He denies having ever “hit Amber Heard or any other woman in his lifetime”. The actress’s lawyers claim, on the contrary, that Johnny Depp was turning into “demon” when he was drinking or taking drugs, and he “verbally, psychologically, physically and sexually assaulted” his ex-wife.
Married from 2016 to 2018, the former couple has been fighting for fifteen days now in a merciless legal battle in the court of Fairfax, Virginia (United States), scheduled to last until May 20. That is six weeks of great unpacking with videos, audio messages, text messages of insults and details on the intimate life of the two actors, who accuse each other of domestic violence.
The interpreter of the famous pirate Jack Sparrow sues Amber Heard for defamation and demands 50 million dollars from her, because of a tribune that she had published in the washington post (article in English) in 2018. In this text, the now 36-year-old actress did not name Johnny Depp, 58, but referred to the domestic violence charges she had brought against him in 2016. The actor assures that these accusations have harmed his career, since he notably had to give up his long collaboration with Disney studios as part of the saga Pirates of the Caribbean. His former wife filed a complaint in turn for defamation, demanding 100 million dollars.
Halfway through this ruthless trial, where all shots seem allowed, franceinfo takes stock of what to remember from the hearings, broadcast live on American news channels.
Johnny Depp accuses Amber Heard of ‘hitting’ him
During the first three days, the Hollywood actor sought, as a witness, to convince the jury that he had been the victim of violence on the part of his ex-wife, which she allegedly inflicted on him during their marriage. . For now, he is the only one to have spoken directly. Amber Heard’s lawyers took the floor to represent her: the Texas actress will give her version in the coming weeks.
Johnny Depp said things started to change in his marriage when he felt he “was suddenly just bad about everything” in the eyes of his wife, describing regular episodes of violence. “It could start with a slap, a shove. She threw a TV remote control at my head, a glass of wine in my face”he explained, saying that the actress had “a need for conflict, a need for violence”.
The actor’s former bodyguard testified Thursday, supporting his accusations. Malcolm Connolly closely followed the couple’s setbacks, saying that at first “everything was great” then “that Amber started to change”. He never witnessed any violence but said he saw scratches and wounds on Johnny Depp’s face. “Most of these marks were happening on the left side of his face (…). There could be scratches on his neck. Maybe a swollen corner of the lip, a bruise in the eye socket. It was getting more regular. Not every week, but it was happening for sure”he described.
Overwhelming recordings and text messages on both sides
Sign of the toxicity of their marriage, Johnny Depp explained that they had, each on their side, got into the habit of recording their altercations. These audio passages have been widely exploited by lawyers on both sides.
In a dependent recording for the actress ofAquamanwe hear him confess to having “typed” the interpreter of Jack Sparrow. “I’m sorry I didn’t slap you properlyshe says. I don’t know what the movement of my hand was. But you are fine. I didn’t hurt you. What am I supposed to do? I’m not going to sit here and complain like you (…). You’re a real baby, grow up a little, Johnny!”
The actor’s lawyers also chose to broadcast a passage where we hear Amber Heard throwing at him: “Tell the world Johnny! Tell them: ‘I, Johnny, a man, am a victim of domestic violence!’ And we’ll see how many people will believe you and be on your side.” This recording is supposed to accredit the fact that he was well beaten by his ex-wife. “What did you answer?” Jessica Meyers, one of the actor’s attorneys, asked her client. “I replied that yes, I am”he launched.
Amber Heard’s lawyers then counter-attacked, showing an inglorious face of the actor. “Shut up big bunch!” we hear him screaming at the one who was then his wife. He also wrote wanting “Burn Amber” and “kiss his burnt corpse afterwards, for [s]‘ensure she was dead’in a message sent to a friend of his in 2013. “It’s a Monty Python reference”, said the interested party to justify himself. In another SMS, sent to one of her friends in April 2015, two months after their marriage, Johnny Depp spoke of her as a “dirty whore”.
He claims to have had a severed finger during an argument
In his description of the violence he says he suffered, the actor dwelt on a finger injury that the young woman allegedly inflicted on him during an argument in March 2015. Accompanied by Amber Heard, Johnny Depp was then in Australia for the filming of the fifth film in the series Pirates of the Caribbean.
“She walked over to me and grabbed the bottle of vodka. She backed up and threw it at me,” narrated the actor, miming the scene at the helm. His right middle finger would then have been deeply cut. “I was looking at my bone. The blood was just flowing”, he testified while showing his finger. Photos of the injury and the actor lying on a stretcher in hospital were shown in the courtroom.
Heard as a witness, the property manager of the house in which they were staying claims to have found the fingertip in a piece of paper “crumpled” in the middle of the debris, reports the New York Times.
Amber Heard’s lawyers say he severed his own fingertip by smashing a phone against a wall and have warned they will present evidence in the coming days.
Psychologist Says Amber Heard Has Personality Disorders
Throughout the trial, jurors heard from a number of medical and mental health professionals. The most striking testimony is undoubtedly that of a psychologist, hired by Johnny Depp’s lawyers, who presented a diagnosis drawn up after having evaluated the actress, in December 2021, over a period of twelve hours.
At the helm, Shannon Curry assured that Amber Heard had a personality disorder borderline and histrionic personality disorder, reports The Guardian (article in English). She explained that she oscillated between “princess and victim”with a presentation of itself “overly dramatic”.
According to the expert, people with the disorders observed in Amber Heard “may react violently”and “often have abusive behavior towards their partners“. Anyone attempting an intimate relationship with such a personality would risk, in her opinion, going from “Idolatry in the trash”.
The actress’ lawyers sought to discredit this testimony, arguing that the psychologist had been hired by the opposing party. “I report scientific facts regardless of what they tell us”replied Shannon Curry.
Actor admits to addiction issues since he was 11
His drug and alcohol abuse are at the heart of the trial and Amber Heard’s teams have drowned Johnny Depp in questions on the subject, with the idea of undermining his credibility. Among the elements raised: a message sent to one of his friends, in which he said he was about to board a plane in “having not eaten in days, drank half a bottle of whiskey, two of champagne, 1,000 vodka-Red Bull cocktails and taken pills”.
The first time Johnny Depp did drugs, he said, was when he was 11. His mother abused him physically and verbally, as did his siblings and father, according to his testimony. Sometimes she would ask him to bring her her bottle of “nerve pills” to calm down. Him too “wanted to calm down”reports the American online media Insider (article in English)and so started taking the pills himself “to escape the chaotic nature of what we were experiencing”.
However, “I’m not a weirdo who needs to get high or do drugs all the time”, he claimed, stating that the extent of his alcohol and drug use “is grossly embellished” by his ex-wife.
Johnny Depp thinks he’s “done” in the movie industry
On Wednesday, Johnny Depp’s ex-agent claimed that the actor was indeed removed from Pirates of the Caribbean 6 because of the accusations of domestic violence brought against him, by Amber Heard, in the washington post. The reason for this decision by Disney studios has never been explained, but “it’s accepted in the industry”said Christian Carino, mentioning “conversations with colleagues and studio managers”.
Johnny Depp had also been forced out of the franchise Fantastic Beasts of Warner Bros at the end of 2020, after losing a previous lawsuit he himself had brought against the English tabloid The Sun. The newspaper called him “wifebeater” (wife hitter) in a 2018 article.
The faltering career of the three-time Oscar nominee was a recurring theme throughout his defense. “Whatever the outcome of this trial, I’m finished”he assured the audience.
“It’s kind of weird when one day you’re Cinderella, so to speak, and then 0.6 seconds [plus tard] you are Quasimodo. I didn’t deserve this.”Johnny Depp
during his trial, April 19, 2022
In his opening statement, his attorney, Benjamin Chew, argued, saying: “For nearly thirty years, Mr. Depp has built a reputation as one of Hollywood’s most talented actors, a respected entertainer whose name was associated with box office success. Today, his name is associated with a lie, a false statement made by his former wife”according to his remarks reported by Vanity Fair. One of Amber Heard’s tips counterattacked: “His career is in free fall, but it’s because of problems he created, problems for which he is responsible.”