Amber Heard continued her explosive counter-argument to Johnny Depp’s claim of defamation, a narrative journey that on Thursday included tearfully recounting her contention that her former husband sexually assaulted her with a liquor bottle in an alcohol-fueled rage.
The alleged March 2015 incident in Australia has been a focal point of the four-week trial, with details of how Depp came to sever the top of his middle finger sharply disputed by opposing parties. Depp has testified that Heard threw a bottle at him.
Heard testified that the injury – which she said she did not witness because she had been given a sedative to sleep – came after Depp sexually assaulted her following a fight in which he accused her of sleeping with co-stars Billy Bob Thornton and Eddie Redmayne – accusations she denies.
“At some point he’s on top of me, screaming I fucking hate you, you ruined my fucking life,” Heard testified. “I’m on the countertop, he had me by the neck and was on top of me.
“My back was on the countertop. I thought he was punching me. I felt this pressure on my pubic bone and I could feel his arm moving. It looked like he was punching me. I could just feel this pressure,” Heard said.
“I remember looking around the room, looking at all the broken bottles, broken glass and I remember not wanting to move because I didn’t know if it was broken, I didn’t know if the bottle that he had inside me was broken.”
Heard also described the aftermath of the night, finding her shredded burgundy nightgown used to wrap strips of raw steak and vulgar messages daubed in blood and paint around the house. Outside the house, she said Depp was still at work, trying to write more disparaging messages by urinating on a wall.
“His security looked at me and not laughed, played it off. It was like corralling a wild animal back into the house with his penis out of his pants,” Heard said.
Heard testified that when Depp returned to Los Angeles he needed to get off cocaine before he could have surgery on his hand. “I thought he might die or kill himself. Certainly seemed like the trajectory he was on.”
Heard later contradicted the testimony of Depp’s security guard Travis McGivern who had said that during a fight in Los Angeles, Heard had thrown a Red Bull can at Depp. Heard says it was Depp who threw a can, and “took a swing” at her sister. After that, she said, she punched Depp.
But Heard said that during another fight in December 2015, Depp had headbutted her – an accusation Depp denies. She testified that during that confrontation she felt that this was how she might die.
Earlier, Heard told jurors that Depp was surrounded by security guards and assistants who enabled him to avoid the consequences of his drug and alcohol issues. The court was shown photographs of Depp passed out, which Heard said she starting taking in 2013 because he would black out and later deny what had taken place when he was intoxicated.
“He wouldn’t remember, or he would deny it. There was no one to back me up – just his employees versus my word,” Heard said.
Heard later testified about a trip to London in 2013, where she and Depp were filming movies, when Depp disappeared and came home so intoxicated that he was carried into their rented home “like a baby” by a security guard.
Heard testified: “His assistants and other security guards were shaking their heads. I remember thinking: surely this is it. He was very sick for at least two days. I felt at that juncture very encouraged that we were on the same page … that he had hit rock bottom.
“I understood enough about addiction to know you have to hit rock bottom, have some consequence to get better.”
Depp, she added, got briefly sober. “I thought we were on a good path to sobriety,” she said.
“I felt very encouraged that everybody and I were on the same page, and I felt encouraged that we were in a new chapter,” Heard added.
But Depp soon relapsed, she said. The court was told that Depp and Heard’s father ran out of drugs at the couple’s engagement party, and her father left the party with Depp’s security team to pick up more. Heard has previously testified about her father’s heroin addiction.
Heard testified that she had insisted on a pre-nuptial agreement. “I wanted to eliminate any doubt in his mind and in other people’s minds. So I brought it up to him and brought it up to my therapist,” she said.
But Depp, she said, had ruled it out. “He accused me of having one foot out,” Heard said, and told her “the only way out of this is death”.
Heard said that Depp would become angry if any of her movies were scripted with sex scenes. She said: “Every time I got a script, it was what kind of, you know, how I was dressing? … Did I have a sex scene?”
Heard said she compensated for his jealousy by declining more sexually provocative parts or petitioning wardrobe managers to allow her to dress more conservatively.
“I had to eggshell or tiptoe around him when I had any kind of scene,” Heard said of the conflict.
Depp, she said, hated that she worked with James Franco in The Adderall Diaries and had kicked her in the back on a flight from Boston to Los Angeles.
“He called me a slut” for the scenes, Heard said, adding how he accused her of liking filming the scenes.
“He was being really explicit about my body, about how I liked it. He called me go-getting, a slut. He asked if I was wet, why I wasn’t looking at him … did James do this and that to me?”
The jury heard Depp “howling like an animal” in an audio recording recorded by Heard on the flight. Depp, Heard said, had locked himself in the bathroom and passed out.
After the Met Gala in New York, Heard testified, Depp had thrown a bottle at her. She told the court: “He shoved me down on the sofa and at some point he just whacked me in the face. I suspected I had a broken nose. I remember it being swollen, discolored and red.”
Heard testified that a team of detox doctors was brought into help Depp after the LA-Boston flight. The doctors elected to keep Depp on painkillers so he could finish filming, she said. But Depp, Heard said, was taking “about double” the number of opiate painkillers he told his doctors he was taking. Depp, Heard said, would “nod out” or fall asleep in mid-sentence.
“He’d been lying to them so he could get extra-high before he had to detox,” Heard testified.
“I didn’t understand what was going on,” Heard said. “I hadn’t seen anything like this. I was trying to figure what happened.”
In 2014, Heard said she started attending daily meetings of Al-Anon, a group for relatives and friends of people with alcohol addiction.
Eventually, Heard said, Depp agreed to a detox program under the care of a team at his home in the Bahamas. But the process did not go smoothly, she said.
“He slapped me across the face, but he did so while he was crying,” Heard said. “I shouldn’t have been there. I don’t know how to detox someone. I don’t know why the doctors and nurses wanted me to be there. It was hell.”
The court is out on Friday and all of next week, leaving jurors 10 days to mull Heard’s testimony before Depp’s counsel can mount a cross-examination.
• This article was amended on 6 May 2022. The group for relatives and friends of people with alcohol addiction is Al-Anon, not Alcoholics Anonymous as an earlier version said due to an editing error. The latter is for alcoholics themselves.
In the US, the domestic violence hotline is 1-800-799-SAFE (7233). In the UK, call the national domestic abuse helpline on 0808 2000 247, or visit Women’s Aid. In Australia, the national family violence counselling service is on 1800 737 732. Other international helplines may be found via www.befrienders.org