Amber Heard told jurors on Monday that she decided to divorce Johnny Depp because she was afraid she “wouldn’t survive” if she stayed in the relationship.
Heard resumed her testimony after a 10-day break in the defamation trial in Fairfax, Va. Heard recounted the final months of her marriage to Depp, including a series of violent incidents in which she alleges that Depp would choke her, hit her and throw objects at her during drug-fueled rages.
Heard filed for divorce in May 2016, after Depp allegedly threw a phone at her, hitting her in the face, during an argument at the couple’s downtown L.A. apartment.
“I knew I had to leave him. I knew I wouldn’t survive it if I didn’t,” she testified. “I was so scared that it was going to end really badly for me… The violence was now normal and not the exception… I believe he would have taken it too far and I wouldn’t be here.”
Heard began her testimony on May 4. She has previously told the jury that Depp repeatedly sexually assaulted her and that she feared for her life. Depp is suing Heard for $50 million, claiming that she fabricated her allegations against him and destroyed his career in the process of advancing her own. His lawyers are expected to begin their cross-examination later on Monday.
Heard testified Monday that Depp could not stay sober and that his mental health began to unravel by early 2016. She said that he would seem to have conversations with people who were not there, and accuse her of saying things she had not said.
The police were called to the couple’s apartment on the night of the phone incident. The officers have previously testified that Heard declined to make a report, and they did not see evidence of a crime.
Heard explained that she did not name Depp or cooperate with the officers because she did not want him to be arrested.
“I wanted to protect Johnny,” she said. “I didn’t want him to be in trouble. I didn’t want this to come out.”
A few days later, though, she filed for a domestic violence restraining order. She said that she did so because she wanted to change the locks in the apartment, and because security would always let him in without warning.
“I couldn’t sleep. I would wake up in a panic. I was losing hair. I was losing weight,” she said. “I was scared and very conflicted.”
Jurors were shown a series of photos of Heard’s face with a bruise on her right cheek. Depp’s lawyers have already presented testimony from people who saw Heard around that time and did not recall seeing a bruise on her face. Heard testified in detail about how she would conceal the bruise with makeup before leaving the house, noting that paparazzi would typically photograph her the minute she stepped out the door.
“I always wear makeup,” she said. “I’m not going to walk around L.A. with bruises on my face.”
After a lunch break, Heard discussed how coming forward has affected her career. She testified that powerful decision-makers in the film industry were more inclined to support Depp, while she lost out on opportunities.
“I had to fight really hard to keep my career,” she said.
She said that while she starred as Mera in “Aquaman,” which grossed more than $1 billion worldwide, she had to fight for her role in the sequel. She said that the role was ultimately “pared down,” and that aside from that she has only shot one film, the indie “Into the Fire,” over the last two years.
Heard also testified about the Washington Post op-ed that triggered the defamation suit, in which she described herself as a “public figure representing domestic abuse” and spoke of the harsh consequences she had faced as a result of speaking out. She said that everything in the text of the op-ed was true.
“It’s not about Johnny,” she said. “It’s about me, and my life and what I endured once I moved on.”
She noted that she has photos, texts, contemporaneous notes that back up her allegations.
“I have mountains of evidence, mountains of proof — but it won’t be good enough for people who are seeking to make money off Johnny’s success,” she said.
She also spoke about taking abuse online from Depp’s supporters. Her attorney, Elaine Bredehoft, also asked her to recount the emotional impact of Depp’s attorney having accused her of concocting a hoax. She said that every day, she is forced to relive the worst and most humiliating moments of her life.
“It’s torture,” she said. “I’m in so much pain emotionally… I want to move on. I want Johnny to move on, too. I want him to leave me alone.”