[Warning: Potentially Triggering Content]
For everyone following the Johnny Depp defamation trial, this is the big event: Amber Heard testifying, telling her story of the couple’s relationship — and the alleged abuse she suffered at her ex-husband’s hands. We’ve read her account — partially written by others, as it turns out. But now she’s reliving it, under oath.
Amber’s testimony began on Wednesday as she told the court this was “the most painful and difficult thing I’ve gone through”:
“I struggle to find the words to describe how painful it is. This is horrible for me to sit here for weeks and relive everything, hear people that I knew some well, some not, my ex-husband with whom I shared a life, speak about our lives in the way that they have.”
Now it’s her turn.
We’ve heard other accounts of Amber and Johnny’s romance, even from the Pirates of the Caribbean star. But not from her perspective.
She gushed about the early days, saying:
“I fell head over heels in love with this man. I felt like this man knew me and saw me in a way no-one else had. I felt he understood me, where I came from. I felt when I was around Johnny I felt like the most beautiful person in the whole world. I felt like a million dollars.”
She testified how they had met on the set of the 2011 movie The Rum Diary. She explained that she had already caught feelings, but the co-stars’ kissing scene sealed the deal.
“We had a kissing scene and it felt real. He really kissed me using his tongue. We just had this, it was a friendship, flirtatious thing. I felt chemistry. I felt this other thing that went beyond the pail of my job for sure. Johnny clearly felt that way about me but at the same time we were both in relationships and it’s a job and it was intimidating. I remember feeling intimidated and nervous about that. We went our separate ways and I didn’t hear from him for a long time…”
She swears they weren’t cheating on that film. It wasn’t until later that he reached out:
“There was no contact until Johnny called me on the phone one day, invited me to his home in Beverly Hills. It was out of the blue.”
She says he began sending her gifts as an overture:
“He sent me a beautiful dress I wore in the movie with a beautiful handwritten note that said happy wrapping. He sent me a few gorgeous, expensive what I can only assume are collectible books. When I was away filming on a different job, he did send me some guitars.”
It certainly could be read as what’s called “lovebombing” — overwhelming a potential/new partner with adoration and gifts, something abusers often do to quickly win someone over. Of course, it could also just be thoughtful. Gifts are one of the known 5 love languages, and plenty of people do do it with honest intentions.
In either case, it worked. She said the relationship began while they were promoting the movie:
“Then we fell in love. We went on this press tour and it was a beautiful and strange time. We’re flying from one city to the next, Europe, New York, Los Angeles and we’re traveling around talking about this movie and we were falling in love. In London he had me sat next to him at dinner and we ended up spending the night together in my hotel room. For the rest of the press tour it was on.”
However, she says, Johnny advised her they had to keep their relationship secret because he and Vanessa Paradis hadn’t gone public with their separation yet — a red flag she ultimately ignored:
“We had this whirlwind romance in these beautiful places, falling in love, not able to show it because the world didn’t know about the split between he and his former partner. As a woman, that is troubling. He swore to me they hadn’t shared a bed for a year but were protecting the kids by not making it known to the press.”
She says Johnny made it make sense:
“We had to be really under the radar. Johnny pointed out the world would blame me and call me a homewrecker. We were secretly dating. It was beautiful.”
The courtship continued. She testified:
‘That feeling, he’d lavish gifts and expressions of love, say how he never meet a woman like me.”
She shared one particular memory of the romance that was growing in its own little “bubble”:
“He took this foil off this bottle and put it on my ring finger — I’d been with him a few weeks – it felt very intense. We weren’t doing normal life stuff, we were hiding in these places around the world. He had so many homes, my home at the time. It was a bubble, in this little bubble of secrecy and it felt like this warm glow, music, books we loved, poetry we both loved by heart. It felt like a dream. It felt like absolute magic.”
She recalled days of Johnny “painting me, reading poetry to me, just talking.” But the bubble was about to burst.
The ‘Whore’ Word
The first bits of controlling, dominating behavior Amber alleges came in the form of words. She says Johnny made her feel dirty for being an actress:
“It felt really dirty to be an actor. Nevermind that he was one. It was dirty that I wanted to do this job that I wanted to do and I was doing the job of an actress.”
She says he would make little comments about what she was wearing, like, “Oh that’s really what you’re wearing, kid? Oh, I see.” Gross.
She described having worn a revealing dress to an event and asking him if he saw it, to which he replied:
“‘Yeah, I think the whole world saw that, kid. That’s how they’ll remember you… That’s what you’re putting out there in the world, no one will ever forget that, and that’s all they’ll see you as. And that’s what you wanted. That’s what you were going for.’ My dress was low-cut, I get it… But I felt really embarrassed and horrible that I wore that. I felt like, how could I have made that choice? Of course he’s right. You start to believe, I started to believe it.”
Then the little needling, the implications, gave way to straight-up calling her a “whore.” As Amber put it:
“It didn’t start with using the ‘whore’ word, it was just comments, until it would escalate.”
Of course, it eventually escalated to violence, Amber claims. Just not against her at first. She said he would have “a blow-up” and victimize inanimate objects in a blind rage:
“At first, it was just he’d throw something, smash some things. He loves to smash up a place, an apartment, furniture. That’s what it started with, a glass. He threw a glass at me. I remember, it was summer. And he just threw this glass across the kitchen. It didn’t hit me. It shattered behind me, and I remember thinking that it very easily could have hit me.”
The Aquaman star testified there was a “pattern of escalation, where he’d throw a glass or turn over a table, then he would hit the wall and he would hit the wall really close to my head.” She said, emotionally:
“You know, like, when I’m standing there, you know, just hit the wall, screaming at me… Then he would disappear and get clean and sober, and he’d come back and tell me that he was done drinking, he was over it, it was done, he’d cleaned himself up, he had done it before and he would do it again.”
That’s why she stayed, she says:
“He would go back to this wonderful, almost unreal — real, but unbelievably nice, sensitive, kind, warm, generous, interesting, funny man that I loved. And he would make me feel so loved. I would feel so distant from that thing that was so scary that I would not even recognize it. That was how our relationship kind of started developing that first year.”
Then, she claims, he graduated into hitting her.
The First 3 Strikes
Amber says the first time Johnny struck her, it was over something “so stupid, so insignificant”:
“I will never forget it. It changed my life.”
“I was sitting on the couch having a normal conversation. He was drinking. I think he was using cocaine because there was a jar — a jar — of cocaine on the table. There’s music playing, smoking cigarettes and I ask him about the tattoo he has on his arm.”
The tattoo in question is the infamous Winona Forever that he got for Winona Ryder — and altered to say Wino Forever after they broke up. She said:
‘To me it looked like black marks, I didn’t know what it said. I said, ‘What does it say?’ He said it says ‘Wino’ and I thought he was joking, and I laughed.”
That laugh changed everything. She says:
“He slapped me across the face and… I laughed. I laughed because I didn’t know what else to do. I thought this must be a joke. Because I didn’t know what was going on. I just stared at him, kind of laughing still…”
Amber claims she thought Johnny was going to laugh, that this was going to be some dark joke. Instead, he said:
“‘You think it’s so funny? You think it’s funny, bitch? You think you’re a funny bitch?’”
Holding back tears, she said he hit her a second time:
“He slapped me again. It was clear it wasn’t a joke anymore. And I stopped laughing, but I didn’t know what else to do. You… I didn’t know what to do. You think you’d have a response, but I as a woman had never been hit like that. I’m an adult, I’m sitting next to the man I love, and he slapped me for no reason, it seemed like. And I missed the point, it was that stupid.”
She says she “just stared at him” frozen. Then, she claims, he slapped her “one more time, hard.” How hard?
“I lose my balance. I’m sitting on the edge of the couch, and I’m all of a sudden realizing the worst thing has happened to me that could possibly happen to you. I realize… I wish so much he said he was joking.”
She said the slap “didn’t physically hurt” her but emotionally she was devastated:
“I was sitting there on the carpet, looking at the dirty carpet, wondering how I wound up on this carpet, why I never noticed that this carpet was so filthy before. I didn’t know what else to do, I didn’t know what else to say, how to react. I just sat there thinking how much time do I have before I figure out what I have to do because god did he just me? No, I didn’t want to leave him, I didn’t want this to be the reality, to have the man I was in love with… I mean, you don’t come back from that. I know you can’t hit a woman.”
She quickly added:
“You can’t hit a man, you can’t hit anyone… I knew it was wrong and that I had to leave him. And that’s what broke my heart because I didn’t want to leave him… I didn’t want to leave the best thing that ever happened to me.”
She continued, her voice quivering:
“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 but just looking at the dirty carpet trying to will myself to get up and to walk out the door because I knew I needed to. And then I, really slowly, I stood up and looked at him in the eye and just looking at him, frankly, because I didn’t know what else to do. And before I know it he starts crying. And you know, I’d never seen an adult man cry… It’s weird.”
She said Johnny started bawling:
“He gets down on his knees, he grabs my hands, he’s touching my hands and he’s saying, ‘I’m sorry baby, I thought I put the f**ker away, it’s done, I thought I put The Monster away, I’ve done it before, it’s done.’”
She says she still “didn’t know what to say”:
“I just remember thinking he was crying, he seemed so sorry but knew I couldn’t just forgive him, right? Because it means it will happen again, no? I mean, I’ve seen the health class videos like everyone else.”
She says instead of saying anything she went to her car and sat there silently.
“I was heartbroken. I turned the key and drove home.”
The first cut may be the deepest, but… It gets worse.
In another shocking story, Amber claims how Johnny’s jealousy prompted him to sexually assault her. She recalled that she and Johnny were hanging out with friends doing drugs at a trailer park in the middle of nowhere in the desert, sitting around a campfire.
One girl who took MDMA started feeling the effects and “kind of just leaned into me and put her head on my shoulder and grabbed my arm.” Amber took this as just the effect of the drugs, but Johnny immediately got jealous:
“Johnny gets really activated, he gets really upset. He gets… Well, at first she thought he was kidding… I think we all did… He was like, ‘Hey man what are you doing? What do you think you’re doing?’ She kind of giggled and kind of leaned into me more.”
But, as Amber tells it, this wasn’t her first go-round with Johnny.
“I knew in my body instantly it wasn’t a joke, but she didn’t. So she’s kind of still attached to my arm when he says it again to her, louder, ‘Hey man, you think you’re touching my f**king girl? You think you’re touching my f**king girl? That’s my f**king girl.’ He gets louder and louder.”
The poor girl didn’t know how to react:
“She did this thing, kind of half understanding what’s going on, I think she kind of started to cry at this point but kind of threw up her hands and Johnny grabbed her wrist and twisted it and pulled her into him and said, ‘Do you know how many pounds of pressure it takes to break a human wrist? Huh?’ He kind of held her and she just looked frozen. And she’s crying, just denying understanding what’s going on.”
Amber says she doesn’t remember how long it took or exactly what was said, but she calmed him down and got him to let go and agree to “go and talk about it in the trailer.” Things got worse in the trailer.
“Johnny tells me that I had been instigating and asking for this and I had invited it and I hadn’t been honest with him about my relationship with this woman.”
She said the truth was that she didn’t really know the woman at all, had only just met her.
“I remember in the trailer he’s accusing me of lying about it, that I had something with her. I’m trying to defuse that, I’m trying to calm him down. And it seemed like he turned all that rage onto the trailer itself and started smashing things. He picked up something on the table and threw it right into the glass cabinet. He hit with his hand a wall sconce. He cleared the tabletop on the little fold-down kitchen/dining room area…”
Retreating from the screaming and violence didn’t work.
“I eventually go back into the bedroom area, he comes into the bedroom area. We had what I can only describe as a… it sounded like nonsense.”
She said he wasn’t making sense anymore, which led her to believe that the drugs had kicked in for him now. She said the entire barrage of accusations changed directions.
“It became clear to me was looking for something. He cleared things off the bed. I went into the bathroom, and as I come out he asked me where it is, and how long I’d been hiding it. I was like, ‘What are you talking about?’ He says, ‘You know what I’m talking about, you know what I’m f**king talking about, be honest with me. Where are you hiding it?’”
She says she reacted as anyone would, asking what she’s hiding and where she’s supposed to be hiding it.
“He starts what feels like patting me down or saying he’s patting me down, I can’t recall, but he ripped my dress, the strap top part of my dress.”
She added, on an emotional tangent:
“I had just dyed this thing pink, it’s my… I had just finished that dress.”
But it kept going:
“He’s grabbing my breasts, he’s touching my thighs, he rips my underwear off, and then he…”
Really getting choked up, she continues:
“…proceeds to do a cavity search.”
“He said he was looking for his drugs, his cocaine, his coke. I was wondering how somebody who didn’t do cocaine and was against it — that was in and of itself causing problems in our relationship. How could I hide – why would I hide his drugs? He was insinuating that I was doing it, or something? It made no sense. And he was telling me, ‘We’re gonna conduct a cavity search.’”
That became exactly what it sounds like. A sexual assault. Amber claims:
“Like, he just shoved his fingers inside me. And I just stood there staring at the stupid light. I didn’t know what to do. I just stood there while he did that, he twisted his fingers around. I didn’t stay stop or anything, I just…”
It seemed at that point she was basically out of breath. Her testimony is expected to continue on Thursday.
What do YOU think so far??
[Image via Law&Crime Network/YouTube.]