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Amber Heard: The actress who stole Johnny Depp’s heart

She’s rapidly become one of the most talked about women in Hollywood, yet many people struggle to name the films Amber Heard has appeared in.

Although she has worked fairly consistently since she was a teenager, and her movie career is hitting new heights with roles in films such as Magic Mike XXL, the main reason Amber (29) commands attention is because she’s Mrs Johnny Depp.

She’s also had tongues wagging because before she married the A-list actor, she had been in a four-year relationship with another woman. Plus, she’s earned a reputation for speaking her mind. When she got into trouble earlier this year for taking her two pet dogs into Australia on a private plane and skipping quarantine, she didn’t hesitate to take a pot shot at the Minister for Agriculture after he criticised her.

“I have a feeling we’re going to avoid the land Down Under from now on, just as much as we can, thanks to certain politicians there,” she said. “I guess everyone tries to go for their 15 minutes [of fame], including some government ministers.”

While others point out that her marriage has raised her profile, the actress reckons life hasn’t altered that much since she married Pirates of the Caribbean star Johnny (52) on February 3. “I haven’t noticed any change in my career,” Amber says. “And I’ve always had a love life that seemed particularly salacious to some people.”

She came out publicly as bisexual in 2010, while she was dating photographer Tasya van Ree, and says she’s never regretted being open about her sexuality. “I didn’t want to look like I was hiding something. I’m not, and wasn’t ever, ashamed.”

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Amber met Johnny – who had previously been in a 14-year relationship with French singer Vanessa Paradis – in 2009 when they made the movie The Rum Diary. “I never expected to get married, but I fell in love and it was something that I wanted to do,” she says.

“Marriage hasn’t really changed anything between us. I don’t think your sense of who you are changes that much when you are in a relationship or marriage. What’s beautiful is that you’re able to learn more about another person and that deepens your understanding of each other.”

The only major difference she has noticed is that she now has to contend with the paparazzi. To avoid being constantly followed, she leaves her prized Mustang at home and drives a different rental car every week.

“I miss driving my Mustang,” she muses. “I built it from scratch but the photographers all know the Mustang.”

She’s also found a way of weeding out people who abuse their friendship with her. She drops false information about her private life into conversation and if those details turn up in a story in the media, she immediately knows who she can and can’t trust. Amber says she could never have imagined her life fitting into a “standardised path”.

She grew up on a ranch in Texas and couldn’t wait to escape. “Even though Texas is a huge state, I felt trapped,” she says. “I couldn’t wait to get out of this uptight all-girls Catholic school in Austin. I read a lot and literature helped me to develop a rebellious side.”

Modelling and acting offered a way out, and Amber forged her parents’ signatures on forms so she could work, even though she was underage. Her breakthrough role came when she was 18, in the movie Friday Night Lights with Billy Bob Thornton, and she went on to play the teen version of Charlize Theron’s character in North Country the following year.

This year is expected to be a big one for Amber, with appearances to come in hotly anticipated movies, including The Danish Girl, alongside Eddie Redmayne, who plays a transgender woman. She also has a leading part in the crime thriller London Fields.

Amber, who will turn 30 next year, says she’s becoming more confident with age. “I like being an assertive and self-confident woman who doesn’t believe in conforming to all the myths and stereotypes that restrict our freedom.”

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