Court adjourned on Thursday for about a weeklong break in the high-profile defamation trial involving actors Johnny Depp and Amber Heard.
Depp and Heard began their relationship more than a decade ago before it eventually devolved into what appears to have been a toxic marriage.
The former couple is now battling it out in court in Fairfax County, Virginia, after Depp sued Heard for $50 million over an op-ed she wrote for The Washington Post in 2018 in which she described surviving domestic violence, but did not mention Depp by name. Heard is countersuing for $100 million and claims she was only ever violent with Depp in self-defense or defense of her younger sister.
Depp earlier spent four days testifying, while Heard just spent the last two testifying before court adjourned.
Since Heard’s testimony began, videos have appeared on TikTok of users lip syncing to audio of her voice from the courtroom.
As of Friday, the hashtag “#JusticeForJohnnyDepp” had climbed to more than 8.3 billion views on TikTok. The hashtag “#JusticeForAmberHeard” had grown to 30 million views on TikTok, but is still dwarfed by Depp’s.
Heard is expected to continue her witness testimony on May 16, including cross-examination by Depp’s legal team.
Early days of romance detailed
On Wednesday, the first day Heard took the witness stand, she detailed a whirlwind romance with Depp, bonding over blues music and literature.
“We talked about books and music, poetry. We like a lot of the same stuff. Obscure writers and interesting books and pieces of poetry I haven’t heard anyone else know or reference or like,” she recalled of their first meeting.
She described Depp as “very well read and charismatic.” Heard said she may have left his office with a few books he’d lent her.
“I knew who he was. I wasn’t a fan of his work. I wasn’t familiar with him, but I knew who he was. I knew he was one of the most famous people in the world,” she said. “It was weird, because he’s twice my age and this famous actor, and here we are getting along about old books and the blues. I thought it was unusual and remarkable. I left there feeling, like, ‘wow.'”
Heard said she fell hard for Depp during that time promoting their 2011 film, “The Rum Diary.”
“I felt like this man knew me and saw me in a way that nobody else had,” Heard told jurors. “He made me feel seen, made me feel like a million dollars. That kind of feeling where he just lavished gifts, lavished expressions of love, and how he’d never met a woman like me. I remember he took the foil off of this bottle and put it on my ring finger, and I had only been with him, like, days, maybe it was weeks at the time. It just felt very intense.”
It was a sentiment Depp also shared, describing Heard in his witness testimony as his “perfect partner.”
At the time, their relationship was not yet public because Depp was separating from Vanessa Paradis, his longtime partner and the mother of his two children, Heard said.
Heard recounts first time Depp allegedly hit her
The first time Depp allegedly hit Heard was after she asked about a tattoo of his, Heard told the court. Depp told her the tattoo said “wino” and slapped her when she laughed about it, Heard said.
“I will never forget it. It changed my life,” Heard said, adding that Depp was inebriated at the time.
Depp previously testified that Heard took issues with his tattoo, which was modified after he broke up with his former girlfriend and actor Winona Ryder. He denied hitting her over the issue, though, characterizing it as an absurd reason to hit someone.
How their relationship changed, according to Heard
In her retelling, Heard said their relationship changed after Depp broke his sobriety after a period of abstaining from alcohol. She described him as jealous, often accusing her of having affairs.
Heard told the court that Depp’s alleged assaults would coincide with his drug and alcohol abuse. He has previously testified refuting the idea that he was ever “out of control” while inebriated.
In one instance, she said she was head butted and repeatedly punched in the face by Depp in an attack she believed was going to end in death.
Heard said Depp sounded a like “an animal in pain” as he kept screaming, “‘I f—– hate you, I f—– hate you, I f—– hate you,’ over and over.”
“He was just pummeling me,” she said, describing Depp on top of her in the alleged attack. “I thought: ‘This his 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.”
In another account, Heard described being penetrated by a bottle in what she alleged was an assault by Depp. She said she woke up to hear Marilyn Manson music playing, and then noticed a brown substance on the wall, which she later identified as blood.
Depp had previously testified about his finger having been cut off and about using his blood and paint to write messages on the walls of one of the couple’s homes. In his testimony, Depp claimed Heard had become enraged, throwing a bottle of vodka at him and severing his finger.
According to Heard’s account in court, after she was assaulted the night before, she woke up to discover the messages on the wall and later discovered that Depp’s finger was injured.
Depp testified that he initially lied and told doctors he had hurt his finger in accordion doors because he “didn’t want to disclose that it had been Ms. Heard that had thrown a vodka bottle at me and took my finger off.”
Heard testified that she was also bleeding.
“I wasn’t thinking about that [pain],” she said. “I was heartbroken. I realized eventually that I could be hurt, because I was bleeding. But I convinced myself it wasn’t broken or that the bottle wasn’t broken or it would be a lot worse, and the discomfort paled in comparison [to the heartbreak]. … I had just married this man.”
Heard says she hit Depp in defense of younger sister
Heard admitted to hitting Depp in one instance in their Los Angeles penthouse after an argument during which Heard accused Depp of cheating on her with a woman he’d been with years before, saying she found out he had been to the woman’s home after she and Depp were married.
She told the court she yelled obscenities at Depp and at one point went into a neighboring penthouse, which Depp also owned, to see her sister, who had been staying there.
Heard alleged that Depp followed her there and grabbed at her. She said she returned to their shared penthouse onto the top floor with her sister. He threw a can up at them, then “bolted” up the stairs and grabbed the back of her head, Heard said.
“I just remember this brief struggle we had. … Whitney, my sister, all of a sudden put herself in between,” Heard said.
In that moment, Heard said, she feared her sister might fall down the stairs as she saw Depp raise his hand to assault her.
“And I swung at him,” Heard said. “In all my relationship to date with Johnny, I hadn’t landed a blow. … For the first time I hit him, like actually hit him square in the face. But he didn’t push my sister down the stairs.”
‘I wanted to want to leave him,’ Heard said
Heard told the court she was heartbroken trying to reconcile the good and abusive parts of their relationship.
“I wanted to want to leave him. I wanted him to get better,” she said, her voice crackling with emotion. “And he expressed to me so many times when he was in that period of getting clean and sober, ‘You saved my life. Baby girl, you saved my life.’ Everyone else is saying that to me, and I believed it.'”