Amber Heard took the stand for her first day of testimony on Wednesday in the dramatic libel case Johnny Depp filed against her, speaking through tears as she described the first time she alleges Depp became violent against her.
“I’ll never forget it. It changed my life,” Heard told the jury, recalling sitting on the couch with Depp, having a “normal conversation” while Depp drank and smoked (Heard also later speculated that Depp was using cocaine at the time) when she asked what the tattoo on his arm meant. Depp told him it meant “wino”.
“I thought he was joking because it didn’t look like it at all,” Heard said. “I laughed because I thought he was joking and he slapped me. And I laughed. I laughed because I didn’t know what else to do. I didn’t know what was going on. I just stared at him laughing again, thinking he was going to start laughing too to tell me it was a joke. But he did not do it.
Tuesday’s recap:Psychologist alleges Amber Heard suffered from PTSD and sexual abuse in her relationship with Johnny Depp
Heard said Depp slapped her twice more. Although it didn’t hurt her, she said she was amazed that he would do something like that.
“My God, did he just hit me?” Heard remembers thinking. “I didn’t want to leave him…I know you can’t get over this. I know you can’t hit a woman, you can’t hit a man. You can’t hit anybody. I knew it was wrong and that I had to leave him and that’s what broke my heart because I didn’t want to leave him.”
Depp started crying afterwards, Heard said. She finally got out and sat in her car for a while before heading home. He later apologized profusely and promised to “never get his hands on” Heard again, she said. She “believed there was a line he wouldn’t cross again” and so stayed in the relationship.
As Heard continued her testimony, she alleged that Depp abused alcohol and cocaine, displaying erratic behavior, including holding her dog out of the window of a moving car and accusing Heard of an affair she says she doesn’t have, and physically abusing her. Depp focused his eyes downward for the majority of the testimony.
Depp is suing Heard for defamation in Fairfax County Circuit Court, claiming her 2018 Washington Post op-ed defamed him when she described herself as “a public figure representing domestic violence.” The article never mentions Depp by name, but Depp’s lawyers say it was defamed nonetheless because it is a clear reference to the abuse allegations heard in 2016.
The trial has now entered its fourth week. Much of the testimony in the first three weeks centered on the volatile relationship between Depp and Heard. Depp says he never hit Heard. Her attorneys said in opening statements at the trial that she was physically and sexually assaulted by Depp on multiple occasions.
Heard begins testimonial recalling ‘falling in love’ with Depp after filming ‘The Rum Diary’
The actress began her testimony by recounting details of her childhood and early life in Hollywood, including meeting Depp on the set of “The Rum Diary” in 2011, and how their relationship grew from co-workers and friends. to potential romantic partners once filming is complete.
The two had “no contact” for some time after filming — Depp called her at one point and invited her to his California home, Heard said, but they didn’t see each other until the press tour of the film later. Heard said that’s when they started “falling in love” but kept things a secret because his split from ex Vanessa Paradis, with whom he shares two children, didn’t had not yet been made public.
“When I was with Johnny, I felt like the most beautiful person in the world,” Heard said, later adding “I fell head over heels in love with this man.”
As their relationship progressed, Heard said, Depp had issues with the clothes she wore and expressed fear of cheating on him with friends. And the arguments started to get ugly, Heard alleged, with Depp swearing, breaking glass or knocking over a table before leaving and coming back as “wonderful, almost unreal … incredibly kind, sensitive, warm, generous, funny man that I loved,” she said.
“It was always intense. It didn’t get intense, it started like that,” Heard told the jury of their romantic relationship.
Heard’s testimony comes after a psychologist hired by his lawyers told the stand that Heard suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder due to multiple acts of abuse, including sexual violence, inflicted by Depp .
Judge denies Amber Heard’s motion to dismiss, more details on previous trial
Depp concluded his own testimony last week, telling the jury that he often backed out of arguments with Heard to avoid escalation.
“I would apologize for the situation,” Depp said. “I would try to walk away so that nothing would get out of hand because if given the opportunity to allow things to get out of hand, Ms. Heard would take her to extremes which would end up cutting off my finger.”
After a judge on Tuesday denied Amber Heard’s motion to dismiss the lawsuit, psychologist Dawn Hughes testified that Heard suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder due to the violence she suffered at the hands of Depp, including multiple acts of sexual assault.
Hughes’ testimony contradicts that of a psychologist hired by Depp’s lawyers, who said Heard was faking his symptoms of PTSD and suffered from borderline and histrionic personality disorders. Hughes disputed that Heard suffers from a personality disorder.
Hughes was the first witness to speak on Heard’s behalf after Depp’s attorneys closed their case on Tuesday morning. She said she based her testimony on 29 hours of interviews with Heard, as well as interviews with Heard’s therapists and a review of court documents.
After:Johnny Depp’s agent testifies Amber Heard’s abuse op-ed is ‘catastrophic’ for actor’s career
Earlier this week, Depp’s rep said the actor’s ex-wife’s 2018 op-ed was ‘catastrophic’ for his career and coincided with the loss of a $23million contract to a sequel to “Pirates of the Caribbean”.
Amber Heard’s lawyers aggressively pushed back against the agent’s claim during cross-examination, suggesting the article was inconsequential amid a barrage of bad publicity for Depp sparked by his own bad behavior.
Johnny Depp completes his trial testimony:“If I don’t leave… it’s going to be a bloodbath”
For Depp’s trial in Virginia to succeed, it must not only show that he was falsely accused, but it must also show that the opinion piece — not Heard’s 2016 abuse allegations when she was filed for divorce and got a temporary restraining order – is what caused the damage.
The trial continues to capture public attention. More than 100 people lined up on Wednesday before 7 a.m. – the proceedings do not start until 10 a.m. – in front of the courthouse for the 100 seats made available in the courtroom. Most are Depp supporters and fans.
Contributor: The Associated Press