Johnny Depp Trial: Amber Heard testifies on relationship with Depp
FALLS CHURCH, Va. - Amber Heard took the stand Wednesday in a Fairfax County, Virginia courtroom in the defamation trial involving her ex-husband Johnny Depp.
Johnny Depp Trial Live Updates: Amber Heard expected to testify Wednesday
The libel lawsuit was filed by Depp against Heard over an op-ed piece she wrote in The Washington Post in 2018 in which Heard refers to herself as a "public figure representing domestic abuse." The Post article doesn't mention Depp by name, but he says it clearly refers to her allegation that she suffered physical abuse at his hands. Depp denies the allegation.
Heard took the stand for the first time Wednesday afternoon in the now four-week trial. She described to jurors how her and Depp met 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 the first act of physical violence came 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 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.
The trial, now in its fourth week, continues to capture public attention. More than 100 people were lined up Wednesday before 7 a.m. — the proceedings don’t begin until 10 a.m. — outside the courthouse for the 100 seats made available in the courtroom. Most are Depp supporters and fans.
On Tuesday, a psychologist testified that Heard suffered post-traumatic stress disorder from violence, including sexual violence, she suffered at the hands of Depp. The psychologist, Dawn Hughes, told jurors that there is corroboration of many of the instances of abuse -- including apologies and admissions made by Depp to Heard. Hughes is the first witness to take the stand on Heard's behalf in the four-week trial after Depp rested his case earlier in the day.
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 are consistent with accounts of those 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.
US actor Johnny Depp holds his glasses during a hearing at the Fairfax County Circuit Courthouse in Fairfax, Virginia, on May 3, 2022. - US actor Johnny Depp sued his ex-wife Amber Heard for libel in Fairfax County Circuit Court after she wrote an op
Earlier this week , Depp's agent testified that Heard's op-ed piece in The Washington Post describing herself as a victim of domestic abuse was "catastrophic" to his career. Agent Jack Whigham said Depp lost a $23 million deal for a "Pirates of the Caribbean" sequel following Heard's piece.
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The trial opened April 11, and since its start, Depp has testified regarding his past drug use, has discussed suffering a mental breakdown and talked about the disturbing details surrounding his relationship with Heard. Heard's attorneys have highlighted text messages Depp sent to friends recounting alcohol and drug use and have shown photos that showed cocaine and other drugs they say belonged to the actor.
A forensic psychologist hired by Depp's legal team testified that Heard suffers from borderline and histrionic personality disorder. The psychologist, Shannon Curry, took the stand saying she reached her diagnosis during 12 hours of interviews with Heard and after a review of her mental-health records. Curry also testified that Heard does not suffer post-traumatic stress disorder from her relationship with Depp. On cross-examination, Heard's lawyers questioned Curry for potential bias.
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Actress Amber Heard speaks to her lawyer in the courtroom for the defamation trial against her at the Fairfax County Circuit Courthouse in Fairfax, Virginia, on May 3, 2022. - US actor Johnny Depp sued his ex-wife Amber Heard for libel in Fairfax Cou
Jurors have also heard testimony from Tara Roberts, the woman who managed Depp's private island in the Bahamas who testified that she never saw Heard with any kind of bruises.
Los Angeles police officer Melissa Saenz who testified about her visit to Depp's penthouses just days before Heard filed for divorce and sought a restraining order said that Heard had been crying but she saw no evidence of an injury.
Depp's cross-examination concluded after four days on the witness stand.
During his time on the stand, Depp denied ever hitting Heard and accused her of striking him. Depp said Heard threw liquor bottles and paint cans at him during arguments the two had during their relationship. He also denied cutting off his own finger during a fight with Heard, claiming she severed it when she threw a vodka bottle at him.
Jurors also heard audio clips of Depp berating his then-wife with vulgarities. In other clips, Heard seemingly taunted Depp, suggesting he wouldn't be believed if he were to accuse her of abuse. Jurors were also shown dozens of text messages from Depp to friends regarding drinking, drug use and interactions with Heard.
Throughout the cross-examination, Heard's lawyers focused on Depp's drinking, drug use and heated interactions with her. Depp expressed disapproval and displeasure with many of the questions asked during his four days on the stand.
Earlier in the trial, Depp's older sister, Christi Dembrowski, faced a barrage of questions from Heard's lawyers about Depp's alcohol and drug use. Isaac Baruch, a longtime friend and next-door neighbor of Depp also testified that Amber Heard told him Depp had hit her but he never saw evidence of abuse on her face.
A former personal assistant to Amber Heard, Kate James, also testified in a video deposition that was played in court saying she never saw the actress suffer any physical abuse at the hands of her then-husband but did say Heard once spit in her face when she asked for a higher salary.
Lawyers also presented a video deposition of Laurel Anderson, a couple's therapist who worked with Heard and Depp in 2015 who said both suffered childhood abuse. As a couple, they were engaged in "mutual abuse," Anderson testified.
Depp and Heard met in 2009, were married in 2015. Heard filed for divorce a year later.
The Associated Press contributed to this report