Amber Heard recalls photographing Johnny Depp while unconscious: 'I wanted him to get help'

·9 min read

Amber Heard returned to the witness stand Monday for her third day of testimony in a libel suit filed against her by her ex-husband, Johnny Depp.

Inside a packed and largely maskless courtroom, Heard at times broke down in tears as she recalled her relationship with the "Pirates of the Caribbean" actor. She characterized their relationship as "violent and chaotic" at times.

The court played clips of a discussion between Heard and Depp, where she can be heard telling her ex-husband that even though she has evidence of his abuse towards her, she doesn't want to go public with it because she didn't want to "hurt" him.

"I was begging Johnny to not make me prove what I've had to sit on this stand in front of all of you and prove and talk about. … I didn't want this. I don't want to be here," Heard said. "I was trying to point out how absurd it would be for him to keep making me prove this by calling me a liar."

She continued: "I didn't want to hurt him. I loved him. I loved him so much. That's why I'm explaining to him why I didn't file criminal charges. I didn't file a police report even though it was being used against me. … I didn't want this to hurt Johnny. I don't want this to hurt Johnny.

At the beginning of her testimony Monday, Heard corrected herself about the timing of the first time she said Depp slapped her, which revolved around her questioning him about one of his tattoos. Heard initially said that happened in 2013, but she said Monday that it actually happened in 2012. She said her confusion resulted from the fact that she wanted to believe in her mind that the abuse hadn’t begun so early in their relationship.

“I had kind of allowed myself to forget that the beginning was violent and chaotic as well,” she said.

Depp is suing Heard in Fairfax County Circuit Court for libel over an op-ed she wrote in The Washington Post describing herself as "a public figure representing domestic abuse." His lawyers say he was defamed by the 2018 article even though it never mentioned his name.

Johnny Depp, Amber Heard libel trial: Everything that's happened so far, including Heard on the stand

Amber Heard became emotional during her May 16 testimony as court resumed following a break the previous week. Heard recalled an argument she had with Johnny Depp on her 30th birthday after the actor didn't show up to her celebration.
Amber Heard became emotional during her May 16 testimony as court resumed following a break the previous week. Heard recalled an argument she had with Johnny Depp on her 30th birthday after the actor didn't show up to her celebration.

Amber Heard denies physically abusing Johnny Depp, testifies on divorce settlement

During cross-examination, Heard was asked about her alleged abuse of Depp throughout their relationship. A clip was played of Heard telling Depp in a conversation, "See what the jury and judge think. Tell the world Johnny, 'I, Johnny Depp, I am a victim too of domestic violence.' "

"I could never hurt Johnny," said Heard in response to the allegation she "beat up" Depp numerous times.

Heard was also questioned about the lack of photographic evidence and medical records across her multiple allegations of physical abuse by Depp, including an incident before the Tokyo premiere of Depp's film "Mortdecai" in 2015. In contrast, it was pointed out that Heard had taken multiple photos of Depp while he was asleep, allegedly passed out from drug use.

When asked if she liked taking photos of Depp in this unconscious state, Heard said she "hated it" and that she took the photos out of concern for Depp's well-being.

"I wanted him to get help," said Heard, dressed in a gray suit. "Johnny's surrounded by enablers who clean up after him and protect him."

Another topic of contention in court was the donation of Heard's $7 million divorce settlement to the American Civil Liberties Union and the Children's Hospital of Los Angeles. Heard insisted she pledged the donation amount in its entirety but hasn't "been able to fulfill those obligations," citing Depp's lawsuit against her as an obstacle.

Heard pushed back against the notion she announced the donation of her divorce settlement to get "good press" and be seen as a "noble victim of domestic violence."

"I have never wanted to be seen as a victim, nor have I ever called myself one," Heard said.

Amber Heard testifies about alleged fights with Johnny Depp during their marriage

Heard also claimed that following their honeymoon in August 2015, Depp became abusive after she wanted to work on a TV series that also starred James Franco. The role would require some nudity, which she said Depp had problems with.

Heard also discussed how her 2018 film "London Fields" was a source of tension between them due to the sexuality of her role. Heard said the couple was away in France at Depp's secluded château when he demanded to see a screener of the film. Heard said unbeknownst to her, production used a body double for her to film a sex scene, which Depp became upset over.

"I have an incredibly jealous man who’s already 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. You can imagine how upset he was. He was irate, calling me a liar … among many other things," Heard testified. "That combined with the fact that I had even entertained doing this job that involved James Franco was a pressure cooker. I called It a week of hell."

During her May 16 testimony, Amber Heard strongly denied an accusation from Johnny Depp that she left human fecal matter in the couple’s bed after a fight, a widely discussed element of the trial and the couple's previous U.K. trial.
During her May 16 testimony, Amber Heard strongly denied an accusation from Johnny Depp that she left human fecal matter in the couple’s bed after a fight, a widely discussed element of the trial and the couple's previous U.K. trial.

Johnny Depp, Amber Heard trial: All your questions about the lawsuit, answered

Heard also recalled an argument the two had on her 30th birthday after Depp didn't attend her celebration. She said the verbal argument turned into a shoving match where Depp hurled a large bottle of champagne at her, which ended up going through a painting.

She said the two continued arguing on and off, which she said resulted in Depp throwing her phone out the window. In turn, Heard also threw Depp's phone through the window. Throughout the incident, Heard said Depp chest bumped her and held her down.

"I remember saying to him, 'Can we not fight like this? Can we start over? Can we just not do this, please? It's my birthday, let's just call a truce. I don't want it to end like this,' " Heard said. "He responded cruelly. He said it's what I (expletive) deserve. … He said this was all my fault and what I asked for, and he left."

She said she heard the door open again, thinking Depp had come back and said "I remember thinking, 'Oh God, is this going to happen again?' "

Heard also strongly denied an accusation from Depp that she left human fecal matter in the couple’s bed after a fight. Heard said it was the couple’s teacup Yorkshire terrier that messed the bed and that it had a history of bowel problems ever since it had accidentally ingested Depp’s marijuana.

"I don’t think that’s funny," she said about the alleged poop prank. "I don’t know what grown woman does. I was not in a pranking mood.”

The feces allegation is one of several that has Depp’s online fans have particularly latched onto in their social media critiques of Heard.

Heard's testimony Monday was punctuated by numerous objections from Depp's team on the basis of speculation, lack of foundation and leading the witness. Heard's testimony has focused primarily on the final months of the couple’s marriage, which lasted from 2015 to 2016.

"He was talking to people who weren’t in the room. It was terrifying," she said. "It was unclear to me whether he was even mad at me or he was convinced that the guy he said he saw me with was in the room."

Jurors saw a video of Depp slamming cabinets in a kitchen and pouring himself an oversized glass of wine with Heard trying to ascertain why Depp was mad.

A spokesperson for Heard said in a statement to USA TODAY Monday ahead of her testimony that they expected Depp's attorneys to "pound away on the victim," because "when the facts are not on your side, pound away on the podium."

"We fear it will be equal parts shameful and desperate. And, the overwhelming evidence — the truth — is not on Depp's side," the statement read. "The one thing we suspect Depp's attorneys will avoid is the central issue of this trial: does Amber or any woman have the First Amendment Right of Freedom of Speech."

Amber Heard says she's a victim, but the public made her a villain. Experts say it's a dangerous moment for domestic violence.

Amber Heard testifies in the courtroom at the Fairfax County Circuit Court in Fairfax, Virginia, Thursday, May 5, 2022.
Amber Heard testifies in the courtroom at the Fairfax County Circuit Court in Fairfax, Virginia, Thursday, May 5, 2022.

Johnny Depp, Amber Heard detail relationship: What's happened so far in libel trial

The high-profile trial resumed after a one-week hiatus to accommodate a judicial conference. Jurors have already heard four weeks of testimony with both Heard and Depp taking the stand, getting emotional at times as they shared allegations against one another and recounted their rocky relationship from meeting on the set of 2011's "The Rum Diary" to sparking a romance, getting married, splitting up, and all the fights in between.

Cross-examination of Heard by Depp's lawyers began Monday afternoon after more than two days of testimony.

Testimony: Amber Heard details graphic account of alleged sexual assault by Johnny Depp: 'I was scared'

Heard told jurors she was physically and sexually abused on multiple occasions before and during her brief marriage to Depp, which lasted from 2015-16.

When Depp took the stand earlier, he maintained he "never struck Ms. Heard in any way, nor have I ever struck any women in my life."

Heard and her attorneys argued the 2018 Washington Post column did nothing to damage Depp’s reputation – that the abuse accusations had been public for two years already, and Depp’s spiraling career was the result of his drinking and drug-using, which made him an unreliable commodity to Hollywood studios.

Before Amber Heard's testimony: Amber Heard had yet to take the stand. But on social media, Johnny Depp had already won.

Contributing: Naledi Ushe, Maria Puente, Rasha Ali, Edward Segarra USA TODAY; The Associated Press

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Amber Heard testifies as Johnny Depp trial resumes

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