In a relationship, there are almost always two versions of events. In the case of Amber Heard and Johnny Depp, these versions could not be more opposed. On Wednesday, Heard told Fairfax County District court in Virginia that her former husband not only beat her and psychologically abused her, but also sexually assaulted her. Depp, meanwhile, has maintained that he “never struck” the actress, nor any other woman.
Depp, 58, is suing Heard, 36, for $50 million for defaming him in an op-ed she wrote for The Washington Post in 2018, in which she described herself as “a public figure representing domestic abuse.” Although the opinion piece did not identify Depp by name, the actor argues that the accusations “permeated the industry,” leading to his suspension from the Pirates of the Caribbean movie franchise, his most successful to date.
Over the past few weeks, Depp has told his side of the story, but on Wednesday, it was Heard’s turn to take the stand. The actress, dressed in a suit, began by describing the emotional toll the trial has taken on her.
“I struggle to find the words to describe how painful this is. This is horrible for me to sit here for weeks and relive everything. To hear people that I knew, some well, some not, my ex-husband with whom I shared a life, speak about our lives in the way they have,” said Heard, who described the trial as “the most painful and difficult thing I’ve gone through, for sure.”
During her statement, Depp – wearing dark glasses with his hair in a ponytail – kept his head slightly lowered and avoided meeting his ex-wife’s gaze. Every now and again, he made a face, for instance when Heard talked about their life together, and sometimes he made comments to his lawyer.
From fairytale to nightmare
In her testimony, Heard spoke about how she met Depp, the chemistry between them, and how they fell in love despite their age difference. She said the actor was “kind,” “generous” and treated his parents well. She remembered a knife they bought together that was engraved with the Spanish phrase “Hasta la muerte” – or “until death.” But what seemed like a fairytale romance soon turned into a nightmare.
Heard told court that Depp was a different person when under the influence of drugs. “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.
Heard said she started to feel intimidated by Depp, claiming he hurt her when she confronted him about his alleged drug problems during a trip to the Bahamas. “He slams me up by my neck and holds me there for a second and tells me that he could fucking kill me and that I was an embarrassment,” she said.
Heard said the first time Depp allegedly hit her was after she laughed at his tattoo, which initially read “Winona Forever,” in reference to his former partner actress Winona Rider, but was changed to “Wino Forever.” “I knew I couldn’t just forgive him, right, because that means it will happen again,” she said. “I wish I could sit here and say I walked out of that house.”
Heard also accused Depp of sexually abusing her during a trip to a trailer park in California in May 2013. According to the actress, Depp first had an argument with another woman, who he believed was flirting with Heard. She told the court that she tried to calm him down and they went back to their trailer. Heard became emotional as she described what happened next.
She said: “He starts patting me down, he ripped my dress. He’s grabbing my breasts, he’s touching my thighs, he rips my underwear off and then he proceeds to do a cavity search. He said he was looking for his cocaine, his coke.”
Heard cried as she said: “He just shoved his fingers inside me. I just stood there staring at the stupid light, I didn’t know what to do. He twisted his fingers around. I didn’t say stop or anything.”