Watch CBS News

Actor Johnny Depp takes the stand, calls ex-wife Amber Heard's allegations "heinous"

get the free app
  • link copied
Johnny Depp testifies against ex-wife
Actor Johnny Depp takes the stand, testifies against ex-wife Amber Heard 03:46

Actor Johnny Depp took the stand Tuesday in his libel lawsuit against his ex-wife Amber Heard, saying her domestic abuse allegations against him were disturbing, heinous and "not based in any species of truth."

"Nothing of the kind ever happened," Depp said in court.

He added: "Never did I myself reach the point of striking Ms. Heard in any way. Nor have I ever struck any woman in my life."

Depp Heard Lawsuit
Actor Johnny Depp testifies during a hearing at the Fairfax County Circuit Court in Fairfax, Virginia, Tuesday April 19, 2022.  Jim Watson / AP

Alluding to the fall his career has taken since Heard levied abuse allegations against him, the former "Pirates of the Caribbean" star said, "it's been six years of trying times. It's very strange when one day you're Cinderella, so to speak, and then in 0.6 seconds you're Quasimodo."

Depp added that he's concerned for his children and the people who have believed in him.

"I am obsessed with the truth," Depp said. "So today is actually my first opportunity that I've been able to speak about this case."

The trial began more than a week ago, but, prior to Tuesday, jurors had only seen the Hollywood star sitting silently with his team of lawyers as each side has tried to embarrass the other in a trial that Heard's lawyers accurately predicted would turn into a mudslinging soap opera.

After denying Heard's abuse allegations, Depp spoke at length about a childhood in which physical abuse from his mother was "constant." The abuse came in the form of ashtrays being flung or a high-heeled shoe or telephone being used to beat him, Depp said. When he became a father, Depp said, he made sure his children didn't experience that kind of upbringing.

US-COURT-DEPP-HEARD
Actor Johnny Depp, front center left, and actor Amber Heard, front right, and attorneys, stand as the jury comes into the courtroom after a break at the Fairfax County Circuit Courthouse in Fairfax, Virginia on April 18, 2022. - Steve Helber/Pool/AFP via Getty Images

In terms of Heard, Depp said she seemed "too good to be true" at the beginning of their relationship.

"She was attentive," Depp said of the woman he married in 2015. "She was loving. She was smart. She was kind. She was funny. She was understanding … We had many things in common, certain blues music … literature."

But Depp said that within a year and a half, it was as if Heard had become another person.

So far, Depp's friends, family and employees have testified that Heard was the aggressor in the relationship, physically attacking him on multiple occasions. Heard's former personal assistant testified that Heard spit in her face in a fit of rage.

Meanwhile, jurors have seen text messages in which Depp uses vulgar language to describe Heard and spells out his desire to get revenge against her. Heard's lawyers have said he physically and sexually assaulted her on multiple occasions, often in situations where he drank so much he later blacked out.

Depp apologized for the text messages on Tuesday, saying they were written in the "heat of the moment" and he was "ashamed of some of the references made."

Depp said Heard's allegations of his substance abuse have been "grossly embellished" and that there have been no moments where he's been out of control.

"I'm not some maniac who needs to be high or loaded all the time," Depp said.

The actor said he was addicted to pain medication, which stemmed from an injury on the set of the fourth "Pirates of the Caribbean" movie. He also said he took his mother's "nerve pills" when he was a kid. And he admitted to taking many substances "over the years to numb myself of the ghosts, the wraiths that were still with me from my youth."

But Depp said he detoxed from the pain medication and has experienced long periods of sobriety over the years.

"The characterization of my 'substance abuse' that's been delivered by Ms. Heard is grossly embellished," Depp said. "And I'm sorry to say, but a lot of it is just plainly false. I think that it was an easy target for her to hit. Because once you've trusted somebody for a certain amount of years, and you've told them all the secrets of your life, that information can of course be used against you."

The lawsuit itself is over whether Heard libeled Depp when she wrote a 2018 op-ed piece in The Washington Post about domestic violence. In the article, Heard referred to herself as a "public figure representing domestic abuse."

She never mentioned Depp by name, but Depp and his lawyers say it's a clear reference to accusations Heard made in 2016 when the couple divorced and she sought a restraining order against him. Depp denies the accusations.

Heard's lawyers, who have filed their own countersuit against Depp, say nothing in the article libels him. They say the abuse allegations are true, and that the damage to Depp's reputation — which he says got him booted from the lucrative "Pirates of the Caribbean" movie franchise — came from his own bad behavior.

Depp's testimony is expected to stretch into Wednesday. Heard is scheduled to testify later in the trial.  

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.