London — I arrived at the Royal Courts of Justice two hours early. A Johnny Depp fan rolled her eyes: I was far too late. Courtroom number 13 had fewer than a dozen seats for the public, and she and her friends had been queuing for them almost since dawn. I didn’t stand a chance.

These diehards came to the trial of Depp against The Sun newspaper every day for three weeks. Each one could have made a short story about our relationship with celebrity. A woman told me she’d loved Depp ever since he visited her sick daughter at Great Ormond Street Hospital. Another said she was drawn to his case because her relative had been wrongly accused of domestic violence. “It can happen to anyone,” she said. They loved Johnny because he was different to them, they loved him because he was the same...

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