Photo: Alberto Pezzali, AP
LONDON (AP) — Amber Heard has accused ex-husband Johnny Depp of abusing her both physically and verbally and that at various times during their tempestuous relationship she feared for her life.
On the first day of her testimony at Britain’s High Court in London on Monday in Depp’s libel trial against The Sun newspaper over an April 2018 article that labelled him a “wife beater,” Heard also denied accusations she was a heavy drug-taker and drinker as well as being controlling and abusive herself.
“I was never violent towards him,” she said in court. “When I felt my life was threatened, I tried to defend myself.”
Depp, 57, is suing The Sun’s publisher, News Group Newspapers, and the paper’s executive editor, Dan Wootton, over the article. The Hollywood star, who strongly denies abusing Heard, was at the court to hear his ex-wife’s evidence. Heard’s testimony is due to last for three days.
She also described an incident in January 2015 in a hotel room in Tokyo over a prenuptial agreement between herself and Depp, and suggested there was an argument about it.
“There was an argument in a hotel room in Tokyo that resulted in Johnny kneeling on my back and hitting me on the back of the head,” she said.
In written testimony released as she took to the witness box, Heard said she worried Depp would kill her at various times during their relationship that saw her enduring “punching, slapping, kicking, head-butting and choking.” She also said “some incidents were so severe that I was afraid he was going to kill me, either intentionally or just by losing control and going too far.”
According to the 34-year-old Heard, Depp “explicitly threatened to kill me many times, especially later in our relationship” and that he blamed his actions on “a self-created third party” that he referred to as “the monster.”
Heard said Depp has “a unique ability to use his charisma to convey a certain impression of reality” and that he is “very good at manipulating people.”
Heard has been present throughout the trial, watching the proceedings as her ex-husband gave evidence over five days.
She is facing questioning over 14 allegations of domestic violence that The Sun’s publisher News Group Newspapers is relying on in its defense of the April 2018 article.
Depp and Heard met in 2009 on the set of the film “The Rum Diary,” which was released two years later. They married in Los Angeles in February 2015. Heard filed for divorce the following year, and the divorce was finalized in 2017.
The Sun’s defense relies on the 14 allegations made by Heard of violence by Depp between 2013 and 2016, in settings including his private island in the Bahamas, a rented house in Australia and the couple’s downtown Los Angeles penthouse.
Depp claims Heard was the aggressor during their volatile relationship, which he has likened to “a crime scene waiting to happen.”
In nine days of testimony at the High Court, judge Andrew Nicol has heard from Depp and from several current or former employees who have backed his version of events.
Heard claimed in her written testimony that Depp “often didn’t remember what he had done” because of the amount of alcohol and drugs he had consumed, and that “it was as if it hadn’t happened for him.”