Heard will star in the Aquaman sequel but her role has reportedly been drastically reduced (Picture: AP)

Amber Heard only kept her role in the upcoming Aquaman 2 because the film’s lead star Jason Momoa fought for her to stay, the court heard in her bombshell libel trial against ex-husband Johnny Depp

The gripping court proceedings resumed in Fairfax, Virginia on Monday, as former spouses Depp and Heard counter-sue each other for libel over a 2018 article the actress published in The Washington Post. 

In the op-ed, Heard opened up about her experience as being a domestic abuse survivor but did not mention Depp by name. However, he argues that it suggested he was physically and emotionally abusive towards her during their marriage, and damaged his reputation and career. 

On Monday, former Hollywood film producer Kathryn Arnold who is now an entertainment industry consultant and expert, took to the stand on Monday to testify as Heard’s witness. She spoke to the actress before her court appearance as preparation for her testimony. 

Arnold discussed Heard’s role in the blockbuster Aquaman franchise and said her casting should have been her ‘a star is born moment’, propelling her Hollywood career. 

However, a petition to remove Heard from Aquaman 2 was launched in light of Depp’s lawsuit against her and has amassed over 4.3million signatures, nearing its 4.5m target. 

She played Mera in the 2018 blockbuster and will reprise her role for the next instalment, released in 2023 (Picture: Warner Bros.)

Heard stars alongside Jason Momoa in the blockbuster franchise (Picture: Warner Bros., Rex Features)

Momoa was reportedly ‘adamant’ Heard keep her role in the sequel (Picture: FilmMagic)

During her testimony, Arnold claimed Heard, 36, only kept her role because Momoa, who plays the film’s titular superhero, and the movie’s director James Wan ‘committed to her’ and were ‘adamant she was in the film’. 

Arnold told jurors that the first draft of the Aquaman sequel, officially titled Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom, featured her character Mera having a ‘strong romantic arc the entire film and some great action sequences’. 

However, when Heard arrived on set for the shoot, a costume designer reportedly informed the actress that her appearance had been ‘diminished’. Heard was told that her action sequence had been ‘cut out’ and that her role was ‘radically reduced’. 

Former Hollywood producer turned Hollywood expert Kathryn Arnold testified as Heard’s witness as the trial resumed on Monday (Picture: AFP via Getty Images)

The contentious trial between Depp and Heard continues (Picture: Getty Images)

Arnold also denied that this was due to a reported lack of chemistry between Heard and Momoa. The entertainment expert said Heard was ‘fighting for her life’ to be in the film and was paid $2m (£1.6m) to star in the sequel, the same salary she reportedly received for the first instalment. 

It’s alleged that Momoa, 42, managed to renegotiate his salary for Aquaman 2 from an estimated $3m (£2.3m) to $15m (£12m). 

Later in her testimony, Arnold estimated Heard’s earning losses were between $45m (£36m) and $50m (£40m) due to the negativity surrounding the lawsuit.

More: US Showbiz news

It comes after Heard earlier testified that she was given a new script for Aquaman 2 with a ‘very pared-down version’ of her role. She also denied that she only got the role because of her connection to Depp.

Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom is set for release in March 17, 2023. 

The trial continues.

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