“If I didn’t acknowledge it, it got worse,” Heard testified. But if she did, he would hurl vulgar insults at her, she added during testimony that was at times graphic in detail. Heard also said that Depp attempted to control her career, and she began choosing roles requiring minimal makeup and avoiding romance or sex for her characters — if she chose to work at all — per his comfort level.
Heard’s emotional testimony frequently halted as Depp’s attorneys persistently and successfully objected to various questions, usually citing hearsay or lack of foundation.
The case centers on a 2018 op-ed Heard wrote that was published in the The Washington Post, which alleged domestic abuse from an unnamed person. Depp denied he ever physically abused Heard and sued her for $50 million, claiming the op-ed ruined his life and his career. She countersued him for $100 million after his lawyers said her allegations were fabricated.
Throughout the day, Heard described repeated instances in which Depp became angry with her after she made career moves he disagreed with, such as taking a meeting with writer Clive Barker or a role in “Magic Mike XXL.”
“Nothing I said — no amount of explaining, apologizing, accepting, not accepting, agreeing to not go — nothing worked. Nothing changed how mad he was at me and constantly telling me I had done something wrong to deserve what was happening,” Heard testified. “Until, of course, he takes it too far, hits me too far, breaks too many things in the house and then leaves. Which was the pattern. He would leave and not have to deal with the cleanup.”
Throughout her testimony, Depp wore sunglasses and appeared to be looking down — often leaning over to whisper something to his lawyer and occasionally chuckling.
Heard’s testimony Thursday began by her tracing her growing relationship with Depp who, in August 2013, suggested the two move in together — in part to avoid the media, which he referred to as “vultures,” Heard testified. She thought it could lead to greater stability in their relationship.
The next month, they returned to the London hotel room in which they were first intimate, where he proposed marriage. “I looked into his eyes and I saw my future. Hope, you know,” Heard testified through tears. “Blind hope. I was so in love.” Later, when she brought up a potential prenuptial agreement, she testified that Depp told her he would tear it up because the “only way out of this is death.”
Around the same time, she was filming the thriller “London Fields” and said “every scene that involved sexuality or romance, I’d look on the page and feel my gut tighten because I knew it was going to be an issue.” She said she would have to ask permission to fraternize with the cast of the movie — which he would deny her. “Even if it was platonic, I couldn’t be photographed with other men or women that other people could possibly spin as romantic,” she testified.
Meanwhile, Depp had again failed to stay sober, she said. In October 2013, she witnessed a security guard carrying Depp “like a baby.” She felt as if it were a turning point: “I felt encouraged that we were in a new chapter. That Johnny had finally hit rock bottom and finally, he felt like changing for good.” At their engagement party five months later, she testified that he spent most of the event upstairs, taking drugs with her father.
She testified that Depp’s jealousy, frequently fueled by drugs and alcohol, would often turn violent: “My life changed depending on what he was on.” She said he thought she was “looking at this woman in a sexual way” at the Met Gala and later shoved her and threw a bottle at her, which broke a chandelier. He also, she said, “whacked” her in the face. “I think that was the first time I was like, ‘Is this a broken nose?’”
On another occasion, Heard testified, he was angry that she took a job with actor James Franco. On a plane, he accused her of having an affair with Franco and allegedly began throwing ice cubes and kitchen utensils at her, before slapping her across the face and kicking her in the back.
“It was the first time something like that happened in front of somebody,” she said. “No one did anything.” She added that he probably didn’t remember many of these episodes, saying, “In my experience when Johnny was that inebriated, he would not remember what he had done.”
After the plane incident, she began attending Al-Anon meetings daily and “resolved to leave him” — but they got back together after he promised to become sober with the help of Beverly Hills-based physician David Kipper. She said Depp entered a detox program in August 2014 in the Bahamas but remained violent, attempting to overturn a table bolted to the ground and slapping her across the face.
Heard also discussed her growing attachment to Depp’s children, particularly his daughter, Lily-Rose. Heard said she fought with Depp when she objected to him allowing a famous musician over the age of 18 to sleep at their house, where Lily-Rose was. On another occasion, Heard said, she took Lily-Rose to Benihana for her birthday while Depp slept off a binge.
Heard said they eventually fell into a “pattern” in which “we were both saying awful things to each other, screaming at each other.” But, “nothing I did made him stop hitting me.”
They married in February 2015 in a three-day event Heard called “magic” and during which Depp, according to Heard, was generally sober. “I thought we’d get married and have stability and safety,” she said. A month later, though, he relapsed and the cycle continued. Depp accused her of sleeping with various co-stars, such as actors Eddie Redmayne, Jim Sturgess and Billy Bob Thornton. In one instance, she testified, after he took eight to 10 ecstasy pills, he held her by the neck and slammed her against a wall, at which point she slapped him.
In another instance in Australia, she said, he choked her and wrestled with her on a table. She took a liquor bottle and broke it on the tile floor. Later in the fight, she said he held a broken bottle to her neck and, “he told me he’d carve up my face.” Describing what happened next, which included graphic details of a sexual assault with a liquor bottle, Heard began crying and was unable to continue speaking.
At some point between then and the next day, Heard said, Depp’s finger was injured (previous testimony has described it as a severed fingertip). Heard said she found letters scrawled on the walls in blood. She said there was also paint and mashed potatoes smeared on the walls and the doors, and that she found her nightgown in shreds and wrapped around pieces of raw beef.
“I felt destroyed, like my heart was broken. I didn’t know what to do,” Heard said. “I thought he might die or kill himself, because it was certainly the trajectory he seemed to be on.”
They reconciled. Weeks later, Heard said she learned Depp was having an extramarital relationship. “It felt like everything came crashing down,” she said. The discovery led to a fight that included Heard’s sister, Whitney, whom Depp hit, according to Heard. “For the first time, I hit him. Actually hit him, square in the face,” she said.
In December 2015, Heard said, another fight erupted in which Depp dragged her up the stairs by her hair and shoved her over a chaise longue. Eventually, she said she stood up and “just looked right at his face, and he balled up his fist, leaned back and head-butted me square in the nose.”
“It’s one of the few memories I have in this long relationship I actually remember the physical pain,” she said. “I told him that night I was going to leave him.”
He then dragged her into the bedroom by her hair, threw her on the bed, kneeled on her back and began punching her in the back of the head repeatedly, Heard testified. “I thought, ‘This is how I die,’” she said. “He’s going to kill me now.”
Heard’s testimony is expected to resume on May 16, after the court takes a week-long recess.