Amber Heard testified Monday in the libel case brought by her ex-husband, Johnny Depp, that she filed for divorce and a restraining order against him in 2016 after two violent fights that left her in fear for her safety.
“I knew I had to leave him,” Ms Heard said. “I knew I wouldn’t survive it if I didn’t.”
But after detailing the collapse of their marriage for several hours, Ms Heard faced aggressive cross-examination from a lawyer for Mr Depp, Camille Vasquez, who sought to discredit her account that the he actor had beaten her several times throughout their relationship.
Citing incidents in which Ms Heard testified she had been beaten, lawyers for Mr Depp showed photos taken at the time which showed no apparent bruising or swelling. Ms Heard testified that she covered the wounds with makeup so the abuse remained hidden after numerous incidents.
‘You should see what it looked like under the makeup,’ Ms Heard said of a photo she described as having been taken the night after Mr Depp punched her so hard she thought that his nose had been broken.
As the trial in Virginia’s Fairfax County Circuit Court entered its final two weeks, Ms. Heard spent the early hours of the day finishing her testimony before facing off with Mr. Depp’s legal team, who wondered if her accounts of domestic abuse were accurate and if she had in fact donated the money she got from her divorce to charity, as she had promised.
Her testimony included her account of the first time the issue of domestic abuse by Mr. Depp became public, in May 2016, after paparazzi photographed Ms. Heard outside a California court, where she was granted a restraining order. temporary ban against him. She had what appeared to be a bruise under one eye, and then told the court in a filing that Mr Depp had thrown a mobile phone at her during an argument about a week earlier, hitting her in the face.
“Violence was now normal and not the exception,” Ms Heard told the jury on Monday.
Mr Depp, 58, sued Ms Heard, 36, for defamation after the Washington Post published an op-ed by Ms Heard in 2018 in which she called herself a “public figure representing domestic violence”. The article did not mention Mr Depp by name, but he claimed it was clearly referring to their relationship. The jury is also considering a countersuit filed by Ms Heard, which accuses Mr Depp of defaming her when her former lawyer made statements saying her accusations were a hoax.
In addition to repeated physical abuse, Ms. Heard described several instances of sexual assault by Mr. Depp. He accused her of being the aggressor in the relationship and denied ever hitting or sexually assaulting her.
Ms Heard gave evidence on Monday about a confrontation that arose after Mr Depp missed his birthday dinner in April 2016 because he had a business meeting. When they were alone later that night, he started a physical fight, she said, and pushed her, grabbed her hair and threw a bottle of champagne at her, missing her.
Ms Heard said she did not see her then-husband for about a month after that. But in May 2016, when Mr Depp visited the penthouse in Los Angeles where Ms Heard was staying, the couple ended up arguing over Mr Depp’s accusation that she or a friend had defecated in the bed of the torque as a “prank”. Ms Heard called the accusation “delusional”, attributing the droppings to one of the couple’s dogs.
During the confrontation, Ms Heard said, she was on the phone with a friend who, hearing the commotion and screaming, warned Ms Heard that she was not safe. This prompted Mr. Depp, she said, to take the phone from her.
“He pulls his arm with the phone and throws it in my face,” she said. “I put my head in my hands and immediately start crying.”
According to court documents, the friend on the phone called 911, but when police arrived Ms Heard refused to cooperate.
“I wanted to protect Johnny,” she testified Monday. “I didn’t want him arrested.
But two days later, she said, she filed for divorce, and several days after that she filed for the restraining order because she was experiencing extreme anxiety and wanted reassurance that Mr. Depp would not return to where she lived. (She agreed to drop a request for a permanent restraining order as part of their divorce agreement.)
Mr. Depp’s account of these two incidents was markedly different when he testified at the start of the trial. He said he had an important meeting about his finances and was late for Ms Heard’s birthday party, prompting her to lash out at him later that night. He testified that she punched him twice in the face before he left the building and stayed elsewhere. His mother died while the couple were apart, and when he called Ms Heard to tell her the news, he also told her he planned to file for divorce, Mr Depp said.
“Someone must have called her,” he admitted.
When he returned to the penthouse to collect some of his belongings, Mr Depp said, the couple argued over feces an employee had found in the bed the previous month. Mr Depp said he did not throw the phone at her, but rather “put it down” on the sofa. He accused Ms Heard of faking that she had been injured during the confrontation in order to convince her friends that she was in danger.
Johnny Depp’s defamation case against Amber Heard
In the courtroom. A libel lawsuit involving once-married actors Johnny Depp and Amber Heard is currently pending in Fairfax County Circuit Court in Virginia. Here’s what you need to know about the case:
“’Stop hitting me, Johnny!’ she is screaming in her best scared and upset voice,” Mr. Depp said.
An audio recording of a telephone conversation between the couple from June 2016 in which Mr Depp asked Ms Heard if she believed the charges she had made in the restraining order application were true was also released in court on Monday.
“Do you believe all of this, Amber?” Mr. Depp said on the call. “Do you think I’m an aggressor? »
“Yes!” Ms. Heard responded several times.
More than two years after securing the temporary restraining order, The Washington Post published Ms. Heard’s op-ed, which included broader policy arguments for national responses to gender-based violence. Ms Heard testified that she agreed to the op-ed because she wanted to raise awareness of these issues, not because she wanted to include details of her experiences with Mr Depp or advertise her film at the era.
Arguing for her countersuit, Ms Heard also testified to statements by Mr Depp’s former attorney that attempted to discredit her accusations, saying reliving the stories of abuse she shared in court was a ” torture “.
“I just wanted him to leave me alone,” Ms Heard said of Mr Depp. “I wanted to get on with my life, and he won’t let me.”