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Amber Heard feared Johnny Depp ‘would have taken it too far,’ so she sought divorce

A woman raises two hands out in front of herself while testifying in court
On the witness stand Monday, Amber Heard demonstrates how she says her friend raised her hands to fend off Johnny Depp in April 2016.
(Steve Helber / Associated Press)

Through an onslaught of defense objections, Amber Heard continued her direct testimony Monday morning with accusations of numerous incidents of domestic violence by ex-husband Johnny Depp and other damning allegations.

After a week off, the defamation trial between actors Depp and Heard resumed Monday in Virginia. The protracted trial, which is expected to wind down by the end of next week, is being broadcast and streamed live on CourtTV.

On Monday, Heard illustrated her testimony with a number of photos of her face after a May 21, 2016, incident at the couple’s downtown Los Angeles penthouse, where she alleged — among other things — that Depp threw a cell phone that hit her in the face.

Amber Heard broke down in sobs while testifying for the second day in a row in her defamation trial against ex-husband Johnny Depp.

The photos were taken by Heard’s friend Raquel “Rocky” Pennington, who lived with her then-fiancé in another penthouse in the same building. Taken from various angles and in different lighting, they appeared to show red marks on Heard’s right cheek and above her right eye.

Heard said Pennington had come to her unit during the alleged dispute and had raised her hands toward Depp to try to calm him down.

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“I’ll never forget it,” Heard said. “Just in a very slow, concentrated way, put both of her hands up, like I’ve seen it done with horses ... she just went ‘No. No, Johnny, no.’”

She said Depp hit both of Pennington’s arms off his chest and then “barreled” toward his then-wife. On the stand, periodically dabbing at her eyes with her fingers, Heard accused Depp of knocking things off countertops and trashing items in the penthouse as he left the dwelling. Then her legal team presented photos of what the “Pirates of the Caribbean” star had allegedly done.

Johnny Depp and Amber Heard’s defamation trial was parodied during the latest episode of ‘Saturday Night Live,’ hosted by Selena Gomez.

Testimony continues through Thursday this week, from 6 a.m. through about 3 p.m. Pacific, and then will run during the same hours next week, including on May 27, which is when closing arguments are expected.

Heard said she didn’t cooperate with the police officers who arrived on the scene after the alleged incident under advice from an attorney.

“I wanted to protect Johnny,” she said. “I didn’t want him to be arrested. I didn’t want him to be in trouble. I didn’t want the world to know. I didn’t want this to come out. I didn’t want him to be in trouble.”

Heard alleged that Depp had “delusional thinking” at times as their relationship came to a head in May 2016 and ranted to her on the phone about “scientists and DNA and feces,” apparently referring to what Depp had testified was human waste left on their bed after a previous argument.

A psychologist has testified that actor Amber Heard suffered post-traumatic stress disorder from violence, including sexual violence, she suffered at the hands of her ex-husband Johnny Depp.

On the stand, Heard blamed Depp’s dog Boo — not herself or any of her friends — for the feces Depp found on the bed. She said they would regularly leave Boo snuggled up on the bed until it was time to go outside on the patio for a “bathroom break,” because Boo had “eaten Johnny’s weed” when she was a pup and had had “bowel control issues” ever since.

“First of all, I don’t think that’s funny,” she testified in answer to a question about whether she considered feces left on a bed to be a prank. “I don’t know what grown woman does. I was not also in a pranking mood. My life was falling apart. I was at a crossroads in my life, it was really serious, and I had just been attacked on my 30th birthday by my violent husband with whom I was desperately in love and knew I needed to leave.

“It was not really a jovial time, and I don’t think that’s funny, period. That’s disgusting.”

Depp is suing Heard for defamation, and she is countersuing him as they air their dirty laundry to the world.

She also said she and Depp had no discussions about divorce on May 21.

“We didn’t have time. He was obsessed with dog poop,” Heard said. “That’s what he wanted to talk about.”

She said she made the decision to file for divorce in the days following the alleged clash, then appeared to fight back tears when her attorney asked her why she decided to file.

Under cross-examination, Johnny Depp was asked if he was more upset by events in 2016 than by what Amber Heard wrote in allegedly defamatory article.

“I knew if I didn’t I’d likely not literally survive,” Heard said. “I’d been so scared that it was going to end really badly for me, and I really didn’t want to leave him. I loved him. So much. More than anything, but I couldn’t do that one thing; I couldn’t stay. The promise and the hope that I had had become less and less regular and more and more rare. ... The violence was now normal and not the exception. It was so hard. It was so hard, but I knew I had to do it. I believe he would have taken it too far and I wouldn’t be here.”

In the defamation case, Depp as plaintiff has the burden of proving that what Heard wrote in a 2018 Washington Post essay was false. If the jury believes it to be true, he loses. In the op-ed, Heard presented herself as “a public figure representing domestic abuse.”


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