Warning: This article may be triggering for some readers. Please read at your own discretion.
She has accused the Pirates of the Caribbean star of abusing her both physically and verbally during their tempestuous relationship.
Depp is suing publisher News Group Newspapers, which produces U.K. tabloid the Sun, and its executive editor, Dan Wootton, over an April 2018 article headlined “Gone Potty — How can JK Rowling be ‘genuinely happy’ casting wife beater Johnny Depp in the new Fantastic Beasts film?”
Depp strongly denies abusing Heard.
In the first session of her testimony, which is expected to last for three days, Heard denied accusations that she was a heavy drug-taker and drinker as well as allegations she was controlling and abusive herself.
Heard, 34, described an incident in January 2015 in a hotel room in Tokyo over a prenuptial agreement between herself and Depp, and suggested there was an argument about it.
She testified there was an argument in the hotel room in Tokyo that resulted in Depp, 57, kneeling on her back and hitting her on the back of the head.
“But then Johnny was also accusing me of having an affair with a co-star, and that is what led to the actual argument,” she said.
In written testimony released as she took to the witness box, Heard said she worried Depp would kill her at various times during their relationship, which allegedly saw her enduring “punching, slapping, kicking, head-butting and choking.”
“Johnny attacked me a lot of times, on many different occasions,” she said.
Heard also said: “Some incidents were so severe that I was afraid he was going to kill me, either intentionally or just by losing control and going too far.”
When asked whether she had a problem controlling her temper, Heard said: “I did have outbursts of anger at times. Yes, I lost my cool with Johnny in our fights.”
According to Heard, Depp “explicitly threatened to kill me many times, especially later in our relationship.”
She also said that he blamed his actions on “a self-created third party” that he referred to as “the monster.”
“He had a violent and dark way of speaking: the way he talked about our relationship being ‘dead or alive’ and telling me that death was the only way out of the relationship; the way he would describe what he wanted to do to me if I left him or hurt him. For example, carving my face up so no one else would want me,” she said.
She said that Depp “demeaned” her “any time I tried to wear anything that could be seen as sexy, calling me a ‘whore’, ‘s–t’, ‘fame-hungry’ and ‘an attention whore,’ but it got worse over time.”
“He started saying things like, ‘Well, I’m going to have to watch you get raped’ and ‘I hope you get railed by a bunch of f–king fellas.’ Sometimes he used racial epithets about the men I would be — or deserved to be — assaulted by,” Heard said in court.
Heard admitted to throwing pots and pans at Depp but “only to escape him.”
Depp and Heard — who met while filming The Rum Diary in 2011 — were married on Feb. 3, 2015. On May 23, 2016, Heard filed for divorce, seeking spousal support. She cited irreconcilable differences as the reason. They were officially divorced on Jan. 13, 2017.
Four days after filing for divorce, Heard requested a temporary domestic violence restraining order against Depp, which the judge granted after she submitted multiple photos as evidence of alleged assault, one of which purportedly shows the actress with what appears to be a bruise on her right eye. She claimed the incident took place on May 21, less than 48 hours before she filed.
The complaint said that while Depp was not named in the Post article, it was clear Heard was talking about him. The lawsuit called her ongoing allegations of domestic abuse “categorically and demonstrably false.”
“They were part of an elaborate hoax to generate positive publicity for Ms. Heard and advance her career,” the lawsuit said, claiming: “She is the perpetrator.”
The suit said Depp has suffered financial losses because of the accusations, including being dropped from his role as Capt. Jack Sparrow in the Pirates of the Caribbean films.
In her article, published in the Post in December 2018, Heard also said she lost an acting role and a contract with a major fashion brand because she went public with her claims of abuse.
“I spoke up against sexual violence — and faced our culture’s wrath,” Heard wrote, adding that she felt as though she was “on trial in the court of public opinion.”
Heard asked a judge to dismiss the defamation lawsuit in April 2019.
While neither Heard nor Depp is on trial, the case is a showdown between the former spouses, who accuse each other of being controlling, violent and deceitful during their marriage.
Depp’s $50-million lawsuit is due to be heard next year.
If you or someone you know is in crisis and needs help, resources are available. In case of an emergency, please call 911 for immediate help.
Are you or someone you know experiencing abuse? Visit the Department of Justice’s Victim Services Directory for a list of support services in your area.
Women, trans and non-binary people can find an additional list of resources here.