was the right interaction in the courtroom.”
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