Amber Heard details fights, accuses ex-husband Johnny Depp of physical, sexual abuse in second day of testimonyget the free app
Editor's note: Some testimony contains graphic language and descriptions of sexual and physical assault.
Actor Amber Heard tearfully told jurors Thursday that Johnny Depp sexually assaulted her with a liquor bottle in an alcohol-fueled rage as she returned to the stand Thursday, her second day of testimony in the civil trial for the $50 million libel lawsuit filed by her ex-husband.
Depp is suing Heard for libel over a December 2018 op-ed in The Washington Post she wrote describing herself as "a public figure representing domestic abuse." His lawyers say he was defamed by the article even though it never mentioned his name.
The March 2015 incident in Australia, where Depp was filming the fifth "Pirates of the Caribbean" movie, is sharply disputed and has been a focal point of the four-week civil trial in Fairfax, Virginia.
The night ended with the tip of Depp's middle finger cut off, and him writing vulgar messages in blood on the walls of the house. Depp denies assaulting her in any way and says his finger was severed when Heard threw a vodka bottle at him; Heard said she'd taken sleeping pills after she was attacked and was not awake when the finger was severed.
The graphic description of the sexual assault left Heard fighting for her composure as she described it to jurors. She said Depp had been angry as soon as she arrived in Australia, roughly a month after the couple had married in February 2015.
He was accusing her of sleeping with co-stars in her movies, including Billy Bob Thornton and Eddie Redmayne, with whom she'd just shot the film "The Danish Girl" — accusations she denied.
The fight escalated to the point where he threw her into a ping-pong table, breaking it, Heard testified. He ripped off her nightgown, and Heard said she was naked and exposed as she was assaulted.
"I couldn't get up. I thought he was punching me," she said. "I could just feel this pressure on my pubic bone."
She thought he was assaulting her with her fist, but later figured out that she was being assaulted with a bottle, and realized that there had been numerous bottles broken in the fight.
"I looked around and saw so much broken glass. I just remember thinking, 'Please God, please don't be broken,'" she said.
Heard described bizarre details in the aftermath of the attack, including seeing her shredded burgundy nightgown used to wrap a raw steak that had been left out. She said that when Depp's security team finally arrived to tend to his severed finger, Depp was still trying to leave vulgar messages for her, but was trying to write them by urinating on the wall.
Much of the trial testimony has been repetitive of a civil suit Depp filed against a British newspaper. A judge there ruled against Depp in 2020, finding that Heard had in fact been assaulted multiple times by Depp. But the sexual assault allegations described by Heard on Thursday were not publicly aired in the U.K trial.
Earlier in her testimony Thursday, Heard testified that Depp surrounded himself with an entourage of enablers to shield him from the consequences of his drug and alcohol use.
Heard told jurors about photos she took of Depp starting in 2013 in which he was passed out. She said she took the photos because Depp couldn't remember what he'd done when he was drunk, and denied what had occurred while he was blacked out.
"He wouldn't remember, or he would deny it. There was no one to back me up," she said.
She also gave her description of an incident that has already come up at trial, a May 2014 plane ride from Boston to Los Angeles. According to Heard, Depp was jealous and irate that she was making a movie with actor James Franco that included a kissing scene.
"He hated, hated James Franco," she said.
As soon as Depp stepped into the private plane, he began berating her about Franco, she said. She got up and walked away, but Depp followed her. At one point, she said he slapped her. Later, she said, he kicked her, and not one person onboard intervened on her behalf.
"I felt this boot in my back," she said. "I fell to the floor. And no one said anything. No one did anything. You could have heard a pin drop. I just remember feeling so embarrassed."
Depp, who testified earlier in the trial, described the incident differently. He denied that he'd drank excessively before getting on the plane, and said Heard initiated an argument and pursued him until he felt compelled to hide in a bathroom.
But jurors heard a recording Heard made toward the end of the incident, in which it sounds like Depp is howling and babbling incoherently. And the jury has seen a text message Depp sent his friend Paul Bettany shortly after the flight, in which he says he's going to "properly stop the booze thing" because the flight got "ugly." He also texted Bettany saying, "I'm admittedly too f--- in the head to spray my rage at the one I love for little reason as well."
Heard has testified that she was physically and sexually assaulted on multiple occasions by Depp, typically when he was drunk or high on drugs. Depp has denied ever hitting her, but Heard's lawyers have said his denials lack credibility in part because he can't remember what he's done when he blacks out.
Depp has said Heard greatly exaggerates his drinking, and that he tolerates his liquor well. Friends, family and employees of Depp have taken the stand and backed up his contention.
But Heard said that's part of the problem: She said Depp has a team around him that cleans him up when he gets sick, and enables him to go about his business without acknowledging the consequences of his drinking.
Testimony will resume at 9 a.m. ET on Monday, May 16 in Fairfax County Circuit Court.
"He's going to kill me and he won't even have realized it," Heard testified about 2015 fight
During a December 2015 fight, Heard said she ran upstairs to get away from Depp, who chased her and grabbed her by her hair, making her fall on the stairs.
Heard said she remembers "flashes" of what happened, but described her memory of his boots and the sound they made as he dragged her up the stairs.
"We had this argument that was a shoving match that I was losing," she said, until he pushed her over a chaise lounge and she hit her head on the exposed brick wall.
She said Depp stood over her, repeatedly asking if she wanted to go, challenging her to get back up and shoving her back down.
"I stand back up and look him right in the eyes — and it was just a really still moment, I'll never forget it. Really still. I stood up and he said, 'You want to go again, tough guy?' And I just looked right at him, looked right at his face. And he balled up his fists, leaned back and headbutted me, square in the nose," she said, miming the gesture. "Just right as a I stood in front of him — I was a foot in front of him. Instantly, searing pain."
Heard said she told him that night she was going to leave him, sparking another struggle. At one point, she said he pinned her facedown on a bed with one knee and was punching her as she tried to get free.
"He got next to my ear and he was screaming, over and over and over again. Each time it sounded louder and more desperate. 'I f**king hate you. I f**king hate you. I f**king hate you.' Over and over. 'F**king hate you.' and then pounding the back of my head; pounding it with his fist. I don't even remember feeling pain. I just could hear myself scream until I couldn't hear myself anymore. I could just hear saying that he was going to kill me," she said.
He continued to hit her and scream at her, she said. "I thought, this is how I die. He's going to kill me now, and I'm not — he's going to kill me and he won't even have realized it."
Heard says Depp sexually assaulted her with bottle in Australia
Heard told the court Depp sexually assaulted her with a bottle while she was visiting him in Australia in March 2015 after they were married.
Heard broke down sobbing on the witness stand describing the alleged assault.
"I don't remember what I said," she said. "I just remember being really still, not wanting to move."
She said she couldn't remember the exact sequence of events during the incident. She said Depp, who she said had been drinking, had also pressed her against a wall next to a refrigerator.
"I remember slamming my head up against the thing. He had me by the neck, was squeezing my neck," Heard told the court.
They shoved each other, and Heard said Depp told her, "Do you want to go, little girl?"
Heard said she was struggling with him and was thrown onto a games table, which she said resembled a pingpong table.
"He gets on top of me on the games table and is just whacking me in the face, like repetitive," she said.
Heard says Depp "was just whaling on me" before movie premiere
Heard told the court Depp hit her in January 2015 before they went to the premiere of Depp's movie "Mortdecai" in Tokyo.
Heard said the couple got into an argument in their hotel room during which she said something "snotty" to him that provoked him, she told the court.
"When I walked into the hallway, he grabbed me by the arm and slammed me up against the hallway wall," Heard said.
She said she got out of his grasp and went toward a closet.
"By the time I made it into the closet, he had me by the hair and what felt like he was just whaling on me but in a really sloppy way, like hitting the back of my head and kind of wrestled me down to the floor," Heard said. "I mean, it felt to me like I didn't even have a fair shot because I wasn't facing him or looking at him. I was walking away from him or else, you know, I … would have tried to defend myself more."
Heard: "Nothing I did would make him stop hitting me"
Heard testified that by 2014, Depp had admitted he takes things too far, calling his episodes "savage, monster, devil," in his apologies.
She said she thought it was encouraging that he recognized the harm. "Sometimes I didn't think he understood how much he could hurt me, physically," she said.
And she said she had started trying to stand up for herself.
"By December 2014, I was pushing back, I'd push him off of me, I'd try to hit his hands away. I tried to always get back up, which sometimes — not sometimes, almost always — made it worse. It always seemed to provoke him ... I would yell at him, I'd scream at him, I'd call him ugly names. So ashamed at the names we'd call each other, it was awful. It was awful. And we both got into that pattern. It was so — I was so angry this was happening to me, and it felt so unfair," she said.
She said she tried different strategies to change the pattern for a year or two.
"Nothing I did would make him stop hitting me," she said, resorting to not responding physically or verbally and threatening to call the police and to leave him.
Heard describes Depp's detox efforts: "It was hell"
Depp went into detox when he finished filming in Boston in 2014, spending between a week and 10 days in the Bahamas to do so, Heard testified.
"It was for the first few days, OK. Peaceful," Heard said. But she said that changed and his moods changed rapidly. "He'd be mad at me, then he'd want to hug. He cried a lot, then he wanted to have sex, a lot — which is not like Johnny at all."
His moods changed as the detox continued, and he frequently became angry at her, she said.
"He slapped me across the face, but he did it while crying. It was the weirdest thing, just crying, saying no woman had ever embarrassed him like that; no woman had ever made him feel like that. I heard that for the rest of the trip, too, on repeat," she said.
Heard said she shouldn't have been there, helping him during his detox, and that the medical professionals didn't tell her not to. "I had no idea what that was going to look like or be like. And it was hell. We're on an island; I'm trying to take care of him and he was hallucinating. He's screaming at me for things I'd said – when I hadn't said anything," she said.
Depp was "doubling up his meds," Heard says
Heard says she started attending Al-Anon, a support group for people whose loved ones struggle with addiction, every day.
She had resolved to leave him, she said, but was swayed by his apologies — delivered via text, including by his assistants. He told her over the phone he was attending meetings and had a celebrity friend supporting him in sobriety.
The "monster will never come back," she said Depp told her. He visited her in New York, and said "he was sober and committed to change. I believed he was embarrassed and sorry, he said he was, and I believed him. So I took him back, got back with him — on the condition he would uphold his promise to do the full treatment, to do the full detox."
Over the next few months, he worked with a doctor on a recovery plan, and his promises "felt like a change," she said. But she said she realized he was doubling up on the medications prescribed to allow him to keep filming.
"What I found out in that time is that he was taking about double ... double the amount that he told them was his normal when he started the process with the doctors," she said. "After a few months of going, 'What is wrong?' and turning him over when he vomited at night, checking his pulse — all of a sudden, when I realized the amount was about double, I realized then that he had been lying to them and me about the amount so he could get extra high before he had to detox."
She said it was agonizing: "I was so concerned for this person and he had just been doubling up his meds."
Heard describes Depp's questions about scenes with James Franco, physical attacks
Heard described an incident on his plane when he grilled her about her scenes with James Franco.
"I already know he's drunk; I already know he's using. He reeks of weed and alcohol. His breath smelled so bad," she said.
Depp accused her of enjoying the scenes with Franco and called her a slut in front of his security and assistants on the plane, and asked her explicit questions about her experience with her co-star, she said.
When she moved to a different part of the plane, he began throwing ice cubes and utensils at her, calling her "an embarrassment" and a "go-getter," she said.
When she was looking out of the window, he sat down in front of her and slapped her face in front of one of his friends.
"It didn't hurt me, it didn't hurt my face. I just felt embarrassed — that he would do that in front of people," she said, in tears. "It was the first time anything like that had happened in front of people."
He later kicked her as her back was turned, knocking her to the floor of the plane, she said.
"I thought to myself, 'I don't know what to do. Did he just kick me?' No one said anything, no one did anything," she said. "... I remember feeling so embarrassed that he could kick me to the ground in front of people — and more embarrassing, that I didn't know what to do about it."
Heard: Depp did drugs with my dad at engagement party
The couple had decided to have a large engagement party rather than a large wedding, Heard said. But at the party, Depp went upstairs rather than mingling with guests.
"Johnny disappeared upstairs — in, I guess it was like a coatroom, or something. It was in a big abandoned building that was rented out for events. He disappeared upstairs almost the entire party, I would say, just came down at the end when we were leaving and came down once because he was at the time sharing drugs with my dad," she said.
When asked how she knew the two were sharing drugs, she said, "I was there. I watched it."
Her father left the party to get more drugs, she testified.
"I tried to get Johnny to come downstairs and he just snapped at me, told me to 'shut the f**k up,'" she said.
Depp didn't want me to work, Heard says
Heard testified Thursday that Depp tried to influence her career, calling it a "constant battle and negotiation" over the parts she was taking.
"I never imagined myself having to explain my job or justify my job," she said, describing herself as "independent" and "strong-willed."
She said she would justify taking work by saying she was supporting her parents and sister.
"He'd say, 'You don't have to work, kid — let me take care of you. My woman doesn't have to work'. And that sounds really sweet and really romantic in some way, but it became a real fight," she said. "Every time I got a script, it was — how I was dressing, what kind of behavior I'd have, did I have a sex scene."
Eventually, she said, she wouldn't take parts with sex scenes, limited kissing scenes or those with romantic elements and would talk about more conservative clothing with the wardrobe department.
Heard's defense introduces photos of Depp
Heard's attorneys introduced photos of Johnny Depp as Heard testified Thursday about his substance use. One photo, taken in Tokyo, depicts Depp on the floor, "passed out with his head on a table" during a press tour in 2013. Another depicts him passed out while on vacation, Heard said.
Heard said she took one photo after "a several-day binge" during which he accused her of having affairs.
"No eating, little to no sleep, he would just use cocaine and drink all day long," she said.
Highlights of Depp's testimony
Depp spent several days on the witness stand earlier in the trial, in which he acknowledged drug and alcohol use and sending texts with vulgar language about Heard, but denied the allegations of abuse. Watch the video for some of the highlights from his testimony.