Amber Heard, star of 'Aquaman,' gulped back tears as she testified that ex-husband Johnny Depp physically abused her, beginning with slaps when she laughed at one of his tattoos and progressing to a "cavity search" of her body for drugs.
Heard testified for the first time in a highly publicized defamation case brought by Depp in the United States, claiming the actors enjoyed a "magical" relationship before it devolved into violence. Heard stated that Depp's first physical outburst occurred when she inquired about the meaning of one of his faded tattoos. She said that he responded, "Wino," to which she laughed, believing it to be a joke.
Heard stated, "He slapped me across the face," "I had no idea what was happening, and I simply locked my gaze on him." Heard said he smacked her twice more and shouted, "you think it's funny, bitch?"
Depp, 58, previously testified that he never struck Heard and that she was the abuser during the trial. The actor is seeking $50 million from Heard, 36, claiming she defamed him by claiming she was a victim of domestic abuse. Heard countersued for $100 million, alleging that Depp slandered her by referring to her as a liar.
Heard, who alternated between sobbing and speaking calmly, stated that she remained with Depp because she wanted to accept his apologies and assurances not to attack her again.
However, Heard stated that Depp assaulted her "several times," most frequently when intoxicated or high on narcotics. Depp became enraged and accused her of inviting what he thought to be provocative overtures from another woman during a weekend away with friends in May 2013, Heard said.
Heard said Depp tore her dress, took off her underwear, and inserted his fingers "inside" her that evening.
"He proceeds to do a cavity search," she explained. "He's looking for his drugs, his cocaine."
Previously, psychologist Dawn Hughes testified that Heard informed her Depp had inserted his fingers into her vagina to look for drugs.
Exchange of accusations
The argument is predicated on an opinion piece she penned for the Washington Post in December 2018. Although the report did not refer to Depp by name, his attorney told jurors that it was apparent Heard was referring to him. After less than two years of marriage, the couple divorced in 2017.
Depp, who was previously one of Hollywood's top performers, claimed Heard's charges cost him "everything." A new "Pirates" picture has been put on hold, and Depp has been cast in the "Fantastic Beasts" film franchise, a spinoff of the "Harry Potter" franchise.
Depp previously testified that the altercation over the "Wino" tattoo, initially intended for former girlfriend Winona Ryder, "didn't happen."
He said Heard was the one who became physically hostile toward him during their relationship, throwing a vodka bottle that sliced the top of his right middle finger at one point. His attorneys presented evidence ranging from Depp's medical visit to his surgically prepared finger. Jurors also heard audio recordings of the two arguments, and Depp stated that her behavior left him "broken."
Heard has repeatedly denied injuring Depp's finger, and her counsel has contended that she stated the truth in the Washington Post article. Her viewpoint was protected as free speech under the First Amendment of the United States Constitution.
The trial, which is anticipated to go until late May, is being presided over by a state court judge in Virginia's Fairfax County, just outside the nation's capital.
Less than two years ago, Depp lost a libel action against The Sun, a British tabloid, labeling him a "wife-beater." A London High Court judge concluded that he assaulted Heard on multiple occasions.
According to Depp's attorneys, the US case was filed in Fairfax County since the Washington Post was printed there. The newspaper is not a party to the suit.