You may know Amber Heard for her acting career and roles in films such as "The Danish Girl," "Magic Mike XXL," and the blockbuster superhero films "Justice League" and "Aquaman." However, the actress has become better known and widely discussed for the shocking legal proceedings between her and her ex-husband Johnny Depp. The high-profile couple began their relationship around the start of 2012 (via Insider). They were engaged in 2014, married in 2015, and their relationship ended when Heard filed for divorce in 2016, which was finalized in 2017.
But, that was far from the end of the pair’s association. Heard wrote an op-ed for the Washington Post in 2018, saying she was abused. That op-ed led to Depp suing his ex for defamation and putting the particulars of their relationship under the microscope. As more and more details came to light throughout the legal proceedings, social media blew up over allegations of abuse on both sides, with many siding with Depp and believing Heard to be a liar. After the lengthy public proceedings, the jury mostly sided with Depp (via the BBC).
Amidst all the revelations, backlash, and scandal surrounding her relationship with Depp, many may have missed a far more straightforward romance Heard was in at the time. In 2020, Heard was reported to have begun dating Bianca Butti. Here’s everything we know about their partnership.
Rumors of the two dating began in early 2020
Rumors of Amber Heard and Bianca Butti’s relationship first began to circulate in January 2020. The two were seen together on a Palm Springs getaway. People shared a picture of the pair cozying up, presumably after a date while waiting at the valet stand. They were spotted kissing before getting into a red mustang to leave together. This apparent date came three years after Heard’s divorce from "Pirates of the Caribbean" star Johnny Depp was finalized in January 2017.
From that point forward, Heard and Butti were spotted together on several occasions and appeared to be in a happy relationship. The pair had plenty in common due to their shared career in the film industry. While Heard may be a better-known name due to her role in the blockbuster "Aquaman" and the widely publicized controversy surrounding her relationship with Depp, Butti also has a successful career as a cinematographer and actress. She was in the 2013 film "Hank and Asha." And she’s worked as a cinematographer for years. Some of her best-known works for cinematography are films like "The Measure of Revenge," "An American in Paris," and "Grafton."
Their romance sparked soon after Butti’s breast cancer diagnosis.
While the pair seemed quite happy at the start of their relationship, it started during a challenging time in Bianca Butti’s life. The cinematographer had started her second battle with cancer a year prior. Butti was first diagnosed with breast cancer in 2015 when she was just 34 years old. She recovered, but sadly her doctors confirmed that the breast cancer had returned in 2019. According to the Daily Mail, Butti underwent chemotherapy, surgery, and radiation during her first cancer treatment. But, after a lot of research also decided to bring in alternative treatments for her second diagnosis.
Butti was open about her diagnosis and documented parts of her journey fighting cancer for the second time on the Instagram page @ButtiBeatsIt. In the most recent Instagram post on the account, Butti shared a picture of herself with the caption, "In order to reach a place of real healing and repair of the body, one must be completely relaxed. It’s amazing how difficult that can be! Working on that in a serious way. Meditation helps. Exercise helps. Beautiful landscapes help. Feeling supported by loved ones helps. Coming at it from all angles."
The couple isolated together during COVID
Beginning their relationship in January 2020 also meant that Amber Heard and Bianca Butti were just starting out when Covid regulations started to go in place. While the stress of the pandemic could have torn the new couple apart, it seemed they only grew closer over that time. In March 2020, the pair were seen out together occasionally. The girlfriends were first seen looking very domestic as they walked out of the grocery store, appearing to hold hands while Heard pushed a full cart of groceries. They were spotted hand-in-hand again later that month at a home and garden center. According to People, they left with cartfuls of plants, which we have to believe led to an adorable day spent gardening together.
It appears the couple may have been isolating together or at least spent a lot of time with each other throughout the early days of the pandemic. Heard also shared an Instagram video, likely filmed by her cinematographer girlfriend. In the video, Heard appears in a cozy cardigan, plucking oranges from a tree and saying, "Three? For our French toast this morning." In the caption, Heard joked that they were "Keeping social distance by sourcing from my organic orchard … or from the one orange tree in my front yard."
Butti supported Heard through her legal battle with Johnny Depp
Amber Heard and Bianca Butti also started their romance in the middle of the heavily publicized legal battle Heard was going through with her ex-husband, Johnny Depp. The timeline of the Heard and Depp trials can get confusing, but in 2018 Depp sued The Sun, a UK-based publication, which had called him a "wife beater." The suit didn’t go to trial until the Summer of 2020. Although this suit was against the publication and not Heard herself, she was a large part of the legal battle, testifying on behalf of The Sun. There was already plenty of controversy surrounding the case and Heard, especially after the Daily Mail published audio recordings before the trial in which Heard states, "I’m sorry that I didn’t, uh, uh, hit you across the face in a proper slap, but I was hitting you, it was not punching you."
Despite all the controversy, Butti supported Heard throughout the 2020 trial. She was seen attending court with Heard and leaving together on multiple occasions (via Metro). A source told Us Weekly that Heard was "happier than ever" with her new relationship. They continued by saying, "Bianca has been very supportive of her, and Amber feels like she can trust her and be comfortable around her, especially since they were friends first." Presumably, the pair was quite happy when the judge sided with The Sun in the 2020 suit.
Heard accused of dressing Butti like her ex-husband
In March 2020, Amber Heard and her new girlfriend Bianca Butti seemed happy and in love. The Daily Mail shared photos of the pair walking hand-in-hand through LAX. However, some were disturbed by their image together, as they thought Butti looked shockingly similar to Heard’s ex-husband Johnny Depp.
Butti was wearing a gray cordovan hat, a black jacket, and skinny jeans. Fans quickly speculated that the look was intended to make Butti appear like Depp. Some online users even went so far as to accuse Heard of dressing up her partner like her ex on purpose. International Business Times quoted one Tweet, saying, "It’s sick that she’s dressing her girlfriend like Johnny Depp." Another user agreed, tweeting, "There are a lot of pictures of her girlfriend dressed almost exactly like Johnny." However, some suggested that Butti looked less like Depp and more like Tasya Van Ree, Heard’s ex-partner before Depp. "It IS creepy. If you take a look at Tasya – her former wife – and AH (Amber Heard) herself… they all used to have this Johnny style at times. Maybe AH is looking for another Tasya, not for a Johnny," the user said.
Neither Butti nor Heard commented on the accusations. And it is worth noting that Butti seems to have dressed in a similar androgynous style for years before dating Heard, as shown on her personal Instagram.
Amber Heard became a mother while dating Butti
Although she was still in the midst of a legal battle with her ex Johnny Depp, on April 8, 2021, Heard welcomed her daughter Oonagh Paige Heard into the world. According to The Mirror, she had her baby with the help of a surrogate. She posted an Instagram photo of the two of them a few months later to share the news. In the caption, Heard said, "four years ago, I decided I wanted to have a child. I wanted to do it on my own terms. I now appreciate how radical it is for us as women to think about one of the most fundamental parts of our destinies in this way. I hope we arrive at a point in which it’s normalized to not want a ring in order to have a crib." Later in the same post, she said, "She’s the beginning of the rest of my life."
Heard already planned to have her daughter years before she and Bianca Butti ever started dating. While they were together when Heard became a mother, Butti is not a parent to Oonagh. There’s also been no information released on who the biological father is. Heard has made it clear that she is parenting her daughter alone. In another post, she referred to herself as "the mom and the dad," solidifying that having a baby was something she went into as an individual and not with Butti or anyone as a co-parent.
Amber Heard’s journey to come out as a proud bisexual
Before she started dating Bianca Butti, Amber Heard was open about dating people of different genders. In 2010 Heard was in the middle of a high-profile 4-year relationship with artist Tasya Van Re. At GLAAD’s 25th anniversary event, Heard explained, "I don’t label myself one way or another—I have had successful relationships with men and now a woman. I love who I love; it’s the person that matters.
Speaking at a South by Southwest panel entitled "Making Change On and Off the Screen," Heard recalled her experience coming out to her religious Texan family. "I’m from Austin, Texas … And I was raised in a religious home … I remember when I told them about my relationship, that I was in love with this woman … I remember at the beginning of that it was just tears." However, she shared a hopeful message with the audience, saying, "Attitudes and hearts can change."
It was never in Heard’s nature to stay quiet or keep her sexuality hidden. Regardless of how people reacted in her family or the industry, she wasn’t going to hide. During an interview with The Economist, later quoted by E! News, Heard recalled when Ellen Degeneres asked about her sexuality, "I just answered honestly … My poor publicist. Then I realized the gravity of what I had done and why so many people—studio execs, agents, advisors—did not want this coming before my name."
Their relationship fizzled out while Heard filmed Aquaman 2
Despite how happy the two appeared, Bianca Butti and Amanda Heard’s relationship ended after two years together. Compared to the very public legal proceedings and shocking revelations about her relationship with Johnny Depp, Heard’s partnership with Butti ended with very little drama or publication. Butti had stuck by Heard through her original court hearings with Depp in 2020, and even with all the backlash Heard received as more information about her and Depp’s relationship came to light, it seems her break up with Butti was completely unrelated.
According to the Mirror, Butti and Heard’s relationship simply fizzled out. Heard was filming the sequel to her blockbuster "Aquaman," "Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom." She was shooting the film in the U.K., and living on separate continents understandably strained the relationship. On top of the distance, Heard was busy balancing filming and caring for her young daughter, Oonagh Paige Heard. As a source told The Mirror, "With not being in the same country for months at a time and dealing with a new baby, it leaves very little time for romance." Little information was shared about their split, and by all appearances, the two are still on fairly good terms.
Heard reportedly hit rock bottom after their split
Amber Heard and Bianca Butti’s relationship seems to have ended amicably, but it came when Heard was being pushed to her limit. Sources spoke to the National Enquirer and were later quoted by International Business Times regarding the controversial actress’s state after ending the relationship. At the time, Heard was reportedly "consumed" by the stress of her upcoming defamation suit with her ex-husband Johnny Depp. On top of those worries, working and living "out of a suitcase" while filming "Aquaman 2" wore the actress thin and she was reportedly "running on empty." Her lack of time, exhaustion, and stress led to Heard ending her romance with Butti. The same sources said Heard still loves Butti, "but this is not the time for her to be in a committed relationship."
Although ending the relationship was likely difficult, Heard seemed more concerned about her upcoming court battle with Depp. Her distress over the breakup was said to be "nothing compared to the stress" over the legal proceedings. In those months leading up to their court dates, sources said Heard "hit rock bottom" under the pressure of it all.
Why was Bianca Butti missing during the defamation case?
During Johnny Depp’s 2020 lawsuit against The Sun, Bianca Butti was frequently seen attending the trial with Amber Heard. It seemed the cinematographer was a big part of Heard’s support system at the time, and they were often photographed together leaving court. After her public support in 2020, many expected to see Butti again during Depp’s defamation trial against Amber Heard.
Although the UK court had already ruled against Depp, that was in his lawsuit against The Sun. He was still able to bring a defamation case directly against Heard, suing her for damages caused by her 2018 op-ed on surviving abuse. The trial, which she ultimately lost, was difficult for Heard, and this time she didn’t have Butti by her side (via NBC News). The pair had already separated at the time, and Butti wasn’t seen attending any of the trial days.
Butti still stands in support of Heard
Bianca Butti was a visible support to Amber Heard when she was called as a witness during Johnny Depp’s suit against The Sun in 2020 (via Metro). However, after their split, Butti was not seen at the defamation trial between Depp and Heard in 2022. But, just because the pair are no longer together doesn’t mean Butti has stopped supporting Heard. While she didn’t physically come to court, she took to her Instagram to clarify her stance on the proceedings. On June 1, the cinematographer put up an Instagram post of a black square with white writing simply stating, "#istandwithamberheard."
In the caption, Butti stood up for her ex, saying, "My support goes out to Amber Heard and all survivors of sexual, physical, psychological abuse. What is happening in the media, social and other, is just awful and inappropriate." Heard and Depp’s trial was heavily publicized and commented on in the press and social media. Many see Depp’s victory as just, while others see it as a backlash against women speaking up about abuse. Butti made it clear that she agreed with the latter opinion and continued calling Heard a friend. She finished her post by stating, "no one, who stands up to speak the truth should be treated like this. My heart goes out to her during these difficult times. No matter what happens #istandwithamberheard."