Johnny Depp's new flame 'separates from husband'

Johnny Depp and Joelle Rich - DANIEL LEAL /AFP via Getty Images
Johnny Depp and Joelle Rich - DANIEL LEAL /AFP via Getty Images

The British lawyer who is dating Johnny Depp after previously representing him during his High Court libel trial is understood to be separated from her university sweetheart husband.

Joelle Rich, 37, married Jonathan Rich in a lavish ceremony in Tuscany in 2011 after meeting at the University of Birmingham eight years previously.

For their wedding, in a villa where A Room With A View was filmed, the couple used gold tableware and furniture for their 290 guests.

Ms Rich told a bridal magazine which covered the ceremony: "Focus on you and your groom - the reason you're there in the first place."

She shares two children with Mr Rich, who works as a director for the Bluebox Corporate Finance Group.

Ms Rich, who works for the Schillings law firm, represented Depp, 59, in his libel trial against the Sun newspaper in 2020 where he fought claims he was a "wife beater".

The same year, she represented the Duchess of Sussex in her privacy case against the Mail on Sunday’s publisher regarding their publication of a hand-written letter from her father.

Joelle Rich's LinkedIn profile picture
Joelle Rich's LinkedIn profile picture

“I was working simultaneously on this case, hailed as the biggest privacy case in decades, and the Johnny Depp trial, which was a (now rare) libel trial,” she told Law Gazette last year.

She described the year as a "career high", despite the judge ruling against Depp on 12 counts, and the dismissal of a subsequent appeal.

Depp regularly arrived at the High Court with Ms Rich during the trial, where Mr Justice Nicol heard evidence of 14 alleged assaults against Depp’s former wife Amber Heard by the actor.

Ms Rich then accompanied Depp as he fought a second lawsuit earlier this year in the US, when he sued Heard for defamation over an article she wrote in the Washington Post describing herself as a victim of domestic violence.

Johnny Depp place and Joelle Rich leave Fairfax County Courthouse in May 2022 - Splash News
Johnny Depp place and Joelle Rich leave Fairfax County Courthouse in May 2022 - Splash News

While Ms Rich was not part of his legal team, she showed her support with her frequent attendance in the courtroom during the case.

“There was no professional obligation for her being there. It was personal,” a source told Us Weekly. They added that their relationship is "the real deal".

Ms Rich qualified as a solicitor in 2010 whilst with firm DLA Piper before moving to Schillings a year later. Among her high-profile clients is Nigella Lawson, whom she represented in 2013 during the trial of her two former assistants, who were accused of fraud.

Elisabetta and Francesca Grillo, the two sisters who worked for Lawson and her ex-husband Charles Saatchi, were on trial but the case became well-known for the focus on their marriage, as Lawson described her husband subjecting her to bullying and abuse.

On her LinkedIn page, she describes herself as a specialist in "helping people and companies in the public eye protect their privacy and reputations, mainly at times of crisis. I regularly handle media attention during particularly sensitive and unpredictable periods".