Johnny Depp testifies that alleged abuse of Amber Heard ‘never happened’ | Johnny Depp

Taking the stand in his libel lawsuit against his ex-wife Amber Heard, Johnny Depp said her domestic abuse allegations against him were disturbing, heinous and “not based on any species of truth”.

“Nothing of the kind ever happened,” Depp said in court on Tuesday. “Never did I myself reach the point of striking Ms Heard in any way. Nor have I ever struck any woman in my life.”

In a steady voice, Depp said he had brought the case to clear his name against accusations that he had abused Heard during their three-year marriage, and because he was concerned for his children and for the people who have believed in him.

“I am obsessed with the truth,” Depp said. “So today is actually my first opportunity that I’ve been able to speak about this case.”

He said the accusations against him had come “as a complete shock” – accusations that “just didn’t need to go in that direction”.

Depp’s testimony comes a week into a trial in Fairfax, Virginia, as part of a defamation case in which he accuses his ex-wife of ruining his career with false accusations of violence in their relationship.

Witnesses for the actor have largely conformed to Depp’s contention that his wife, not he, initiated marital discord and fights.

The actor said that after the allegations against him surfaced, his career had been deeply affected: “[It’s] very strange when one day you’re Cinderella, so to speak, and then in 0.6 seconds you’re Quasimodo.”

Depp testified that he wanted to clear his name and clear his children from “this horrid thing they were having to read that their father” had done “which was untrue.”

“My goal is the truth because it killed me that people I had spoken with, that I had met with over the years… would think that I was a fraud and that I had lied to them,” he said.

But the testimony has come at a cost, with Depp being depicted as a childlike Hollywood A-lister surrounded by a retinue of doctors, nurses, assistants, friends on the payroll and assorted hangers-on.

On the stand, I disputed depictions of him as a drug addict, describing that description as “grossly embellished.” But he acknowledged that he had been dependent on Roxicodone, a painkiller, during the shooting of the fourth installation of Pirates of the Caribbean, before he met Heard.

“I was bitten by the snake, and before you know it the monkey was on my back,” he said. “Once the addiction has got you, you’re not taking pills to get high, you’re taking them to get better” – or to avoid going into withdrawal.

But he had periods of sobriety, he said. “There have been no moments when I would have been considered out of control,” he said. “I’m not some maniac who needs to be high or loaded all the time.”

Depp also testified how his relationship with Heard had started out on the set of The Rum Diaries. She’d seemed to be “the perfect partner,” he said.

“She was literate, she was sweet, funny, nice, all those things. From the beginning of our relationship, she was wonderful, and then things just started to change … or reveal themselves, I think is a better way to put it.”

Invoking Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall, who met when he was 43 and she 19, Depp said he saw no reason that his relationship with Heard could not endure as Bogart and Bacall’s had.

But he recalled occasions when Heard had wanted to go to bed, but he had not, something that to her was “just not acceptable”.

“It would stir up some rather unusual reactions from her,” he said. “I didn’t understand why I, as a 50-something-year-old man, couldn’t go to sleep when I wanted to… it started out like that.”

On Monday, a doctor and a nurse recounted the hunt for the missing tip of Depp’s middle finger, severed in March 2015 while he was in Australia for the filming of the fifth installation of the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise.

Amber Heard looks in court on Tuesday. Photograph: Jim Watson/AFP/Getty Images

The actor has accused Heard of throwing a bottle at him, severing the finger. Heard has said Depp probably cut his finger from him when he smashed a telephone. During the fight, she has alleged, Depp beat her, choked her and sexually assaulted her.

David Kipper, Depp’s “concierge doctor”, who treated the actor for addiction, earlier said that Depp’s chef found the missing finger amid blood and broken glass in the kitchen.

Before Depp’s testimony, the court heard from his on-set sound technician, Keenan Wyatt, who said shooting on the film was delayed for three weeks while Depp sought surgery.

Wyatt testified that he accompanied Depp, his former wife Vanessa Paradis and children to their home in the Bahamas on several occasions. Wyatt testified that Depp was a loving father who never raised his voice from him to his children from him and whose personality did not change when he drank – when instead “he became sleepy”.

“I’ve never seen him be violent toward anybody,” Wyatt said.

Wyatt’s testimony supports statements issued by Paradis and Winona Ryder, former partners of Depp, during the actor’s failed libel action against the Sun newspaper last year, denying that Depp ever acted violently or abusively towards them.

Several witnesses have characterized Heard as the abusive party. During a private plane trip from Boston to Los Angeles, Wyatt said, Heard was “giving Johnny the cold shoulder, being quiet, being pouty.” When he approached her, he testified, Heard responded: “How dare you talk to me?”

Under cross-examination, Wyatt denied that Depp shouted at Heard, “Get fucked with fucking James Franco” – referring to an affair Heard had allegedly had with the actor – and later passed out at the back of the plane.

Depp, 58, alleges that Heard, 35, defamed him when she wrote a December 2018 opinion piece in the Washington Post about being a survivor of domestic abuse. Heard maintains her opinion of her is protected as free speech under the first amendment to the US constitution. Depp filed a $50m lawsuit against Heard in 2018. Heard later filed a $100m counter-claim.

Depp’s legal team presented a video deposition of the couple’s therapist, who testified that the pair suffered childhood abuse and were engaged in “mutual abuse” during their relationship.

“It was a point of pride to her if she felt disrespected to initiate a fight,” Laurel Anderson testified. “She slapped him because he was being inconsistent and talking about being with another woman.”

But Anderson also testified that Depp was overwhelmed by Heard, whom she described as talking like a “jackhammer.” Depp allegedly said to his wife about him: “No one likes you. You’re getting fame from me. I’m falling out of love with you. You’re a whore.”

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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