In his second day of testimony in the trial of Johnny Depp versus Amber Heard, the actor depicted a toxic relationship with his ex-wife, who exhibited “a need for conflict” and “a need for violence.”
“It could begin with a slap. It could begin with a shove. It could begin with, you know, throwing a TV remote at my head. It could be throwing a glass of wine in my face. But all in all, it was just constant,” he said.
As he did Tuesday, Depp offered a rebuke of his ex-wife’s claims that she was a victim of domestic violence during their brief marriage that began in 2015 and was over a year later. The Pirates of the Caribbean actor — dressed in a grey suit, his hair in a ponytail — described a controlling Heard who weaponized his relationship with his abusive mother and allegedly attacked her husband with “a parade of insults.”
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“I was sort of not allowed to be right, not allowed to have a voice,” he said. “So at a certain point, when that enters your mind is [when] you start to slowly realize that you are in a relationship with your mother in a sense, and I know that that sounds perverse and obtuse. But the fact is some people search for weaknesses and sensitivities. And when you’ve told that person your life and what you’ve lived through, what you’ve been through, as happens in relationships, the more that became ammunition from [Heard] … to either verbally decimate me or to send me into a kind of tailspin of confusion and depression.”
Heard, who sat mostly motionless during Depp’s testimony on Tuesday, was more animated in court on Wednesday, smirking as her ex portrayed her as someone who undermined his own quest for sobriety and who imbibed drugs like ecstasy and speed and drank heavily. “‘How about you get sobriety and share this sobriety with me to support me and help me through this?’” he says he asked her, but she declined.
Depp’s self-described position as a victim who “would often hide in the bathroom to get away from Ms. Heard during arguments” and endured her “high school bullying tactics” followed a day in which his legal team laid the groundwork for humanizing the A-list actor whose career took a nosedive in the wake of allegations that he physically abused Heard.
The movie star filed a $50 million defamation suit against Heard in 2019 over a 2018 Washington Post op-ed she wrote in which the Aquaman actress detailed her plight as an abuse survivor who “felt the full force of our culture’s wrath for women who speak out.” With the Fairfax County Courthouse in Virginia serving as a backdrop in the battle of the Hollywood stars, Depp reiterated his testimony from Tuesday that he “never struck Ms. Heard. I‘ve never struck a woman in my life.”
The televised trial, which also will feature Heard on the stand, is expected to last six weeks.
Depp’s testimony marks the first time he has discussed at length the domestic violence accusations that Heard leveled against him as well as the career repercussions he experienced in the wake of their nasty 2016 split, which featured a temporary restraining order, grisly photos of Heard’s seemingly bruised face, and a flood of embarrassing details on Depp’s drug use.
Depp’s team is hoping to convince the seven-member jury that his reputation was irreparably harmed by the op-ed, which he counters is based on “lies” and is “diabolical.” Although Depp wasn’t specifically named in the piece, it was widely assumed at the time that she was speaking directly about her ex-husband.
Heard, who countersued Depp for $100 million in 2020, is expected to take the stand later in the trial in an effort to undermine Depp’s efforts to paint her as the violent perpetrator and he the passive victim of her wrath. The high-stakes case, which has received gavel-to-gavel coverage in the United States and abroad, where the actor enjoys a rabid fanbase, will come down to who the jury believes is more credible.
Depp’s testimony followed witnesses, including his head of security Sean Bett and longtime sound engineer Keenan Wyatt, who both said on the stand that Depp never abused Heard or any other woman, a position reiterated by the actor in his three hours on the stand on Tuesday.
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