Sexual assault allegations, physical violence, and a stifled career: Amber Heard’s testimony on Johnny Depp

Sexual assault allegations, physical violence, and a stifled career: Amber Heard’s testimony on Johnny Depp

WARNING: This article contains allegations of physical and sexual violence that some readers may find distressing.

Amber Heard has testified two days in a row in the defamation trial between her and her ex-husband Johnny Depp.

Ms Heard took the stand on Wednesday (4 May) after being called as a witness by her own team, and returned to the stand on Thursday (5 May). She will be cross-examined by Mr Depp’s legal team later on.

During her first afternoon of testimony, she provided some background on her and Mr Depp’s relationship, recounting how they met, how they fell in love, and sharing several allegations of physical abuse, as well as an allegation of sexual assault.

Ms Heard’s second day of testimony included more accounts of the physical and verbal violence she alleges Mr Depp subjected her to, and another sexual assault allegation.

Here is what we’ve learned from Ms Heard’s testimony so far:

Thursday 5 May

Heard sobs as she recounts fight where Depp allegedly sexually assaulted her

Ms Heard sobbed as she recounted a fight in Australia during which she alleges Mr Depp sexually assaulted her with a bottle.

Ms Heard said her memories of the night came to her as “flashes”. Eventually, she said, Mr Depp was throwing bottles in her direction and she could “feel glass breaking behind [her]” and one bottle going past her head, which left her “terrified”.

She said Mr Depp ripped her nightgown off her chest and that the nightgown was eventually ripped off completely, leaving her naked.

She alleged that Mr Depp started punching the wall next to her head and holding her by the neck. At some point, she said Mr Depp ended up “on top of [her]”, telling her she’d “ruined [his] f****** life”.

“I couldn’t breathe, I couldn’t get through to him, I couldn’t get up,” she said. “I don’t know how that ended. I don’t know how – I don’t know what happened next.” Ms Heard sobbed as she continued: “The next thing I remember, I was bent over backwards on the bar, meaning my chest was up. I was staring at the blue light. My back is on the countertop and I thought he was punching me. I felt this pressure on my pubic bone. I thought he was punching me. I could feel his arm moving and it looked like he was punching me. But I could just feel this pressure.”

Ms Heard said she remembered being still, not wanting to move, looking around the room, and seeing broken bottles and broken glass. “I remember not wanting to move because I didn’t know of it was broken – I didn’t know if the bottle that he had inside me was broken,” she said. “I couldn’t feel it. I didn’t feel pain. I didn’t feel pain. I didn’t feel anything. … I looked around and I saw so much broken glass. … I just remember thinking ‘Please God, please. I hope it’s not broken.’”

Amber Heard testifies Johnny Depp penetrated her with a bottle

Heard tells court she thought Depp was going to kill her

Ms Heard said that she thought Mr Depp was going to kill her “without realising it” at one point.

Ms Heard said Mr Depp was “punching me, punching me repeatedly with his fist”.

“I don’t even remember feeling the pain, I just remember hearing the sound of Johnny’s voice,” she said from the witness stand.

“He got next to my face and he was screaming over and over and over again, each time it sounded louder and more desperate, ‘I f***ing hate you, I f***ing hate you, I f***ing hate you’ over and over. ‘F***ing hate you.’

“Then pounding the back of my head, pounding it with his fist, and I don’t even remember feeling pain, I just could hear myself scream until I couldn’t hear myself any more.

“I could just hear him say that he was going to kill me and that he sounded like an animal in pain when he was saying that he ‘f***ing hated’ me.

“He sounded like he was almost crying, or something in his voice was different, he sounded different, he sounded like he was in agony, it was high-pitched and loud.”

She added: “I don’t know how many times, he just hit me over and over and over again and I got really still, and it felt in my body like quiet.

“And I thought, ‘This is how I die, he’s going to kill me now. He’s going to kill me and he won’t even have realized it.’ I couldn’t breathe. I remember trying to scream and I couldn’t scream.”

Amber Heard at the Fairfax County Courthouse in Fairfax, Virginia, on 5 May 2022

(JIM LO SCALZO/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

Heard says Depp’s jealousy made her give up film roles with sex scenes and revealing outfits

Mr Heard said Mr Depp’s jealousy allegedly made her give up film roles involving sex scenes and revealing outfits.

She spoke of feeling like she had to negotiate with Mr Depp when she received a job offer.

“I’ve always been really independent. I couldn’t imagine not working,” she told the jury on Thursday. “I never imagined myself having to explain or justify my job.”

“I had to bargain … every time I got a script,” she added.

She said Mr Depp told her, “you don’t have to work kid, I will take care of you, my woman doesn’t have to work”.

Ms Heard noted this may appear to have been kind, but she said she felt it was controlling. She added that she soon grew hesitant about what roles to accept to avoid angering Mr Depp.

She said she was thinking about “how I was dressing, what kind of behaviour would I have, did I have a sex scene” in any film role she was considering.

Ms Heard testified that she started “minimising kissing scenes” and that she would “change the wardrobe”.

“I couldn’t have a sex scene,” she added. “It didn’t happen all at once of course, it was little by little.”

She said she began only taking roles that asked for “minimal make up” and didn’t include intimate scenes, adding that it was a “constant battle and negotiation” with Mr Depp.

When she saw sex scenes in scripts she was offered, she said, “I’d look at it and I’d feel my gut tighten”.

She added that she would send the scripts to Mr Depp, as well as images of the wardrobe for a role, and share information with Mr Depp’s staff.

Johnny Depp at the Fairfax County Courthouse in Fairfax, Virginia, on 5 May 2022

(JIM LO SCALZO/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

Heard says Depp subjected her to ‘disgusting’ and violent grilling about sex scene with James Franco

Ms Heard said Mr Depp once subjected her to a “disgusting” and violent grilling about a sex scene she had filmed with actor James Franco.

She was asked about an incident she alleges occurred on a private flight in 2014. At the time, Ms Heard had been cast to star alongside Mr Franco in The Adderall Diaries, a thriller that was ultimately released in 2016.

“He was mad at me for taking the job with James Franco,” Ms Heard said. “He hated, hated James Franco and was already accusing me of secretly having a thing with him in my past, since we had done [the 2008 movie] Pineapple Express together.”

Ms Heard recalled an alleged altercation on a plane, during which she said Mr Depp started questioning her.

“I was polite. I made sure to answer the minimal amount that I could. I moved slowly. I was trying to be polite but not engage, because there was no win,” she said.

“And he kept going, he kept asking me. Eventually, he went from ‘Do you have something to tell me?’ to ‘You wanna tell me how much you liked it? Tell me, did he slip the tongue?’ It got worse and worse.

“It went from asking me about how my kissing scene went or how the sex scene went to asking me what James Franco had done in the scene, to being really explicit about my body … he was saying really disgusting things about my body, about how I liked it, how I responded. And then he started just straight-up taunting me. ‘I know you liked it’. He called me a go-getter. He called me a slut.”

Ms Heard said the scene unfolded in front of some members of Mr Depp’s staff.

“I remember I felt – I struggle to be able to tell you how embarrassed I was, because he was speaking to me in front of people in this way,” she said, alleging that Mr Depp used “sexually explicit descriptions of what he accused me of wanting or deserving”.

She said the fight continued, with Mr Depp slapping her in the face. At one point, she said she she walked away, her back to Mr Depp.

“I feel this boot in my back. He just kicked me. In the back,” she said. “I fell to the floor, I caught myself on the floor and I just felt like I was looking at the floor of the plane for a long time. I thought to myself, ‘I don’t know what to do. I can’t believe – did he just kick me?’

“No one said anything. No one did anything. You could hear a pin drop on that plane. You could feel the tension. But no one did anything. And I just remember feeling so embarrassed that he could kick me to the ground in front of people. And more embarrassing, I didn’t know what to do about it. I got up and I walked to the front of the plane. I sat down and I just looked out of the window.”

Amber Heard claims Johnny Depp’s jealousy made her give up film roles with sex scenes

Wednesday 4 May

Heard describes ‘painful’ legal proceedings

Asked by her attorney Elaine Bredehoft why she was at the Fairfax County Courthouse in Virginia, Ms Heard replied: “I am here because my ex-husband is suing me for an op-ed I wrote.”

“How do you feel about that?” Ms Bredehoft asked.

“I struggle to find the words to describe how painful this is,” Ms Heard replied.

“This is horrible for me, to sit here for weeks and relive everything – 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 that they have. This is the most painful and difficult thing I have ever gone through, for sure.”

Ms Bredehoft then asked Ms Heard to describe her experience testifying as a witness in the 2020 trial in which Mr Depp sued The Sun in the UK for libel.

“I had to write – I think I gave seven witness statements under oath,” Ms Heard replied. “I sat on the stand for four days, under mostly cross-examination. And up until this point, it was the hardest I’d ever had to do.”

A judge in the UK case ruled against Mr Depp in November 2020.

Ms Heard was sued by Mr Depp in 2019 for alleged defamation over an op-ed she wrote in The Washington Post in late 2018. Mr Depp is not named in the piece, but Ms Heard describes herself in it as “a public figure representing domestic abuse”.

Mr Depp has asked for $50m in damages.

Ms Heard has countersued Mr Depp, accusing him of allegedly orchestrating a “smear campaign” against her and describing his own lawsuit as a continuation of “abuse and harassment.”

She has asked for $100m in damages and immunity against Mr Depp’s allegations.

Amber Heard testifies at the Fairfax County Courthouse

(Elizabeth Frantz/POOL/AFP via Getty)

Heard alleges Depp made her feel ‘dirty’ about her acting career

Elsewhere in her testimony, Ms Heard described how she says Mr Depp wooed her and her family early in their relationship. She says Mr Depp lavished her with gifts and attention and got along with her parents, to the point that “I think my dad would have married him himself if I hadn’t”.

Mr Depp, she alleged, had a pattern of disappearing and returning “different”. She said she felt compelled to stop talking about auditions she attended as an actor “because it would change the mood so dramatically”.

“It felt really dirty to be an actor. Nevermind that he was one. It was dirty that I wanted to do this job that I wanted to do and I was doing the job of an actress,” she told the court.

Amber Heard testifies about Johnny Depp allegedly hitting her for the first time

Heard recounts alleged physical and verbal violence:

Ms Heard alleged Mr Depp would make comments about her wardrobe, and recounted what she described as “a blow-up”.

“At first, it was just he’d throw something, smash some things,” she said. “He loves to smash up a place, an apartment, furniture. That’s what it started with, a glass. He threw a glass at me. I remember, it was summer. And he just threw this glass across the kitchen. It didn’t hit me. It shattered behind me, and I remember thinking that it very easily could have hit me.”

Ms Heard alleged Mr Depp would use disparaging language with her, calling her a “whore”, adding: “It didn’t start with using the ‘whore’ word, it was just comments, until it would escalate”.

She recalled what she described as a “pattern of escalation, where he’d throw a glass or turn over a table, then he would hit the wall and he would hit the wall really close to my head.”

“You know, like, when I’m standing there, you know, just hit the wall, screaming at me,” she added.

“Then he would disappear and get clean and sober, and he’d come back and tell me that he was done drinking, he was over it, it was done, he’d cleaned himself up, he had done it before and he would do it again. And then he would go back to this wonderful, almost unreal – real, but unbelievably nice, sensitive, kind, warm, generous, interesting, funny man that I loved.

“And he would make me feel so loved. I would feel so distant from that thing that was so scary that I would not even recognise it. That was how our relationship kind of started developing that first year.”

Johnny Depp reacts next to his attorney Ben Chew as Amber Heard testifies

(Elizabeth Frantz/POOL/AFP via Getty)

Asked to recount the first time Mr Depp allegedly hit her, Ms Heard said: “It’s seemingly so stupid, so insignificant. I will never forget it. It changed my life.”

She alleged she and Mr Depp were “sitting on the couch… talking … having a normal conversation.

“There was no fighting, no argument, nothing,” she said. “He was drinking and I didn’t realise at the time but I think he was using cocaine because there was a jar – a jar of cocaine on the table.”

She said she asked Mr Depp about a tattoo on his arm.

“And to me, it just looked like black marks,” she said. “I didn’t know what it said. It just looked like a muddled, faded tattoo that was hard to read.”

Ms Heard said Mr Depp told her the tattoo said “wino”.

“I thought he was joking, because it didn’t look like it said that at all. And I laughed. It was that simple. I just laughed, because I thought he was joking. And he slapped me across the face,” she said.

“And I laughed. I laughed because I didn’t know what else to do. I thought, ‘This must be a joke. This must be a joke.’ I didn’t know what was going on. I just stared at him, kind of laughing still, thinking that he was going to start laughing too, to tell me it was a joke, but he didn’t. He said, ‘You think it’s so funny? You think it’s funny, b****? You think you’re a funny b****?’ And he slapped me again. I was clear it wasn’t a joke anymore.”

Amber Heard accuse Depp of performing a cavity search on her searching for cocaine

Heard alleges Depp sexually assaulted her while looking for his drugs

Ms Heard alleged that Mr Depp once sexually assaulted her while searching for his drugs, after accusing her of hiding his cocaine.

“He starts patting me down or saying he’s patting me down, I can’t recall – but he ripped my dress, the strap top part of my dress,” she told the court. “I had just dyed this thing myself, pink … He’s grabbing my breasts, he’s touching my thighs, he rips my underwear off and he proceeds to do a cavity search. He said he was looking for his drugs, his cocaine. His coke.”

Ms Heard added: “I was wondering how somebody who didn’t do cocaine and was against it – that was in and of itself causing problems in our relationship. How could I hide, why would I hide his drugs? He was insinuating that I was doing it, or something? It made no sense. And he was telling me, ‘We’re gonna conduct a cavity search.’ He just shoved his fingers inside me. And I just stood there staring at the stupid light. I didn’t know what to do. I just stood there while he did that, he twisted his fingers around.”

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