Amber Heard alleged in court Monday that during her relationship with Johnny Depp she was afraid he was going to kill her, and that he repeatedly threatened to kill her. She was giving evidence on the 10th day of Depp’s libel trial against the publisher of The Sun newspaper, which is taking place at London’s Royal Courts of Justice.
Depp is suing News Group Newspapers and journalist Dan Wootton for an article on The Sun website that described him as a “wife beater.” Depp denies that he was violent toward Heard, to whom he was married from 2015 to 2017.
In a statement to the court, released on Monday, Heard said, “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. He explicitly threatened to kill me many times, especially later in our relationship.”
Heard said she first got to know Depp when they were filming “The Rum Diary” in 2009, when she was in a relationship with artist Tasya van Ree. They didn’t meet again until 2011 when they were promoting the film.
His publicist invited her to meet Depp and the director in a hotel room for a drink, but when she got there it was just Depp. “Our romantic relationship then began,” she said.
Later that year, Depp invited her to spend a weekend at the Trump SoHo in New York. “I booked a room and met him there,” she said. “I remember I had to go out to run an errand, and when I came back, my bags were in his room. He said he had them moved and I would stay with him now. At the time, I thought it was kind of romantic.”
They drank red wine together late into the night. “When Johnny and I were together, it was like we were the only people in the world. We loved the same music, and poetry, and art – we would just sit and talk for hours,” she said.
“He was engaging and intellectual and dark and funny. He knew so much about life, and he had lived longer and so much more than me. I was captivated. I had never been with someone like him.”
Depp told her they had to be careful about how news of their relationship got out because he was concerned Heard would get blamed for his split with Vanessa Paradis.
She added: “When I would go to his compound on Sweetzer Avenue in Los Angeles or meet him on set, he would send a driver for me, and I would have to hide under a blanket in the car.”
“When we were together it was always just the two of us. We would be at his compound, behind gates. It was like I was dating a king, with his level of fame and the way he lived.”
“I learned then that I had to suspend all expectations of normalcy, but I later came to understand how this protected him, isolated me and facilitated unacceptable behavior.”
It was in March 2013, when Depp began to drink heavily again after about 160 days of sobriety, that he hit her for the first time, Heard alleges. It is one of 14 occasions when Depp was violent toward her, according to allegations presented to the court by The Sun’s legal team.
The violence started, she alleges, when she made a joke out of one of Depp’s tattoos, which had originally read “Winona Forever,” in honor of his ex-girlfriend actress Winona Ryder. When they split up in 1993, he changed it to read “Wino Forever.”
When she laughed, “he hit me with an open hand across my cheek,” she told the court. “I was stunned. I had never had a man other than my dad hit me. I was staring at him in shock, finishing the laughter that had caused him to hit me, looking at him and trying to decipher what was going on. I didn’t know if it was some kind of joke.”
Depp struck her again, saying: “Are you f—ing laughing, you think it’s so funny, bitch?’,” she alleges.
“I didn’t know what to say. He tried to provoke an answer from me, saying ‘eh?’ I didn’t know what to say and it was if my silence provoked him further because he hit me again even harder.”
“It felt like my eye popped out. Johnny wears a lot of rings, one on every finger. This third hit knocked me off balance and I fell to the floor.”
“I remember thinking ‘what am I going to do?’ I was in a frozen quiet space.”
“I felt that then I would have to leave the house, which would mean leaving the relationship, and I wasn’t ready to do that,” she said. “In so many ways, I was so in love. I wanted this to work and be okay. I slowly got up and sat down on the sofa.”
“I think by then he was apologizing. I remember him being on his knees crying, because I remember thinking that it was unusual to see a man cry in front of me.”
“He said he was sorry and that he would not do it again. He indicated to me that this sudden shift in temper used to happen but that it wouldn’t happen again.”
“He pitched it to me that it was as if it is was another personality having done it and that he thought he had killed that other person, and that he had not come back before.”
Depp blamed the incident on a sickness, which he termed “the monster,” she alleges.
In the second alleged violent incident, also in March 2013, Heard said Depp objected to a painting by Van Ree being on her wall. He was “sparked off that day by cocaine, pills, weed, and booze,” she said.
“At one point he tried to set the painting on fire with his lighter,” she said. “I had to physically stop him from trying to light it up. He hit me in the face with the back of his hand and drew blood, some of which ended up on the wall.”
Depp accused her of having an affair with Van Ree, and when she tried to walk away he “grabbed me hard, shook me and shoved me into a wall. I couldn’t calm him down – he was so angry and just wouldn’t let it go.”
Heard said they argued on their wedding night in 2015 about his drug use.
She said: “He had lost weight and he would disappear into the bathroom for long periods during the wedding. He was even more possessive than usual and he was just not making sense a lot of the time.”
“I tried to smile through it and entertain our guests. But I had never felt more lonely in my life.”
Depp denies all allegations of violence.
The trial continues Tuesday.