Heard claims Depp sexually assaulted her with a bottle shortly after marriage
Aquaman actor Amber Heard broke down in tears in the witness box on Thursday when she claimed her ex-husband Johnny Depp sexually assaulted her with a liquor bottle and threatened her life shortly after they were married.
Testifying in a widely watched defamation trial, Heard said she visited Depp in Australia about a month after their wedding in early 2015 when he was filming the fifth Pirates of the Caribbean movie.
On their first evening together, Heard said, a planned dinner at the house where Depp was staying evolved into an argument. Depp, who she said was drinking, pushed her against the refrigerator and held her there by her throat.
Heard said she broke free and retreated upstairs, returning later in her nightgown to find Depp still awake. She said she tried to get him to eat since they had never had dinner, but he was “belligerent” and threw bottles that broke around her.
Depp ripped off her nightgown, leaving her naked, she said, and threw her on a ping-pong table before inserting a bottle into her vagina.
“He was shoving it inside of me over and over,” said Heard, who shook her head and sobbed while she described the episode. She said she kept thinking that she hoped the bottle was not one of the ones that was broken.
During the assault, Depp repeatedly said “I’ll f***ing kill you”, she told the jury.
“I was scared,” Heard said.
“I had just married him.”
A few months later, back home in Los Angeles, Heard said Depp broke her nose and ripped out chunks of hair during another violent encounter.
Depp, 58, testified earlier in the trial that he never hit Heard and argued she was the one who was the abuser.
The star of the Pirates of the Caribbean films is suing Heard, 36, for $50m (about R801m), saying she defamed him when she claimed she was a victim of domestic abuse. Heard has counter-sued for $100m (about R1.6bn), arguing Depp smeared her by calling her a liar.
Depp has offered a different account of the incident in Australia. He told jurors Heard hurled objects, hitting him with a vodka bottle that severed the top of his right middle finger.
His attorneys showed evidence of his hospital visit to surgically repair the injury.
Depp acknowledged using blood from his finger to write on the wall to remind Heard of the “lies” she had told him. He described her as “bullying” throughout their relationship and said she left him “broken.”
The legal case hinges on a December 2018 opinion piece Heard authored in the Washington Post. The article never mentioned Depp by name, but his lawyer told jurors it was clear Heard was referencing him. The couple’s divorce was finalised in 2017 after less than two years of marriage.
Depp, once among Hollywood’s biggest stars, said Heard’s allegations cost him “everything.” A new Pirates movie was put on hold, and Depp was replaced in the Fantastic Beasts film franchise, a Harry Potter spin-off.
Heard’s attorneys have argued she told the truth and her opinion was protected as free speech under the US Constitution’s First Amendment.
A state court judge in Virginia’s Fairfax County is overseeing the trial, which is in recess until May 16. Closing arguments are scheduled for May 27.
Less than two years ago, Depp lost a libel case against the Sun, a British tabloid that labelled him a “wife beater”. A London High Court judge ruled he had repeatedly assaulted Heard.
Depp’s lawyers said they filed the US case in Fairfax County because the Washington Post is printed there. The newspaper is not a defendant.
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