US gossip site Us Weekly reports that Depp has now embarked on a relationship with Joelle Rich, a partner at Schillings, who was among the lawyers who worked on the UK case. An unnamed source told the news outlet: ‘Their chemistry is off the charts… It’s serious between them. They are the real deal.’
Rich was not part of the team who represented Depp in his US-based defamation trial against Heard earlier this year, but was reportedly present in the Virginia courtroom in a show of ‘support’ for the actor. ‘There was no professional obligation for her being there. It was personal,’ said the source.
Rich was reportedly married when she initially met Depp, but is now separated from and in the process of divorcing her husband, with whom she has two children. The couple are said to have embarked on their budding romance ‘discreetly’, arranging to meet in hotels.
Listed as a London-based partner on the Schillings website, her bio describes her as a ‘highly experienced litigator’ who ‘helps individuals and families in the public eye protect their privacy and reputations’, working ‘to defend their reputations against false and defamatory allegations in print, online, and on social media’. She has ‘over a decade of experience in media law’ and ‘a wealth of expertise in libel, privacy and copyright disputes, having recently been part of the team which won a major privacy and copyright case in the public eye’.
Rich’s LinkedIn profile reveals she attended North London Collegiate School and studied Law at the University of Birmingham, before going on to a Legal Practice course with electives in Media and Entertainment, Intellectual Property and Commercial, and Private Acquisitions at BPP Law School.
It was previously rumoured that Depp was dating another lawyer, Camille Vasquez, who was among the attorneys representing him in his US defamation trial against Heard. She later dismissed the reports as ‘sexist’, telling People back in June: ‘It’s also an unethical charge being made… It’s unfortunate and it’s disappointing, but at the same time it kind of comes with the territory. I can’t say I was all that surprised.’
Married from 2015 to 2017, Depp and Heard’s relationship subsequently became the subject of two separate lawsuits filed by the 59-year-old actor: one concerning articles about Depp in the UK press; and the other a US defamation complaint against Heard directly. The November 2020 verdict in the former case was not in Depp’s favour, with the High Court ruling that the Sun’s articles – including an online piece that had initially dubbed him a ‘wife beater’ – were not libellous.