In Depth

Why everybody’s talking about Johnny Depp and Amber Heard

Accusations of affairs and domestic abuse claimed by both sides

Amber Heard has denied having multiple affairs while married to Johnny Depp, and claimed that the Hollywood actor “beat me up for years”.

Heard is giving evidence for a second day during Depp’s libel case against The Sun newspaper, with the hearing now in its third week.

What is happening?

Depp is suing The Sun’s publisher, News Group Newspapers (NGN), and the newspaper’s executive editor, Dan Wootton, over a 2018 article that referred to “overwhelming evidence” that the actor attacked Heard during their two-year marriage.

Lawyers for NGN say that The Sun’s description of Depp was “entirely accurate and truthful”.

In a statement through her spokesperson before the court proceedings began, Heard said that she has been trying to “move on with her life” following their divorce, in 2017, but has instead been “dragged to court to give evidence on some of the most distressing moments of her life”.

What are the new details?

During her first day in the witness box on Monday, Heard said she had been “terrified of the monster” that was Depp, reports Sky News.

In a statement submitted to the trial, Heard also said she feared Depp was “going to kill” her on numerous occasions during their relationship. She claimed Depp was “jealous” over her interactions with male co-stars including Leonardo DiCaprio, James Franco and Eddie Redmayne.

The court was shown text messages between Heard and Elon Musk, in which the Tesla chief offers her “24/7 security”, adding: “The offer would stand, even if you never wanted to see me again... anyway, sorry for being an idiot. The radio silence hurts a lot. It only matters because I really like you.”

Eleanor Laws QC, representing Depp, also cited evidence from a concierge at the pair’s apartment who claimed he saw Musk visiting Heard when Depp was away in 2015. Heard denied the claims, and further denied accusations she had had an affair with Franco.

The court was then shown CCTV footage of Heard and Franco allegedly trying to avoid being seen as they entered Heard’s apartment building when Depp was away.

Laws also suggested Heard had been violent with Depp during their relationship, an accusation Depp had previously made to the court.

Heard called the accusations “preposterous”, and told the court: “He was twice my size and beat me up for five years... I wanted him to stop calling me a liar, but here we are four years later.”

But she admitted hitting Depp on one occasion in 2015, in an attempt to avoid him attacking her sister. “I did strike Johnny that day,” she told the court, “in defence of my sister”.

Whitney Heard, the actress said, had been standing at the top of a staircase in their apartment. “I had heard that he had pushed a former girlfriend, I think it was Kate Moss, down the stairs. And I thought of that at the moment and I reacted in defence of her [Whitney]. For years I had never hit him back. I would never forget this incident”.

She also said that an absence of her visible injuries in the days after the alleged violence was because she wore makeup. “Whenever I leave the house, I wear makeup,” she said.

Heard claimed that she hid her injuries caused by Depp in the early part of their marriage, reports The Guardian. “Throughout the relationship, others noticed I had cuts and bruises,” her statement explained.

“I made excuses. People asked me: ‘Is he hitting you?’ I would deflect it; I wasn’t sharing it with people because I was trying to protect him and our relationship – and to protect myself from the humiliation that I felt about anyone knowing that I would allow this to happen to me.

“I became an expert in covering up the bruises and injuries. Later in the relationship, it became impossible to hide.”

Depp has denied any suggestion that he was violent towards Heard.

What had already been said in court?

During cross-examination by The Sun’s lawyer, Depp spoke about his drug and alcohol abuse over the years, which he said started when was 11 years old. The Hollywood star admitted to having taken drugs including marijuana, cocaine, LSD, ecstasy, magic mushrooms and prescription pharmaceuticals.

The court also heard a number of claims about Heard inflicting serious violence on Depp. His barrister, David Sherborne, read out transcripts of a recording in which Heard calls Depp “a fucking baby” after allegedly hitting him, to which he replies: “Because you start physical fights.” 

According to the transcript of the row, in September 2015, Heard said: “You got hit... but I did not punch you. I did not fucking deck you. I fucking was hitting you.”  

Depp claims that on another occasion, in late 2014 or early 2015, Heard punched him in the face on a plane. In written statements, he says that she was “verbally aggressive… Then she became physically violent and repeatedly punched me in the face. As I moved towards the back of the plane to get away from her, she followed me into the plane’s bedroom and punched me again in the face and the head.

“I pushed her away from me, on to the bed. I then grabbed a pillow and locked myself in the bathroom, where I slept for the duration of the flight.”

In another witness statement, “Depp claimed Heard had repeatedly punched him in the face and partially severed his finger by throwing a vodka bottle”, reports The Guardian

“Amber severed my finger with the second of two thrown vodka bottles at me in the early afternoon of Sunday 8 March [2015]. Amber claims this was on the second day of a ‘three-day hostage situation’,” said Depp, whose legal team showed photos of him lying in a hospital bed following the alleged incident.

“Another gory shot showed his severed finger,” says the Daily Mirror.

Depp added that “Amber claims that during these three days, I subjected her to a variety of what sounds like torture and other abuse. These sick claims are completely untrue.”

His barrister told the court that Heard had “invented these stories of serious violence. He is not and never has been a wife-beater.”

The actor also claims that Heard “or possibly one of her friends” defecated in their bed, and that she dismissed the incident as “just a harmless prank”.

In another statement, the Pirates of the Caribbean star said that actor and model Heard had married him to advance her career.

She “constantly belittled” him and called him a “fat old man” and “horrible father”, according to Depp, who has two children with former partner Vanessa Paradis.

Depp also says that he and Heard saw a marriage counsellor who allegedly confirmed to him that his then wife had a “borderline, toxic narcissistic personality disorder and is a sociopath”, reports the BBC.

The trial continues.

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