Amber Heard teared up as she took the stand for the first time in the libel lawsuit between Johnny Depp and herself on Wednesday, May 4. Amber, 36, recalled the first time that Johnny, 58, allegedly hit her early on in her testimony, describing it early on in their relationship in a moment when she asked him about one of his tattoos. She said that she was shocked and thought he was “joking” at first. “I will never forget it. It changed my life,” she said as she began to recount the incident.
The Aquaman actress said she’d asked him what a tattoo on his arm said, and she said that she laughed when he told her that it read “Wino.” She alleged that Johnny then “slapped [her] across the face.” She said that she was confused at first and kept laughing, because she thought it was a joke. “I just stared at him laughing still thinking that he was gonna start laughing too to tell me it was a joke. But he didn’t. He said ‘Do you think it’s so funny? You think it’s funny b***h? You think you’re a funny b***h?’ Then he slapped me again,” she said, as she started to get emotional.
Amber continued to say that the alleged moment was completely unexpected, and she said that she was frozen and unsure of how to react next. “I, as a woman, had never been hit like that. I’m an adult, and I’m sitting next to the man I love, and he slapped—He slapped me for no reason it seemed like, and I missed the point,” she said. “I don’t know what else to say or do so, I just stared at him. I didn’t say anything. I didn’t react. I didn’t move or freak out or defend myself.”
Amber went on to describe her surprise and her feelings in that moment, and she started to cry on the stand. “I know you don’t come back from that. I’m not dumb,” she said. “I knew I had to leave him, and that’s what broke my heart, because I didn’t want to leave him.” She continued to say that she wished she reacted differently. “I wish I could sit here and say I stood up, and I walked out of that house, and I drew a line, and I stood up for myself.”
Amber claimed that as she stood up, she saw Johnny start to cry, and he started to apologize. She said that she “couldn’t just forgive him” and left the house and drove home. She said after the alleged incident that she told her therapist and days later Johnny texted to apologize, and they eventually met up to speak. She said when they met Johnny promised that it “would never happen again.”
Amber’s testimony came a little more than a week after Johnny took the stand and offered an emotional account of his relationship with the actress. As he was questioned, the Pirates of the Caribbean actor claimed that he’d never abused Amber, and he made claims that she’d gotten physical with him on a few occasions, including one where she threw a bottle at him and it severed a part of his middle finger.
“In the beginning of my relationship with Ms. Heard, it was as if she was too good to be true,” Depp said when he first began his testimony on Apr. 19. “She was attentive. She was loving. She was smart. She was kind. She was funny. She was understanding. We had many things in common. Music. Literature and things of that nature. For that year or year and a half, it was amazing.” Depp denied the allegations that he was physically violent against his ex-wife.
“It was a complete shock. It just didn’t need to go in that direction, as nothing of the kind ever happened,” he said. “There were arguments and things of that nature, but never did myself reach the point of striking Ms. Heard in any way, nor have I struck anyone in my life.” While on the stand, Depp said that Heard’s allegations were “diabolical” and that by filing this $50 million lawsuit against his former love, he was fulfilling a responsibility to “not only clear my name …I wanted to clear my children of this horrid thing they had to read about their father, that was untrue.”
Amber took the stand after a number of other witnesses testified on the stand, via video, and in pre-recorded depositions. Many members of Johnny’s security team spoke out about the pair’s relationship and various allegations that the two actors have made against each other. Agents and other experts have also weighed in to explain how they felt that the allegations of abuse detailed in a Washington Post op-ed by Amber affected his career.
In the trial’s opening statements, the Aquaman star seemed to hold back tears when her lawyer dropped a bombshell, accusing Depp of sexually assaulting Amber during an Australia visit. “As you go through those three days of Australia, some pretty horrendous things happened to her. He rips off her nightgown. He has her jammed up against a bar. He has hurled bottles and bottles at her. He has dragged her across the floor on the broken bottles and the liquor,” said Amber’s attorney before getting into graphic detail of the alleged assault.
On Apr. 14, Amber’s former assistant, Kate James, testified in a pre-recorded deposition. In the testimony, Kate said that she never saw any cuts or bruises on Amber during her time as Heard’s assistant. She also painted Amber as an abusive boss. When Kate asked for a raise, Amber allegedly “went absolutely ballistic. Screaming, yelling, and abuse. (It was a) blind rage. She leaped up out of my chair, put [her] face four inches from my face, telling me how dare I ask the salary I was asking for.”