Actors Amber Heard and Johnny Depp watch as the jury leave the courtroom for a lunch break at the Fairfax County Circuit Courthouse in Fairfax, Virginia, on May 16, 2022. - Actor Johnny Depp sued his ex-wife Amber Heard for libel in Fairfax County Circuit Court after she wrote an op-ed piece in The Washington Post in 2018 referring to herself as a "public figure representing domestic abuse." (Photo by Steve Helber / POOL / AFP)
Amber Heard says trial is ‘torture,’ wants to ‘move on’
Agence France-Presse / 10:56 AM May 17, 2022
by Chris Lefkow
Amber Heard testified on Monday that the multi-million dollar defamation suit filed against her by her former husband Johnny Depp is “torture,” and she just wants him to leave her alone so she can move on with her life.
The 36-year-old actress also told the jury hearing the case that she filed for divorce from the “Pirates of the Caribbean” star in May 2016 because she feared for her life.
“I had to leave him,” Heard said. “I knew I wouldn’t survive if I didn’t. I was so scared that it was going to end really badly for me.”
Heard said Depp would become a physically and sexually abusive “monster” when he was drinking, and her efforts to curtail his drug and alcohol use had failed.
“The monster had been this thing that was now the normal and not the exception,” she told the seven-person jury hearing the case in Fairfax, Virginia. “The violence was now normal.”
The 58-year-old Depp, during his four days on the witness stand, denied ever striking Heard and claimed that she was the one who was frequently violent.
Depp filed suit against Heard over an op-ed she wrote for The Washington Post in December 2018 in which she described herself as a “public figure representing domestic abuse.”
Heard, who had a starring role in “Aquaman,” did not name Depp in the op-ed, but he sued her for implying he was a domestic abuser and is seeking $50 million in damages.
The Texas-born Heard countersued, asking for $100 million and claiming she suffered “rampant physical violence and abuse” at his hands.
Heard said the trial has forced her to live “over and over again the most intimate, embarrassing, deeply humiliating and personal things that I’ve survived.”
“I want to move on and I want Johnny to move on,” she said. “I just want him to leave me alone.”
Filing for divorce was “the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do,” the actress said.
“It was hard because I loved Johnny so much,” she said. “I loved him so much.”
Heard said the same week she filed for divorce, she sought a temporary restraining order following an argument during which Depp threw a mobile phone at her, hitting her in the face.
– ‘Under the makeup’ –
Under cross-examination, Depp’s lawyers asked Heard about multiple incidents of alleged domestic violence she testified about and then showed photos from subsequent days where no injuries were visible.
“You should see what it looks like under the makeup,” Heard retorted.
They also grilled her extensively about a pledge she made to donate the $7 million from her divorce settlement from Depp to charity.
Heard acknowledged that she has not donated the entire amount yet but said that was because she needed the money to fight the defamation suit filed against her by Depp.
“I haven’t been able to fulfill those pledges yet because I’ve been sued,” she said.
Judge Penney Azcarate has scheduled closing arguments in the case for May 27, after which it will go to the jury.
Depp’s lawyers have put experts on the stand who testified that he has lost millions because of the abuse accusations, including a $22.5-million payday for a sixth installment of “Pirates.”
Depp filed the defamation complaint in the United States after losing a separate libel case in London in November 2020 that he brought against The Sun for calling him a “wife-beater.”
Depp, a three-time Oscar nominee, and Heard met in 2009 on the set of “The Rum Diary” and were married in February 2015. Their divorce was finalized two years later.