Amber Heard testifies she was assaulted by Johnny Depp
Amber Heard said she knew she should leave Johnny Depp the first time he hit her, but she couldn’t bring herself to do it.
“I knew I couldn’t just forgive him, right, because that means it will happen again. Like, I’ve seen the health class videos,” Heard told jurors through tears as she took the stand in Depp’s libel lawsuit against her. “I was heartbroken.”
Heard said she walked away after being slapped, but a few days later Depp came back with an apology, a few cases of her favorite wine and a promise he’d never do it again.
“I wanted to believe him, so I chose to,” she said.
Much of the trial has focused on whether Heard was in fact abused, something Depp denies.
Heard took the stand for the first time Wednesday. She also described a time she said she was sexually assaulted by Depp as he angrily performed what he called a “cavity search.”
She said the two of them and some friends had gone to the Hicksville Trailer Palace in Joshua Tree, Calif., in May 2013 for what was going to be a nice night in the desert. They ingested psychotropic mushrooms, and Depp became jealous when he saw another woman acting in what he perceived as a flirtatious manner with Heard.
Heard said she and Depp went into one of the trailers, which he promptly trashed. He then accused her of hiding his drugs, ripped her dress and started patting her down, she said.
“He was telling me, ‘We’re going to do a cavity search,’” she said through tears. “He just shoved his fingers inside me. I just stood there, staring at the lights.”
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Heard began her testimony describing to jurors how they met while filming a movie and fell in love.
Despite their 22-year age difference, Heard said there was an instant connection when Depp met with her as he considered her for a role in his film “The Rum Diary.”
“I was a no-name actor. I was 22. He was twice my age. He’s this world-famous actor and here we are getting along about obscure books, old blues” music, said Heard, now 36.
While they had chemistry during filming of the movie, she said they didn’t begin dating until doing a press tour for the film’s release in 2011. At the outset, they kept their relationship a secret.
“We weren’t doing normal life stuff. We were in this bubble of secrecy, and it felt like a warm glow,” she said.
She said that first act of physical violence came in 2013 as she was looking at one of his tattoos and couldn’t read it. She laughed when Depp told her it said “Wino” — an alteration to a tattoo he had made when he’d been dating actor Winona Ryder.
Heard said she laughed again after he slapped her, thinking it must be a joke. He then slapped her two more times, the third time knocking her off balance, Heard said.
Depp, who has already taken the stand and testified for four days, told jurors a different version of the story.
“It didn’t happen,” he said of the alleged assault. “Why would I take such great offense to someone making fun of a tattoo on my body? That allegation never made any sense to me.”
Through most of Heard’s testimony, Depp stared down at the table in front of him.
Heard said Depp’s violent episodes were usually triggered by some combination of jealousy and drug or alcohol use.
”Johnny on speed is very different from Johnny on opiates. Johnny on opiates is very different from Adderall and cocaine Johnny, which is very different from quaaludes Johnny, but I had to get good at paying attention to the different versions of him,” she said.
Depp has testified that he doesn’t have a problem with alcohol and is famously capable of handling his liquor. He admitted to a problem with prescription pills but said he overcame it.
Depp’s family, friends and employees have similarly downplayed the notion that Depp struggled with alcohol. On Wednesday, Heard said that was a big part of the problem. She said almost everyone around Johnny was charmed by him and excused his bad behavior.
“No one told him. No one was honest with him,” she said. “He passed out in his own vomit, he’d lose control of his body and everyone cleaned up after him. I cleaned up after him.”
Heard’s testimony comes after a forensic psychologist hired by her lawyers testified that Heard suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder from multiple acts of abuse, including sexual violence, allegedly inflicted by Depp.
Depp is suing Heard for libel in Fairfax County Circuit Court after she wrote a December 2018 op-ed in the Washington Post describing herself as “a public figure representing domestic abuse.” The article never mentions Depp by name, but Depp’s lawyers say he was defamed nevertheless because it clearly referred to accusations she made in 2016 during their divorce proceedings.
Johnny Depp’s agent says that ex-wife Amber Heard’s 2018 op-ed piece in The Washington Post describing herself as a victim of domestic abuse was “catastrophic” to Depp’s career and coincided with the loss of a $23 million deal for a “Pirates of the Caribbean” sequel
Depp is seeking $50 million. Heard countersued him for $100 million, also for defamation. The trial is being broadcast live on CourtTV.
Depp spent four days on the stand earlier in the trial, testifying he never struck Heard and that he was the abuse victim. He said he was punched and struck by her on many occasions, and that she threw things at him. He described Heard as having a “need for conflict.”
Psychologist Dawn Hughes, in her testimony Tuesday, acknowledged that Heard at times perpetrated physical violence against Depp, but said it paled in comparison to violence she suffered, which left her intimidated and fearful for her safety.
During cross-examination Wednesday, Hughes acknowledged that she wasn’t making factual determinations that Depp assaulted Heard on specific occasions. But she testified that Heard’s account of her experiences was consistent with accounts of those who are experiencing domestic violence.
Hughes testified that sexual assaults included being forced by Depp to perform oral sex. On cross-examination, though, Depp’s lawyers noted that Heard denied being forced to perform oral sex during psychological testing performed as part of Hughes’ evaluation.
Hughes said Heard initially was framing the encounters as consensual but “angry sex.”
“She wasn’t framing them as physical force,” Hughes said.
The trial, now in its fourth week, continues to capture public attention. More than 100 people were lined up Wednesday before 7 a.m. Eastern time — three hours before proceedings began — outside the courthouse for the 100 seats made available in the courtroom. Most are Depp supporters and fans.
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