Amber Heard said she knew she should have let go of Johnny Depp the first time he hit her, but she couldn’t bring herself to do it.
“I knew I couldn’t just forgive him, right, because that meant it was going to happen again. Like, I watched the health class videos,” Heard told the court, sobbing as she sat on the podium.“I was sad.”
Heard testified that she walked away after being slapped, but after a few days Depp returned with an apology, a few instances of her favorite wine, and a promise he would never do it again.
“I wanted to believe him, so I chose to,” she said.
Depp, 58, is suing Heard for defamation in Virginia’s Fairfax County Court after she wrote December 2018, editorial in The Washington Post She describes herself as a “public figure representing domestic violence”. The article never mentioned Depp by name, but Depp’s lawyers say he was defamed nonetheless because it clearly referred to the accusations she made in 2016 during the divorce proceedings.
Heard took the podium for the first time Wednesday afternoon in the now four-week trial. She described to jurors how they met on the set of a movie and fell in love.
Despite the 22-year age difference, Heard said there was an instant connection when Depp met her because he considered her for a role in his movie “The Rum Diary.”
Heard, now 36, said, “I was an actor with no name. I was 22. I was twice my age. He’s this world-famous actor, and here we go with mystery books, old blues.”
While they had chemistry while filming the movie, she said they didn’t start dating until they had a press tour for the movie’s release in 2011. At first, they kept their relationship a secret.
“We weren’t doing ordinary things in life…we were in this bubble of secrecy, and it just felt like a warm glow,” she said.
She said the first act of physical violence came when she was looking at someone with tattoos and couldn’t read them. She laughed when Depp told her he said “Wino” – a change in tattoo he made when he was dating actor Winona Ryder.
“I only laughed because I thought he was joking, and [he] Slap me in the face,” Heard said.
She laughed again, thinking it was a joke.
“I didn’t know what was going on. I just stared at him, still kind of laughing, thinking he was going to start laughing too, telling me it was a joke. But he didn’t. He said, ‘You think it’s so funny?” You think it’s funny, b****? …and slapped me again.”
She said she didn’t know how to act. “I just stared at him because I didn’t know what to do. And he slapped me again. So hard.” She said the third slap upset her balance.
Depp, who took the stand and testified for four days,from the story.
“It didn’t happen,” he said of the alleged assault. “Why would I take such a big insult to someone making fun of tattoos on my body? This claim made no sense to me.”
Heard also testified about Depp’s drug and alcohol use. She spoke about the time she and Deb took MDMA on a trip to Russia, and explained that she felt pressured to prove to him that she was not a “lesbian camp counselor,” as he called her. According to Heard, the couple persuaded the hostess to take medication, too. She later sat down with the couple and touched Heard, which allegedly prompted Depp to grab the flight attendant’s wrist and tell her he could break it. Heard said the flight attendant then fled to the front of the plane, where she remained for the rest of the flight.
When the couple reached their hotel room in Moscow, Heard says Depp pushed her and hit her in the face. Heard ran to the bathroom, where she waited a while. When she came out, Depp’s bodyguard pointed to her nose and gave her a handkerchief because she was bleeding.
“I was really embarrassed…ashamed,” Heard said in court.
Heard also spoke about a separate incident that happened in July 2013. She said Depp was selling his yacht to JK Rowling, so he took his kids and Heard to his island to say goodbye to the boat. Meanwhile, Depp was “off the wagon again,” Heard says, but he’s been hiding his drinking from his children.
“There’s no stop button with Johnny,” Heard told the courtroom.
She said that his children were starting to catch up – at one point the actor jumped out of the boat in a strange way that made his daughter panic and cry. Heard said she tried to calm his daughter, but Depp later accused Heard of promoting him with his children, which she said she never did. Then Depp allegedly bumped Heard into his bedroom wall, and grabbed her by the neck. She testified that he told her she was “embarrassing” and that he could kill her.
After that, Heard said she and Depp’s daughter demanded a helicopter to get them off the island.
Heard’s testimony came after a psychiatrist appointed by her lawyers testified that Heard suffered from PTSD as a result of multiple acts of abuse, including sexual violence, to which she was subjected by Depp.
Depp testified that he never hit Heard and that he was the victim of abuse. He said he was punched and beaten by her on numerous occasions, and that she threw things at him. He described Heard as having a “need to struggle”.
Psychologist Don Hughes, in her testimony on Tuesday, acknowledged that Heard has at times perpetrated physical violence against Depp, but said it paled in comparison to the violence she experienced, leaving her terrified and fearful for her safety.
During Wednesday’s questioning, Hughes admitted that she had not made factual decisions that Depp had assaulted Heard on specific occasions. But she testified that Heard’s account of her experiences was consistent with those of those who had experienced domestic violence.
Hughes said the sexual assaults included forcing Heard by Depp to perform oral sex. Despite cross-examination, Depp’s lawyers noted that during a psychological test conducted as part of Hughes’ evaluation, Heard denied forcing him to engage in oral sex.
Hughes said that Heard initially portrayed the encounters as consensual but “angry” sex.
“You didn’t picture them as a physical force,” Hughes said.
The trial is still. On Wednesday, more than 100 people lined up before 7 a.m. — three hours before proceedings began — outside the courtroom for the 100 seats available in the courtroom. Most of them were Depp supporters and fans.