Amber Heard: Johnny Depp 'threatened to kill me many times'

Published
image source, EPA/Getty Images
image captionAmber Heard and Johnny Depp were at London's High Court for day 10 of the case

Actor Johnny Depp "threatened to kill" ex-wife Amber Heard "many times", the US actress has claimed.

She described a "three-day hostage situation" during which she claimed Mr Depp was on a "drug and alcohol binge".

Mr Depp, 57, is suing the publisher of the Sun over an article that referred to him as a "wife beater" - but the newspaper maintains it was accurate.

He denies 14 allegations of domestic violence on which News Group Newspapers is relying for its defence.

Ms Heard took to the witness stand at London's High Court on the 10th day of the case, and her written witness statement was also submitted to the court.

In it, she accused Mr Depp of verbal and physical abuse including screaming, swearing, issuing threats, punching, slapping, kicking, head-butting and choking her, as well as "extremely controlling and intimidating behaviour".

"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," she said.

Under cross-examination, Ms Heard later said that although there were times when she "lost her cool" with Mr Depp, it was only in self-defence.

'The monster'

Ms Heard, 34, claimed Mr Depp had a "unique ability to use his charisma to convey a certain impression of reality" and "he is very good at manipulating people".

"He would blame all his actions on a self-created third party instead of himself, which he often called 'the monster'.

image source, Julia Quenzler
image captionA court artist sketch shows Amber Heard giving evidence, as ex-husband Johnny Depp looks on

She said at the beginning of their relationship, he would be "intensely affectionate, warm and charming" and it felt like she was "dating a king".

Ms Heard, who was married to the film star from 2015 to 2017, said Mr Depp had pursued her romantically while they were filming The Rum Diary in 2009 but nothing happened between them then because she was in a relationship.

She said they next saw each other whilst promoting the same film in 2011, which was when their "romantic relationship" began.

image source, Getty Images
image captionMs Heard said the pre-nuptial agreement was left on Mr Depp's team's desk and "no-one did anything"

Her witness statement added: "When Johnny puts his attention on you, with all his intensity and darkness, it is unlike anything I've ever experienced.

"When I say he was dark, he had a violent and dark way of speaking: the way he talked about our relationship being 'dead or alive' and telling me that death was the only way out of the relationship."

'Raw meat in nightgown'

In her statement, Ms Heard also described visiting Mr Depp in Australia in March 2015, while he was filming Pirates of the Caribbean, and described the trip as "like a three-day hostage situation".

She said during this time, there were "extreme acts" of "psychological, physical, emotional and other forms of violence".

"It is the worst thing I have ever been through. I was left with an injured lip and nose, and cuts on my arms."

She claimed Mr Depp grabbed her neck, shoved her against the fridge, tore off her nightgown and pushed her against a bar.

"He was pressing so hard on my neck I couldn't breathe. I was trying to tell him that I couldn't breathe. I remember thinking he was going to kill me in that moment," she said.

image source, Getty Images
image captionJohnny Depp is bringing the case against the Sun over an article published in 2018

She added that she later found her nightgown, saying: "There were pieces of it wrapped round something and I realised it was the steak I had planned to cook.

"He had also gone around and painted on all my clothes in the closet," she said.

The court previously heard from Mr Depp, who said the top of his finger was severed when Ms Heard threw a vodka bottle at him during the trip to Australia.

In her statement, Ms Heard said: "I didn't actually see the finger being cut off, but I was worried that it had happened the night before.

"I figured it might have happened when he was smashing the phone on the wall by the fridge."

DiCaprio 'nicknamed pumpkin-head'

Ms Heard also said Mr Depp accused her of having affairs with fellow actors, and claimed she had to justify to him why she accepted film roles.

"He accused me of having affairs with each of my co-stars, movie after movie: Eddie Redmayne, James Franco, Jim Sturgess, Kevin Costner, Liam Hemsworth, Billy-Bob Thornton, Channing Tatum; even women co-stars like Kelly Garner.

"He also accused me of having affairs with stars I auditioned with, like Leonardo DiCaprio. He would taunt me about it - especially when he was drunk or high - and had derogatory nicknames for every one of my male co-stars he considered a sexual threat.

"For example, Leonardo DiCaprio was 'pumpkin-head'. Channing Tatum was 'potato-head'."

'Not interested in money'

Earlier, from the witness stand, Ms Heard told the court that she had been subjected to repeated and regular physical violence by the time of the couple's marriage in 2015.

Mr Depp's lawyer, Eleanor Laws QC, asked her about her allegations regarding an argument in January 2015, and suggested it was over discussions with lawyers about a pre-nuptial agreement between herself and Mr Depp.

"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," Ms Heard told the court.

She added: "But then Johnny was also accusing me of having an affair with a co-star and that is what led to the actual argument."

Ms Heard said Mr Depp had told her he did not want a pre-nuptial agreement but it was his sister, Christi Dembrowski, who wanted the couple to get one.

Ms Heard added that she had hired a lawyer who worked on a draft pre-nuptial agreement and it was sent to Mr Depp's team but never signed.

She denied that she was interested in Mr Depp's money, saying: "I never had been, I never was."

'I sometimes lost my cool'

She said she did not have a "problem" with controlling her temper, when challenged by Mr Depp's lawyer, who also suggested that Ms Heard would have "outbursts of rage and anger".

Ms Heard said "there were times when, yes, I lost my cool with Johnny in our fights..."

Ms Laws referred to a medical note written by a nurse, Erin Boerum, who wrote that Ms Heard had reported "experiencing increased anxiety and agitation and has had several outbursts of anger and rage", and also that she was "nervous about being alone while husband is working on movie set in London (and) dealing with feelings of insecurity and jealousy".

Asked by Ms Laws if she felt "insecure and jealous" when she wasn't in Mr Depp's presence, Ms Heard said she had expressed "concerns" about his travel because it was a "trigger" for him, when they were apart.

Only violent in 'self-defence'

Ms Laws asked Ms Heard if she ever "got violent" with Mr Depp, to which the actress replied "no", adding that he put her in situations where she was faced with "unimaginable frustrations and difficulties, often that were life-threatening to me".

She added that she would "try to defend myself when he got serious and when I thought my life was threatened, but I was never violent towards him".

Ms Heard said it was "years into the relationship" before she tried to defend herself; adding "before that" she had "just checked out".

Ms Heard was then played a recording of a conversation between her and Mr Depp, in which Mr Depp can be heard to say that he is not the one who "throws pots".

In the recording, she can be heard saying that she has "thrown pots and pans". When questioned by Ms Laws on this admission, she said she threw things "only to escape" Mr Depp.

'No longer petrified' of Depp

The lawyer put it to Ms Heard that she was "not injured at all" as a result of anything that happened on the night of 21 May 2016.

Ms Heard had alleged that Mr Depp had thrown her mobile phone at her face, hit her in the eye, pulled her hair and grabbed her face.

Ms Laws suggested that Mr Depp "didn't cause any damage whatsoever in that penthouse", to which Ms Heard said the actor had "caused damage to multiple apartments and my face... he did a significant amount of damage to the property".

Ms Laws showed Ms Heard a photograph taken days after the 21 May incident, and after Ms Heard was said to have had "a four-hour meeting with your legal team".

The lawyer said: "It doesn't appear as if you have got any marks on your face at all there".

Ms Heard said the photo was a "paparazzi shot with long lenses", adding: "If I went out in Los Angeles, I would wear makeup, except for my court appearance."

Ms Laws then suggested that, in earlier photos which are said to show injuries, she had put bruises on "yourself through makeup or lighting or any other means - it wasn't any injury from Mr Depp".

Ms Heard said she disagreed "wholeheartedly" with this, adding that she had been forced to "cover up many bruises" as it was "embarrassing" to be seen with them.

The lawyer added that "far from being petrified of Mr Depp", Ms Heard had, between 21 May and 27 May, contacted Mr Depp on the phone.

Ms Heard she had been "attempting to", and Ms Laws said: "You were not displaying any signs of being fearful of him in those texts." Ms Heard replied: "No."

Ms Laws suggested that, by the time Ms Heard and Mr Depp met in July 2016 in San Francisco, "you were no longer petrified of him".

Ms Heard denied this. She alluded to her earlier statement that it was "the monster" in the relationship that she was "terrified of" and not "Johnny" whom she "loved".

The libel case centres on an article published on the Sun's website in April 2018 headlined: "Gone Potty: How can JK Rowling be 'genuinely happy' casting wife beater Johnny Depp in the new Fantastic Beasts film?".

The article related to allegations made by Ms Heard. The hearing is expected to last for three weeks.

More on this story