Amber Heard’s friend iO Tillett Wright explains 911 domestic violence call

Amber Heard and Johnny Depp are seen together in January 2016.
(Rich Fury / Associated Press)

Amber Heard’s friend iO Tillett Wright, who was identified by the actress in court documents as the person who called 911 on the night Heard says Johnny Depp attacked her, is naming no names but telling what is unmistakably her account of her friends’ relationship.

“I called 911 because she never would,” Wright wrote in an essay published Wednesday by Refinery 29. “Because every time it happened, her first thought was about protecting him. Because every time it happened, the sweet, loving man we all cared for so much would come back with apologies, profuse, swearing up and down that he understood how bad what he had done was, and swearing never to do it again.

“We all loved him,” said the artist and MTV cohost, “but especially, especially her, and she wanted to believe that the behavior wasn’t going to last.”


Wright also alleged additional incidents of domestic violence between the couple, whom she doesn’t identify in her essay, including one in December: “She described an all-out assault and she woke up with her pillow covered in blood,” Heard’s friend said. “I know this because I went to their house. I saw the pillow with my own eyes. I saw the busted lip and the clumps of hair on the floor.”

“He,” Wright said, was like a brother and is a person “who came to my rescue in my darkest hour, who I have credited with saving my own life, who I lived with for a year by his invitation while I healed and worked. I knew him to be soft and gentle, with a temper and a dark side, but a golden heart. I didn’t want to believe it either, until I saw the wreckage.”

Heard, 30, filed for divorce from Depp, 52 whom she married in February 2015 on May 23. Four days later, she was granted a temporary restraining order after she alleged physical abuse by her estranged husband, specifically an attack on May 21.

Depp’s response to the restraining order request, filed by his attorney, Laura A. Wasser, asserted that Heard is “attempting to secure a premature financial resolution by alleging abuse.” It states that Heard’s petition “appears to be in response to the negative media attention she received earlier” that week.

Wright spoke out on social media Monday in defense of Heard in response to a secondhand report in which a concierge at the couple’s New York City apartment building said he’d seen no bruises on the actress’ face the day after the alleged May 21 attack.

“How much evidence does a woman need to present?! She has photos, texts, witnesses, and filed a restraining order,” Wright wrote in a series of tweets that appears to have earned her a chunk of social-media hate. “But no … a neighbor asked a doorman and talked to TMZ and THAT is headline news and serves as “evidence”?! Dear neighbor SHAME ON YOU.”

She continued: “This culture of victim blaming makes me sick. I’m a witness. I’m here. I’m standing up. I can’t take any more of this witch hunt. I was on the ... phone when he hit her. I HEARD HER SCREAM. I will testify. Here and in court. Under oath. WHAT ELSE DOES A WOMAN NEED?”


Wright’s Wednesday essay stands in stark contrast to the May 29 piece written by comedian Doug Stanhope in support of his friend Depp, which was published by The Wrap. In it, the comedian characterized the actors’ marriage as an “awful, abusive relationship” and said Depp told him before May 21 that Heard had threatened to lie publicly to get him to agree to her divorce terms.

Last Friday, Heard sued Stanhope for defamation, TMZ reported.

Attorneys and publicists for Depp and Heard either would not comment or did not respond to The Times’ queries regarding Wright’s essay.

Times staff writer Libby Hill contributed to this report.


Amber Heard was accused of domestic violence by a former girlfriend in 2009

Amber Heard didn’t report abuse by Johnny Depp in order to protect him, attorneys say

Amber Heard and Johnny Depp’s court declarations regarding allegations of domestic violence

Follow Christie D’Zurilla on Twitter @theCDZ.