Saturday 24 September 2022 10:38 AM ALISON BOSHOFF:She's a super-clever, privately educated lawyer and married ... trends now

Saturday 24 September 2022 10:38 AM ALISON BOSHOFF:She's a super-clever, privately educated lawyer and married ... trends now
Saturday 24 September 2022 10:38 AM ALISON BOSHOFF:She's a super-clever, privately educated lawyer and married ... trends now

Saturday 24 September 2022 10:38 AM ALISON BOSHOFF:She's a super-clever, privately educated lawyer and married ... trends now

During his marathon seven-week libel trial in Fairfax, Virginia, this spring, Johnny Depp was a creature of habit. He would arrive every morning in a large grey SUV with loud reggae music pumping, and exit waving to fans while carrying a notebook and briefcase.

In his wake would follow three bodyguards who had been in the car with him — plus a petite and elegant brunette, Joelle Rich.

Rich, a 37-year-old married, privately educated London lawyer and mother of two, stayed a few careful paces away from the client at all times.

She would then typically join his packed benches of supporters — sitting across from Amber Heard's team, as the sordid and prurient details of the libel trial, brought by Depp against his ex wife, were spilled out.

In the evenings, with Johnny, 59, ensconced in the presidential suite at the Ritz-Carlton hotel in McLean, Rich would be among those joining him for nightly dinners at the nearby Palm steakhouse. The Depp party would spend thousands every night on meals which always featured chicken parmigiana and plenty of the best red wine which could be ordered (Depp is a red wine enthusiast).

Lawyer, Joelle Rich, is reported to be in a 'serious' relationship with Johnny Depp. She was pictured alongside him following the end of his libel trial at the High Court in London in 2020

Lawyer, Joelle Rich, is reported to be in a 'serious' relationship with Johnny Depp. She was pictured alongside him following the end of his libel trial at the High Court in London in 2020

They would be placed behind a curtain in a private room, seating eight. Was the Pirates Of The Caribbean star — divorced and with a reputation for alcoholic and narcotic excess — already romancing his oh-so-proper married British lawyer by this point?

One source, who had dealings with Mrs Rich believes so. A closer look at footage of him arriving at court reveals her shooting soupy, admiring glances at Depp as he disappears into court.

Rich happens to be a partner at the prestigious UK law firm Schillings, which has represented Depp in his legal battles both in the UK and the U.S. The British trial centred over a 2018 article in The Sun newspaper which accused Depp of being a wife beater, while in the U.S. trial Depp sued Heard over a 2018 article she wrote for The Washington Post where she claimed to be a victim of domestic violence.

Alison Boshoff: Rich happens to be a partner at the prestigious UK law firm Schillings, which has represented Depp in his legal battles both in the UK and the U.S.

Alison Boshoff: Rich happens to be a partner at the prestigious UK law firm Schillings, which has represented Depp in his legal battles both in the UK and the U.S.

One acquaintance tells me of Mrs Rich's role at the Virginia trial: 'She was not there in a professional capacity as she wasn't on the U.S. team who were dealing with the case. There was a big U.S. legal team and she was not a part of it. Let's say that it was obvious that something was in the air between them. Everyone kind of intuited it during the court case because of the behaviour on both sides.'

Friends of Joelle report her 'dropping off the radar' in June, when suddenly she wasn't in London any more.

This is despite her moving into a £ 1million-plus detached house in North London around a year ago with her financier husband Jonathan. They were married in 2011 and have two children.

Her disappearance was all the more baffling because everything in the couple's world appeared so solid, the friends say. The couple had even embarked on a slew of home improvements.

Joelle Rich, 37, who was representing the Pirates of the Caribbean star, was repeatedly seen only inches away from him as they emerged together from the court

Joelle Rich, 37, who was representing the Pirates of the Caribbean star, was repeatedly seen only inches away from him as they emerged together from the court

Now, though, they are separated and one presumes, given the circumstances, that they will divorce. Jonathan Rich is still in evidence — but Joelle is nowhere to be seen.

One neighbour said: 'I have seen the husband coming and going recently but not her. Perhaps she is busy at work or on holiday?'

And a shocked pal said: 'She is lovely, super-clever, beautiful, nice and really sensible — which is why everyone is so shocked by the latest claims.

'Her and Johnny Depp are poles apart in everything in terms of age and background. She is married to a very successful, handsome husband and has two great kids.

'So it is quite a shock. It's an extraordinary move for someone like Joelle — a highly accomplished, sensible, North London lawyer — to do something like this.'

It is indeed hard to imagine Joelle Rich finding her place in Depp's bohemian circus of misrule. Those who have spent time with him return with stories of nights of never-ending booze and marijuana and tell the story of a man so indulged and enabled that he blew a fortune on quixotic posturing, such as firing cult writer Hunter S. Thompson's ashes 'into space'.

Images taken at the time showed them smiling, chatting and looking relaxed in each other’s company during the actor’s ill-fated court battle in July 2020

Images taken at the time showed them smiling, chatting and looking relaxed in each other's company during the actor's ill-fated court battle in July 2020

During the UK trial, in which Depp unsuccessfully sued The Sun over the article, it was revealed that he had wasted up to $650 million — and only realised that all the money had gone when he was alerted by his management team.

Post-disgrace, his bohemian persona — he presents himself as a high-living, carefree wastrel — remained unchanged.

Depp continues to hero worship Thompson, who made an art form out of his narcotic adventures.

It is not known when their relationship started, but the pictures show they appeared to be on friendly as well as professional terms when Depp, 59, was trying to sue The Sun newspaper for describing him as a ‘wife beater’ in an article

It is not known when their relationship started, but the pictures show they appeared to be on friendly as well as professional terms when Depp, 59, was trying to sue The Sun newspaper for

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