Actors Amber Heard and Johnny Depp watch as the jury leaves the courtroom for a lunch break at the Fairfax County Circuit Courthouse in Fairfax, Virginia – Copyright AFP –
Amber Heard testified on Monday that she filed for divorce from “monster” Johnny Depp in May 2016 because she feared for her life.
“I had to leave him,” the 36-year-old actress Heard told the jury at the defamation trail filed against her by her former husband. “I knew I wouldn’t survive if I didn’t.
“I was so scared that it was going to end really badly for me,” she said.
“At the time it felt like the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do,” Heard said of filing for divorce. “I had worked so hard to try to make this relationship work.”
“It was hard because I loved Johnny so much,” she said. “I loved him so much.”
Heard said the “Pirates of the Caribbean” star would become a “monster” when he was drinking and her efforts to curtail his drug and alcohol use had failed.
“The monster had been this thing that was now the normal and not the exception,” she said. “The violence was now normal.”
Heard said the same week she filed for divorce she sought a temporary restraining order following an argument during which Depp threw a mobile phone at her, hitting her in the face.
The 58-year-old Depp, during his four days on the witness stand, denied ever striking Heard and claimed that she was the one who was frequently violent.
Depp filed suit against Heard over an op-ed she wrote for The Washington Post in December 2018 in which she described herself as a “public figure representing domestic abuse.”
Heard, who had a starring role in “Aquaman,” did not name Depp in the op-ed, but he sued her for implying he was a domestic abuser and is seeking $50 million in damages.
The Texas-born Heard countersued, asking for $100 million and claiming she suffered “rampant physical violence and abuse” at his hands.
– Sex scene –
Heard also testified about an incident that occurred while the couple were staying at chateau in France.
She said they were watching a pre-release trailer of a movie she appeared in called “London Fields” and the film-makers had “unbeknownst to me” put in a sex scene using a body double.
“Johnny freaked out because it looked like me,” she said. “So I have an incredibly jealous man who already is upset with me for breaking the rule that I have a sex scene.
“I’m telling him it wasn’t me. I didn’t shoot that scene,” said said. “He was irate and was calling me a liar, a whore, among other things.
She said Depp slapped her in the face and punched her in the jaw.
Heard’s attorneys are expected to wrap up their questioning of the actress on Monday before turning her over to Depp’s legal team for cross-examination.
Judge Penney Azcarate has scheduled closing arguments in the case for May 27, after which it will go to the jury.
Depp’s lawyers have put experts on the stand who testified that he has lost millions because of the abuse accusations, including a $22.5-million payday for a sixth installment of “Pirates.”
Depp filed the defamation complaint in the United States after losing a separate libel case in London in November 2020 that he brought against The Sun for calling him a “wife-beater.”
Depp, a three-time Oscar nominee, and Heard met in 2009 on the set of “The Rum Diary” and were married in February 2015. Their divorce was finalized two years later.