The chunky silver rings Johnny Depp is fond of wearing made it hurt more when he allegedly slapped Amber Heard, she told a Virginia courtroom on Wednesday as part of a weekslong defamation trial.
Through a $50 million lawsuit, Depp is accusing his ex-wife of lying about her abuse allegations, made over the course of the couple’s acrimonious split in 2016, when she sought a restraining order against him.
The Pirates of the Caribbean star testified last month, alleging that Heard had actually abused him during their relationship, in one incident by throwing a glass bottle that shattered and severed his fingertip. He has repeatedly denied all accusations of abuse.
Wednesday was the first time the court was able to learn directly from Heard how Depply allegedly used his money and charm to cover up shocking behaviour.
Heard described a Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde scenario where Depp ― who has spoken candidly about his struggles with alcohol and drug addiction ― would sometimes show warmth, but sometimes be “this other thing”.
“And that other thing was [an] awful, awful thing that would come out and take over, and it was hard to see the Johnny I loved underneath it. And no one told him. No one was honest with him,” Heard tested, referring to the people who managed Depp’s career.
“He’d pass out in his own vomit, he’d lose control of his body, and everybody would clean up after him. I cleaned up after him,” she said, adding that she once saw Depp’s bodyguards change him out of soiled pants.
Heard told of a bizarre situation in which she was driving with Depp to an event and, along the way, the actor allegedly grabbed a teacup Yorkie and held it out the window of the moving vehicle while “howling”. Despite there being other, unnamed people in the car, Heard said, no one reacted.
Actor Amber Heard testifies in the courtroom at the Fairfax County Circuit Court on May 4.
She became emotional during her hours of testimony, at times speaking haltingly. Depp looked down at the table in front of him much of the time; he appeared to be writing.
The actors were married briefly in 2015 and 2016, having met on the set of the 2011 film The Rum Diary, which starred Depp.
Asked to describe the first time Depp struck her, Heard began by telling the court that Depp had been drinking and, she suspected, using cocaine, since there was a “vintage jar” of the drug nearby.
“He slapped me across the face, 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 because I didn’t know what was going on,” Heard tested.
“He said, ‘You think it’s so funny? You think it’s funny, bitch? You think you’re a funny bitch?’ And he slapped me again,” she said. Depply struck her a third time, causing her to lose her balance. Earlier in the trial, recordings were played of Depp screaming at Heard and calling her names.
“I knew it was wrong, and I had to leave him,” Heard said of the alleged assault. “And that’s what broke my heart, because I didn’t want to leave him.” Then Depp started crying, Heard tested, and assuring her on his knees that he would never hit her again.
Depp spoke about his addiction issue as if it were a “monster” that he killed, saying he thought he had “put that fucker away”, according to Heard.
Actor Johnny Depp returns to the courtroom after a lunch break at the Fairfax County Circuit Court on May 4.
At various times, she said that Depp hit her and broke things near her, appearing upset about the idea that Heard could be seeing other people. Heard said Depp took issue with low-cut clothing, commenting: “That’s really what you’re wearing, kid?” She described a pattern in which Depp would “blow up” and then “disappear”, returning after he had sobered up.
Later in their relationship, Heard said that Depp started hiding his alcohol and drug use from her, leaving her to make educated guesses about the state he was in.
“Johnny on speed is very different from Johnny on opiates. And Johnny on opiates [is] very different from Johnny on Adderall, and Cocaine Johnny, which is very different from Quaaludes Johnny,” Heard said.
In one particularly horrific episode, Heard alleged that Depp became irate one night, ripped her dress partially off, groped her body and “proceeded to do a cavity search.”
“He said he was looking for his drugs, his cocaine, his coke,” she said.
The alleged incident took place at an isolated “trailer park” retreat that had been rented, and when the manager took a look at the damage Depp had supposedly done to the place, Heard said he was angry ― until speaking to Depp, who smoothed things over.
She is expected to resume testimony on Thursday.