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Court proceedings in the defamation trial that has pitted Amber Heard against her ex-husband Johnny Depp resumed Monday after a week-long break.
The former spouses were last seen in the courtroom on May 5, when Heard detailed for the court multiple instances of alleged assault at the hands of Depp.
Heard’s testimony continued Monday as she returned to the stand, recalling what she believed to be the first act of alleged physical violence Depp committed against her.
She said the violence first took place in early 2012, changing her previous testimony that the violence occurred in 2013.
Heard alleged Depp hit her for the first time when she asked about his “Wino Forever” tattoo — ink adapted from a former tattoo that referenced Depp’s ex-girlfriend, Winona Ryder.
Heard’s legal team submitted several photos of Heard at various red carpet events. In the images, Heard is seen with “scars” on her arms. She claimed the scars were from an alleged attack in Australia where she said Depp held her against a glass-covered countertop and sexually assaulted her with a liquor bottle.
Depp claims Heard severed the tip of his finger on this trip. He testified earlier in the trial this occurred when she threw a glass bottle at his hand.
Heard testified Depp has a history of self-harm, and would regularly press knives into his skin, causing him to bleed superficially.
Heard also testified about a widely talked-about incident when Depp alleged she defecated on his side of their bed while they were married. She vehemently denied the act, claiming it is “disgusting” and that she “was not in a pranking mood” because “my life was falling apart.”
Heard later testified she met with Depp in 2016 following a month of separation. She said it was shortly after Depp’s mother died.
Depp was still fixated on the alleged defecation, said Heard, insisting she or one of her friends had done it as a prank.
After what Heard claimed was a heated phone call between the ex-spouses and a friend of Heard, she told the court Depp threw a phone at her face.
She testified the fight escalated before another one of her friends attempted to deescalate the situation. The friend put her hands on Depp’s chest and insisted he calm down.
Heard continued to testify that Depp remained violent, destroying property in the apartment.
She testified that about an hour after the fight, police were called to the residence.
Heard said her friend took several photos of her face — some of which have previously been shown in court — to potentially present to the police. In the photos, Heard’s cheekbone appears visibly red from where she claims the thrown phone hit her.
Heard testified that she decided not to report the incident to the police, saying that she wanted to “protect” Depp. With a sigh, Heard said she “didn’t want the world to know.”
When asked why she filed for divorce, Heard told her lawyer, “I knew if I didn’t I’d likely not literally survive. I was so scared that it was going to end really badly for me.”
“I really didn’t want to leave him, I loved him so much,” she said. “I couldn’t stay. I believe he would’ve taken it too far and I wouldn’t be here.”
“The violence was normal and not the exception,” Heard testified.
She said she received a temporary restraining order (TRO) when she filed for divorce because “I just wanted to change my locks.”
“The person I was scared of was the person I was also in love with.”
Heard also told the court that everything she’s testified so far “has been the truth.”
She pointed to numerous photos, text messages and other correspondence admitted in court, saying that it would be “crazy” to make things up for years.
“I didn’t want this. I don’t want to be here,” she told the jury. Heard testified she never wanted the information about their relationship to be made public. “I was begging him not to make me prove it.”
“I didn’t want to hurt him. I loved him so much,” she said, adding that is why she did not file a criminal charge against Depp.
Heard appeared to fight back tears on the stand, telling jurors she never wanted to be called a liar.
Heard testified that after their divorce, Depp’s “smear campaign” directed massive press attention towards her and her family, casting doubt on her claims and overall character.
“All I have is my name. All I have is my integrity, and that is what he tried to take from me,” she said. She added that, in the divorce, she was “not interested in Johnny’s money.”
Heard’s lawyers then moved on to the counterclaim she has filed against Depp, in which she is asking for $100 million for claims made in the press by Depp’s lawyer, Adam Waldman.
The court was shown three separate online news articles, published in the U.K.’s Daily Mail in 2020, in which Waldman called Heard’s accusations of abuse against Depp “a hoax” and “fake.”
“I have mountains of evidence, mountains of proof,” she said, adding that at that point she was still trying to protect Depp and keep the details of the alleged abuse private.
Asked to describe the emotional impact of Waldman’s statements, Heard said she is forced to relive the pain every day and that her acting and modelling offers have dried up.
She said after the articles were published, she was effectively erased from a L’Oreal beauty campaign she had been working on, was dropped from the television series The Stand and her role in the Aquaman franchise was significantly diminished.
Breaking down in tears, she told the court, “I just wanted him (Depp) to leave me alone. I just want to move on with my life, and he won’t let me.”
Following a short break, Depp’s lawyers launched into their cross-examination.
They began by asking Heard why Depp has refused to make eye contact with her throughout the trial.
“He promised that you would never see his eyes again, didn’t he, Ms. Heard?” lawyer Camille Vasquez asked, referencing a promise Depp had made to Heard during one of their last meetings after their separation.
Vasquez also asked Heard repeatedly about the rings Depp is known to wear on each finger, pointing to several photos and videos of Heard’s face and body, taken at red carpet and television appearances, where large ring-like marks were not visible, despite Heard’s allegations that she had been physically abused by Depp during these times.
Vasquez called into question multiple altercations between the couple, asking why Heard did not provide photo or medical evidence to the jury of those alleged instances of violence.
Heard also told the court she did not seek medical treatment after the Australia incident, when Depp allegedly raped her with a liquor bottle.
Heard denied leaking photos of her alleged injuries, which made their way to the cover of People Magazine in 2016. She also said she was not the one who leaked the pictures, along with a video of Depp smashing cabinets in a drunken rage. the day before the deposition in her divorce settlement.
Before the conclusion of Monday’s proceedings, Heard was pressed about what happened to the $7 million settlement she was awarded in her divorce from Depp.
Heard had publicly promised to split the proceeds between two charities — the American Civil Liberties Union and a California children’s hospital.
Heard told the court she hasn’t yet fulfilled the donation, put plans to “fully honour” her promise.
“I use ‘pledge’ and ‘donation’ synonymously,” Heard testified.
“I don’t,” replied Vasquez.
Heard told the court she hasn’t been able to parcel out the money yet “because Johnny sued me.”
Earlier in the proceedings, which began on April 12 and will wrap up on May 27, Depp denied many of the allegations, insisting that he is a “Southern gentleman” and that he had not been addicted to alcohol or illicit drugs.
This week, the jury will also hear from Heard’s sister, Whitney Henriquez, as well as actor Ellen Barkin, who was in a brief relationship with Depp during the 1990s.
Depp is also expected to be called back to the witness stand as part of Heard’s case.
In the legal battle between the two stars, both Heard, 36, and Depp, 58, claim to be victims of violence. The initial court case began when Depp filed a US$50-million defamation lawsuit over a Washington Post op-ed penned by Heard in late 2018 about domestic abuse.
Heard did not mention Depp by name in the article, but the actor alleges his reputation and career were still “devastated” as a result.
Heard is countersuing Depp for $100 million.