Sexual assault allegations, physical violence, and a stifled career: Amber Heard’s testimony on Johnny Depp

WARNING: This article contains allegations of physical and sexual violence that some readers may find distressing.

Amber Heard has testified for a third day in the defamation trial between her and her ex-husband Johnny Depp.

Ms Heard returned to the stand on Monday (16 May) after a one-week court break. She was questioned by her own legal team first, and Mr Depp’s legal team began cross-examining her in the afternoon.

During her first afternoon of testimony, Ms Heard provided some background on her and Mr Depp’s relationship, recounting how they met, how they fell in love, and sharing several allegations of physical abuse, as well as an allegation of sexual assault.

Ms Heard’s second day of testimony included more accounts of the physical and verbal violence she alleges Mr Depp subjected her to, and another sexual assault allegation.

On Monday, Ms Heard provided more testimony regarding alleged physical violence on Mr Depp’s part, the end of their marriage, and the op-ed at the center of the defamation case.

Here is what we’ve learned from Ms Heard’s testimony so far:

Monday 16 May

Heard says Depp physically attacked her over London Fields sex scene

Ms Heard alleged that Mr Depp physically attacked her over a sex scene in the movie London Fields.

“There was another film I had coming out that I had previous shot, called London Fields,” she added on Monday. “It was a source of a lot of fighting between us because of the sexuality in the role. It was a constant negotiation between myself and the filmmakers.”

Mr Depp, she said, became “unhappy” with some of what he had heard about the movie.

“He was unhappy with me having done a sex scene in it that he claimed I didn’t tell him about,” she said. “I did not actually film the scene he was speaking of. He demanded that we watch a screener of it, which is like a version of the film before it’s released. We got one sent to where we were at the time, Johnny’s chateau in France.”

Ms Heard said the film contained a sex scene with someone who “looked like [her]”.

“They had used a body double,” she told the court. “Unbeknownst to me, without my permission, they used a body double to do a sex scene. So I have an incredibly jealous man who already is upset with me for breaking the rule that I had a sex scene, on top of that I’m telling him, ‘It wasn’t me, I didn’t shoot that scene.’”

According to Ms Heard’s testimony, Mr Depp became “upset” and “irate”, and called her “a liar, a whore, among other things.”

“That, combined with the fact that I had even entertained doing this job that involved James Franco, was a pressure cooker,” Ms Heard said.

“I called it a week of hell later. Johnny at one point slapped me in the face in our bedroom in the chateau that we were staying in. At another moment he punched me across the jaw. At one point he either pushed or threw, it’s hard to describe to you which of those two it is because I can’t tell you, I went flying into this old church furniture. I later thought I had a concussion. It was the first time I thought I had sustained a concussion.”

Amber Heard sobs as she says she feared she wouldn’t survive if she didn’t divorce Depp

Heard explains photos of herself with scars on the red carpet after Depp vodka bottle fight

The court was shown photos of Ms Heard’s scarred arm at a 2015 red carpet event.

“Those are scars that I obtained as Johnny was strangling and assaulting me on a countertop in Australia,” Ms Heard told the court.

Other photos from a second red carpet event were shown to the court, revealing several scars on Ms Heard’s left arm as she brushes her hair from her face.

Ms Heard said that she had tried to cover the scars with makeup but they were “a bit harder to cover as they’re rather fresh”.

Amber Heard says her 2018 op-ed on domestic violence is ‘not about Johnny’

Heard says her 2018 op-ed on domestic violence is ‘not about Johnny’

Ms Heard told the court that the 2018 op-ed at the center of the defamation trial opposing her and Mr Depp is “not about Johnny”.Ms Heard said that the article is actually about her and what happened to her “after I escaped my marriage”.

“The only one who made it about him ironically is Johnny,” she told the court.

Amber Heard begs Johnny Depp to stop ‘smear campaign’ as court hears emotional audio

Heard begs Depp to stop ‘smear campaign’ as court hears emotional audio

Emotional audio was played to the court as Ms Heard said she begged her then-husband to stop calling her “a liar” about his alleged abuse.

In the audio clip, Ms Heard is heard speaking to Mr Depp in a recorded conversation in June 2016 – one month after she filed for divorce from him.

“I’m being called a liar and a gold-digger,” she is heard saying.

“I’m not lying about any of this s*** and I’m not after any of your money.”

She told the court that she wanted him to stop calling her “a liar” and stop the “smear campaign” that he had allegedly launched against her.

Heard breaks down saying she filed for divorce from Depp as she feared she ‘wouldn’t survive’

Ms Heard said she filed for divorce from Mr Depp because she feared she “wouldn’t survive” if she stayed in the relationship.

“I knew if I didn’t I’d likely not literally survive,” she said, choking back tears.

Ms Heard told jurors that her decision to divorce her then-husband was “the hardest thing I ever had to do”.

But she said that she realised she had to do it because the “monster” and domestic violence had become the “normal”.

“The monster had been this thing that was now the normal and not the exception. The violence was now the normal and not the exception,” she sobbed.

“I believe he would have taken it too far and I wouldn’t be here.”

Heard recounts police being called after Depp attacked her as court shown photos of her injuries

Ms Heard shared her account of an incident during which she says police were called to her apartment after Mr Depp attacked her.

Ms Heard was asked about the alleged events of 21 May 2016 and said she and Mr Depp hadn’t seen each other for about a month at the time. Ms Heard said she agreed to see Mr Depp following his mother’s death, and that she was under the impression that he had started drinking and using drugs again at the time.

“He said he really needed his wife. He had lost his mother and he missed his wife, he really needed his wife. He said it over and over again,” she said. “I felt torn, I felt conflicted. Obviously the situation hadn’t gotten better with Johnny, mentally, and I was afraid that all the work and progress and distance I had finally got on it, on the relationship for the first time I had a month of distance on it, I didn’t want that to be undone but I was also affected by the fact that his mother had passed.”

She said a plan was made for Mr Depp to visit her during the day, which she thought would help mitigate his drinking as “night is a little bit more dangerous”.

“He came over and we sat on the couch and it was relatively peaceful. I could tell that he was inebriated, but in my head it made sense. He wasn’t incoherent. It was peaceful,” she said, adding that Mr Depp started talking about feces, accusing one of Ms Heard’s friends of having left a “prank” for him in Ms Heard’s bed. Ms Head said she tried telling Mr Depp that didn’t make sense, but that he kept talking about it.

Eventually, Ms Heard said she called the friend she said Mr Depp claimed was responsible, iO Tillett Wright.

Ms Heard said her friend reminded her that she “wasn’t safe”.

“iO said, ‘Amber, get out of the house. Get out of the house now, you’re not safe. Get out of that house,’” she told the court.

According to Ms Heard, Mr Depp “heard this, turned around, came bolting down the stairs, grabbed the phone from my hand and really, really started screaming this time, laid into iO, called iO every imaginable horrible name that you can say to an LGBTQI person for one, and any person, any human being ever.”

“He just screamed at iO some really nasty stuff,” she said. “When he’s done, he says, ‘You wanna have my woman now, you wanna have my b***h, you take her, you can have her.’ With that he pulls his arm back with the phone and throws it at my face.”

Ms Heard said she felt like the phone had hit her in the eye.

“I put my head in my hands and immediately start crying. I said, ‘You hit me with the phone. Johnny, you hit me.’ I’m sitting on the couch. I didn’t even have time to react. I didn’t even have time to put my hands up,” she said.

“I was still sitting cross-legged with my socks on the couch. I haven’t seen him for a month and the last several times now that I’ve seen him he’s hit me. I didn’t even have time to react to this.”

Ms Heard said Mr Depp verbally taunted her, then whacked her on the top of her head.

“This heavy ringed hand landed on top of my skull, grabs me by the hair, yanks me up off the couch. I’m struggling to stand up,” she said.

“I don’t know if he was intending to hit me in the face or if he was just trying to grab my face but he was making this gesture around my face to try to expose my face to him and he was like, ‘Yeah, let me see how bad I hurt you. Let me see it. Let me see how bad I hurt you this time. What if I pulled your hair back? What if I pulled your hair back?’

“And he yanks my hair back. I’m trying to prevent him from landing the blows to my face and trying to prevent my face from being exposed, and I just remember this mocking taunt he was doing with me as he’s yanking me around the room.”

Ms Heard said another friend, who lived in the neighboring apartment, came in and tried to protect her. She said Mr Depp’s two security guards eventually came in too. At some point, she said Mr Depp picked up a bottle and started “smashing things off the nightstand, the coffee table,” and “screaming.”

Eventually, she said Mr Depp exited the apartment, knocking things off and breaking things along the way. She said her friend’s husband brought her to his and his wife’s apartment, where she stayed for the next few hours.

Ms Heard said about an hour after Mr Depp left, she learned the police had been called. She said she was not the one who made the call.

Asked on Monday why she didn’t want to cooperate with the police, Ms Heard told the court: “I wanted to protect Johnny. I didn’t want him to be arrested. I didn’t want him to be in trouble. I didn’t want the world to know. I didn’t want this to come out. I didn’t want him to be in trouble. I didn’t want this to be – I wanted to protect Johnny.”

Thursday 5 May

Heard sobs as she recounts fight where Depp allegedly sexually assaulted her

Ms Heard sobbed as she recounted a fight in Australia during which she alleges Mr Depp sexually assaulted her with a bottle.

Ms Heard said her memories of the night came to her as “flashes”. Eventually, she said, Mr Depp was throwing bottles in her direction and she could “feel glass breaking behind [her]” and one bottle going past her head, which left her “terrified”.

She said Mr Depp ripped her nightgown off her chest and that the nightgown was eventually ripped off completely, leaving her naked.

She alleged that Mr Depp started punching the wall next to her head and holding her by the neck. At some point, she said Mr Depp ended up “on top of [her]”, telling her she’d “ruined [his] f****** life”.

“I couldn’t breathe, I couldn’t get through to him, I couldn’t get up,” she said. “I don’t know how that ended. I don’t know how – I don’t know what happened next.” Ms Heard sobbed as she continued: “The next thing I remember, I was bent over backwards on the bar, meaning my chest was up. I was staring at the blue light. My back is on the countertop and I thought he was punching me. I felt this pressure on my pubic bone. I thought he was punching me. I could feel his arm moving and it looked like he was punching me. But I could just feel this pressure.”

Ms Heard said she remembered being still, not wanting to move, looking around the room, and seeing broken bottles and broken glass. “I remember not wanting to move because I didn’t know of it was broken – I didn’t know if the bottle that he had inside me was broken,” she said. “I couldn’t feel it. I didn’t feel pain. I didn’t feel pain. I didn’t feel anything. … I looked around and I saw so much broken glass. … I just remember thinking ‘Please God, please. I hope it’s not broken.’”

Amber Heard testifies Johnny Depp penetrated her with a bottle

Heard tells court she thought Depp was going to kill her

Ms Heard said that she thought Mr Depp was going to kill her “without realising it” at one point.

Ms Heard said Mr Depp was “punching me, punching me repeatedly with his fist”.

“I don’t even remember feeling the pain, I just remember hearing the sound of Johnny’s voice,” she said from the witness stand.

“He got next to my face and he was screaming over and over and over again, each time it sounded louder and more desperate, ‘I f***ing hate you, I f***ing hate you, I f***ing hate you’ over and over. ‘F***ing hate you.’

“Then pounding the back of my head, pounding it with his fist, and I don’t even remember feeling pain, I just could hear myself scream until I couldn’t hear myself any more.

“I could just hear him say that he was going to kill me and that he sounded like an animal in pain when he was saying that he ‘f***ing hated’ me.

“He sounded like he was almost crying, or something in his voice was different, he sounded different, he sounded like he was in agony, it was high-pitched and loud.”

She added: “I don’t know how many times, he just hit me over and over and over again and I got really still, and it felt in my body like quiet.

“And I thought, ‘This 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.’ I couldn’t breathe. I remember trying to scream and I couldn’t scream.”

Amber Heard at the Fairfax County Courthouse in Fairfax, Virginia, on 5 May 2022

(JIM LO SCALZO/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

Heard says Depp’s jealousy made her give up film roles with sex scenes and revealing outfits

Mr Heard said Mr Depp’s jealousy allegedly made her give up film roles involving sex scenes and revealing outfits.

She spoke of feeling like she had to negotiate with Mr Depp when she received a job offer.

“I’ve always been really independent. I couldn’t imagine not working,” she told the jury on Thursday. “I never imagined myself having to explain or justify my job.”

“I had to bargain … every time I got a script,” she added.

She said Mr Depp told her, “you don’t have to work kid, I will take care of you, my woman doesn’t have to work”.

Ms Heard noted this may appear to have been kind, but she said she felt it was controlling. She added that she soon grew hesitant about what roles to accept to avoid angering Mr Depp.

She said she was thinking about “how I was dressing, what kind of behaviour would I have, did I have a sex scene” in any film role she was considering.

Ms Heard testified that she started “minimising kissing scenes” and that she would “change the wardrobe”.

“I couldn’t have a sex scene,” she added. “It didn’t happen all at once of course, it was little by little.”

She said she began only taking roles that asked for “minimal make up” and didn’t include intimate scenes, adding that it was a “constant battle and negotiation” with Mr Depp.

When she saw sex scenes in scripts she was offered, she said, “I’d look at it and I’d feel my gut tighten”.

She added that she would send the scripts to Mr Depp, as well as images of the wardrobe for a role, and share information with Mr Depp’s staff.

Johnny Depp at the Fairfax County Courthouse in Fairfax, Virginia, on 5 May 2022

(JIM LO SCALZO/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

Heard says Depp subjected her to ‘disgusting’ and violent grilling about sex scene with James Franco

Ms Heard said Mr Depp once subjected her to a “disgusting” and violent grilling about a sex scene she had filmed with actor James Franco.

She was asked about an incident she alleges occurred on a private flight in 2014. At the time, Ms Heard had been cast to star alongside Mr Franco in The Adderall Diaries, a thriller that was ultimately released in 2016.

“He was mad at me for taking the job with James Franco,” Ms Heard said. “He hated, hated James Franco and was already accusing me of secretly having a thing with him in my past, since we had done [the 2008 movie] Pineapple Express together.”

Ms Heard recalled an alleged altercation on a plane, during which she said Mr Depp started questioning her.

“I was polite. I made sure to answer the minimal amount that I could. I moved slowly. I was trying to be polite but not engage, because there was no win,” she said.

“And he kept going, he kept asking me. Eventually, he went from ‘Do you have something to tell me?’ to ‘You wanna tell me how much you liked it? Tell me, did he slip the tongue?’ It got worse and worse.

“It went from asking me about how my kissing scene went or how the sex scene went to asking me what James Franco had done in the scene, to being really explicit about my body … he was saying really disgusting things about my body, about how I liked it, how I responded. And then he started just straight-up taunting me. ‘I know you liked it’. He called me a go-getter. He called me a slut.”

Ms Heard said the scene unfolded in front of some members of Mr Depp’s staff.

“I remember I felt – I struggle to be able to tell you how embarrassed I was, because he was speaking to me in front of people in this way,” she said, alleging that Mr Depp used “sexually explicit descriptions of what he accused me of wanting or deserving”.

She said the fight continued, with Mr Depp slapping her in the face. At one point, she said she she walked away, her back to Mr Depp.

“I feel this boot in my back. He just kicked me. In the back,” she said. “I fell to the floor, I caught myself on the floor and I just felt like I was looking at the floor of the plane for a long time. I thought to myself, ‘I don’t know what to do. I can’t believe – did he just kick me?’

“No one said anything. No one did anything. You could hear a pin drop on that plane. You could feel the tension. But no one did anything. And I just remember feeling so embarrassed that he could kick me to the ground in front of people. And more embarrassing, I didn’t know what to do about it. I got up and I walked to the front of the plane. I sat down and I just looked out of the window.”

Amber Heard claims Johnny Depp’s jealousy made her give up film roles with sex scenes

Wednesday 4 May

Heard describes ‘painful’ legal proceedings

Asked by her attorney Elaine Bredehoft why she was at the Fairfax County Courthouse in Virginia, Ms Heard replied: “I am here because my ex-husband is suing me for an op-ed I wrote.”

“How do you feel about that?” Ms Bredehoft asked.

“I struggle to find the words to describe how painful this is,” Ms Heard replied.

“This is horrible for me, to sit here for weeks and relive everything – hear people that I knew, some well, some not, my ex-husband with whom I shared a life, speak about our lives in the way that they have. This is the most painful and difficult thing I have ever gone through, for sure.”

Ms Bredehoft then asked Ms Heard to describe her experience testifying as a witness in the 2020 trial in which Mr Depp sued The Sun in the UK for libel.

“I had to write – I think I gave seven witness statements under oath,” Ms Heard replied. “I sat on the stand for four days, under mostly cross-examination. And up until this point, it was the hardest I’d ever had to do.”

A judge in the UK case ruled against Mr Depp in November 2020.

Ms Heard was sued by Mr Depp in 2019 for alleged defamation over an op-ed she wrote in The Washington Post in late 2018. Mr Depp is not named in the piece, but Ms Heard describes herself in it as “a public figure representing domestic abuse”.

Mr Depp has asked for $50m in damages.

Ms Heard has countersued Mr Depp, accusing him of allegedly orchestrating a “smear campaign” against her and describing his own lawsuit as a continuation of “abuse and harassment.”

She has asked for $100m in damages and immunity against Mr Depp’s allegations.

Amber Heard testifies at the Fairfax County Courthouse

(Elizabeth Frantz/POOL/AFP via Getty)

Heard alleges Depp made her feel ‘dirty’ about her acting career

Elsewhere in her testimony, Ms Heard described how she says Mr Depp wooed her and her family early in their relationship. She says Mr Depp lavished her with gifts and attention and got along with her parents, to the point that “I think my dad would have married him himself if I hadn’t”.

Mr Depp, she alleged, had a pattern of disappearing and returning “different”. She said she felt compelled to stop talking about auditions she attended as an actor “because it would change the mood so dramatically”.

“It felt really dirty to be an actor. Nevermind that he was one. It was dirty that I wanted to do this job that I wanted to do and I was doing the job of an actress,” she told the court.

Amber Heard testifies about Johnny Depp allegedly hitting her for the first time

Heard recounts alleged physical and verbal violence:

Ms Heard alleged Mr Depp would make comments about her wardrobe, and recounted what she described as “a blow-up”.

“At first, it was just he’d throw something, smash some things,” she said. “He loves to smash up a place, an apartment, furniture. That’s what it started with, a glass. He threw a glass at me. I remember, it was summer. And he just threw this glass across the kitchen. It didn’t hit me. It shattered behind me, and I remember thinking that it very easily could have hit me.”

Ms Heard alleged Mr Depp would use disparaging language with her, calling her a “whore”, adding: “It didn’t start with using the ‘whore’ word, it was just comments, until it would escalate”.

She recalled what she described as a “pattern of escalation, where he’d throw a glass or turn over a table, then he would hit the wall and he would hit the wall really close to my head.”

“You know, like, when I’m standing there, you know, just hit the wall, screaming at me,” she added.

“Then he would disappear and get clean and sober, and he’d come back and tell me that he was done drinking, he was over it, it was done, he’d cleaned himself up, he had done it before and he would do it again. And then he would go back to this wonderful, almost unreal – real, but unbelievably nice, sensitive, kind, warm, generous, interesting, funny man that I loved.

“And he would make me feel so loved. I would feel so distant from that thing that was so scary that I would not even recognise it. That was how our relationship kind of started developing that first year.”

Johnny Depp reacts next to his attorney Ben Chew as Amber Heard testifies

(Elizabeth Frantz/POOL/AFP via Getty)

Asked to recount the first time Mr Depp allegedly hit her, Ms Heard said: “It’s seemingly so stupid, so insignificant. I will never forget it. It changed my life.”

She alleged she and Mr Depp were “sitting on the couch… talking … having a normal conversation.

“There was no fighting, no argument, nothing,” she said. “He was drinking and I didn’t realise at the time but I think he was using cocaine because there was a jar – a jar of cocaine on the table.”

She said she asked Mr Depp about a tattoo on his arm.

“And to me, it just looked like black marks,” she said. “I didn’t know what it said. It just looked like a muddled, faded tattoo that was hard to read.”

Ms Heard said Mr Depp told her the tattoo said “wino”.

“I thought he was joking, because it didn’t look like it said that at all. And I laughed. It was that simple. I just laughed, because I thought he was joking. And he slapped me across the face,” she said.

“And I laughed. I laughed because I didn’t know what else to do. I thought, ‘This must be a joke. This must be a joke.’ I didn’t know what was going on. I just stared at him, kind of laughing still, thinking that he was going to start laughing too, to tell me it was a joke, but he didn’t. He said, ‘You think it’s so funny? You think it’s funny, b****? You think you’re a funny b****?’ And he slapped me again. I was clear it wasn’t a joke anymore.”

Amber Heard accuse Depp of performing a cavity search on her searching for cocaine

Heard alleges Depp sexually assaulted her while looking for his drugs

Ms Heard alleged that Mr Depp once sexually assaulted her while searching for his drugs, after accusing her of hiding his cocaine.

“He starts patting me down or saying he’s patting me down, I can’t recall – but he ripped my dress, the strap top part of my dress,” she told the court. “I had just dyed this thing myself, pink … He’s grabbing my breasts, he’s touching my thighs, he rips my underwear off and he proceeds to do a cavity search. He said he was looking for his drugs, his cocaine. His coke.”

Ms Heard added: “I was wondering how somebody who didn’t do cocaine and was against it – that was in and of itself causing problems in our relationship. How could I hide, why would I hide his drugs? He was insinuating that I was doing it, or something? It made no sense. And he was telling me, ‘We’re gonna conduct a cavity search.’ He just shoved his fingers inside me. And I just stood there staring at the stupid light. I didn’t know what to do. I just stood there while he did that, he twisted his fingers around.”


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