Johnny Depp accused Amber Heard of severing his fingertip during an argument in Australia, as testimony continued on Wednesday in his defamation trial against his ex-wife.
Depp gave graphic and disturbing testimony about the fight, in which he alleges that Heard threw a vodka bottle at him, cutting off the tip of his right middle finger. Jurors were shown an image of Depp lying prone on a stretcher at a hospital emergency room and a close-up shot of the severed finger.
“All these bones were crushed,” Depp testified, displaying his right hand for the jury. “It looked like Vesuvius.”
Depp is suing Heard for $50 million, claiming that she destroyed his livelihood by leveling false allegations of domestic violence in a 2018 op-ed in the Washington Post. Heard has alleged that Depp repeatedly beat her, kicked her and choked her over the course of their relationship.
The fight in Australia is one of several that have come up during the trial. Heard has denied that she is to blame for the severed finger, and suggested that Depp likely cut himself when he smashed a phone. Heard has also alleged that Depp choked her and sexually assaulted her with a liquor bottle during the fight. Depp’s side has denied that allegation.
The episode occurred during filming of the fifth installment of the “Pirates of the Caribbean” franchise in March 2015. Depp and Heard had just been married, and there were conversations about a post-nuptial agreement. Depp said that Heard became irate, and he sought to get away from her, locking himself in a series of bedrooms and bathrooms. At one point, he said he drank a shot of vodka, and Heard hurled the bottle at him. He reconstructed the scene for the jury from the witness box, showing how he was seated with his arm against a bar when the bottle smashed against his hand.
“I was looking directly at my bones sticking out,” Depp testified. “Blood was just pouring out.”
He said he went into a closet, and had the thought, “This is not life.” He said he experienced something akin to a nervous breakdown, and began writing on the walls in his blood. He said he wrote “little reminders from our past that essentially represented lies that she had told me — lies that I had caught her in.”
Depp was later taken to the emergency room and his finger was eventually surgically reconstructed. Filming on “Pirates of the Caribbean” was suspended for several weeks. Depp said he initially lied about the injury, claiming to medical professionals that he had smashed the finger in an accordion-style door.
Depp began his testimony on Tuesday, denying that he had ever hit Heard, or any other woman. He said he was pursuing the lawsuit to clear the record of her “heinous and disturbing” allegations.
As the testimony continued Wednesday, Depp said that the couple would often argue, and they went so far as to tape-record their arguments. He said that Heard would demean him, call him a terrible father and sometimes escalate to violence — shoving, slapping, or throwing a TV remote at his head. Ultimately, he said he would flee.
“She has a need for conflict. She has a need for violence. It erupts out of nowhere,” Depp testified. “The only thing I learned to do is exactly what I did as a child — retreat.”
He testified that problems began to emerge in the relationship when Heard would challenge his statements or his expertise.
“I was suddenly just wrong about everything,” he said. “It was astounding how wrong I was about everything I’d experienced, within the film industry or just life itself. I was sort of not allowed to be right.”
Depp had testified on Tuesday about the physical abuse he endured at the hands of his mother. The relationship with Heard brought back memories of that, he said.
“What enters your mind is you start to slowly realize that you are in a relationship with your mother in a sense,” he said. “I know that sounds perverse and obtuse.”
Depp said that Heard would use intimate details of his past against him, turning his weaknesses and vulnerabilities into weapons in argument and sending him into a “tailspin of confusion and depression.” He emphasized that he never responded with violence.
“Violence is unnecessary,” he said. “Why would you hit someone to make them agree with you? I don’t think it works.”
He said that Heard would also berate him about his substance use. He said that the conflicts with Heard would prompt him to use more.
“The constant haranguing breaks you down,” he said. “I was more inspired by Ms. Heard to reach out for a numbing agent because of the constant clashes.”
Depp related his account of particular incidents, during which Heard has alleged he abused her. He testified about a private plane flight from Boston to Los Angeles in May 2014. Heard has accused him of kicking her and slapping her on the flight, but Depp denied that — saying instead he had retreated to the bathroom and went to sleep after she tried to instigate a fight.
He also testified about a trip to his private island in the Bahamas in August 2014, where he went to detox from prescription pain pills. He said that Heard came on the trip, despite his misgivings, and that she arranged to be the one to administer his medications to help with the withdrawal symptoms. On one occasion, he testified that he was lying on a couch when the withdrawal symptoms became severe, and he pleaded with Heard to give him the medicine. She refused, saying it was not time yet, he said. He said he rolled onto the floor and was crying while begging for the medications.
“That was the lowest I had ever felt as a human being,” he said, “because I had to say ‘Please, please may I have meds?'”
In the afternoon session, Depp’s lawyers played four audio clips of arguments between Depp and Heard. On one of the clips, Heard acknowledged “hitting” Depp.
“I did not hurt you,” Heard said on the tape. “I did not punch you. I was hitting you. You’re a f—ing baby. You’re such a baby. Grow up the f— up.”
Depp testified that Heard had clocked him in the jaw, and was trying to downplay it.
In a separate incident in December 2015, Depp said that Heard was attacking him and he sought to restrain her in a bear hug. He said that there was some “accidental contact” in the struggle, and Heard claimed that Depp had head-butted her. Heard left the room and came back holding a tissue to her nose, saying “Way to go Johnny, you broke my nose.” Depp said he knew that was false, and after Heard discarded the tissue he fished it out of the trash.
“I inspected it pretty closely,” he said. “It was nail polish.”
Depp also spoke about a fight in April 2016, after Depp had arrived late at Heard’s 30th birthday party. He said that Heard had repeatedly hit him in the face, and he left their penthouse around 4:30 a.m. Afterward, one of his employees found human feces in their bed, he testified. Heard has blamed the couple’s dog for the incident, but Depp testified that was not possible.
“That did not come from a dog,” he said. “It just didn’t.”
The couple’s therapist, Laurel Anderson, testified last week that Depp and Heard engaged in “mutual abuse,” and that she “gave as good as she got.”
Heard will take the stand later on in the trial, which is expected to wrap up by the end of May.