For three days, Johnny Depp has been testifying in a libel trial that, at least in theory, is about whether Amber Heard defamed him in a 2018 editorial.
The trial turned into a spectacle in which Depp testified about everything from taking pills as a child to a near mental breakdown in which the actor said he used his severed finger to write on walls in his own blood to tell the story of his ex-girlfriend. women. alleged lies.
WHY IS DEPP DOING THIS?
Heard’s lawyers had warned that the trial would be a messy soap opera that would expose the “real Johnny Depp.” Depp denies abusing Heard, and despite the public attention brought to his drug use and his violent text messages, he said he is obsessed with revealing the truth and doesn’t want to let down those who looked up to him.
“My goal is the truth because it killed me that all these people I’ve met over the years… that these people thought I was a fraud,” Depp testified on Tuesday.
The actor said his film career suffered after Heard wrote a 2018 article in The Washington Post in which she referred to herself as a “public figure representing domestic abuse”.
Heard never mentioned Depp by name, but Depp’s lawyers said it was a clear reference to the allegations Heard made when he filed for a 2016 restraining order against him.
Depp said the allegations and the article made him a Hollywood pariah and cost him his role in the lucrative “Pirates of the Caribbean” film franchise.
Heard’s lawyers argued that Heard’s opinion piece was accurate and did not defame him. They said Depp’s ruined reputation was due to his own bad behavior and argued that the Walt Disney Co. had already decided to remove Depp from “Pirates of the Caribbean” months before the article was published.
WHAT ARE THE CLAIMS HEARD?
Heard accused Depp of physically and sexually assaulting her on multiple occasions before and during their brief marriage, often in situations where she said he drank so much that he later passed out.
Depp said Heard’s allegations about his substance abuse were “grossly embellished” and that he was never out of control during that time. The two met in 2009, got married in 2015, and Heard filed for divorce a year later.
Heard’s lawyers highlighted many text messages that Depp sent to friends telling them of the large amount of alcohol and drugs he had taken at a time when he claims he was not a problem drinker.
Depp filed a similar lawsuit in England against a newspaper there and lost. The judge there found that Depp assaulted Heard on a dozen occasions and put her in fear for her life several times.
Heard is expected to testify later in the trial.
HOW DID DEPP AND HEARD MEET?
Depp and Heard first met while filming “The Rum Diary,” a 2011 Depp-produced film based on an unpublished novel by the late Hunter S. Thompson that Depp discovered while examining the gonzo journalist’s papers with Thompson, his friend.
Depp said that Heard was the perfect embodiment of the book’s femme fatale character named Chenault. “This is the Chenault that Hunter wants,” Depp recalled. “Yeah, she could definitely kill me.”
They started dating a few years later, with Depp portraying the early part of their relationship as a classic Hollywood romance. Depp called Heard “Slim” while she called him “Steve”, nicknames used by the characters Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall in the 1944 film “To Have and Have Not”.
Depp, 58, said he was also aware of the age gap between himself and Heard, 36, and compared it to the 25-year gap between Bogart and Bacall.
“I recognize the fact that I was the craggy old misty and she was this beautiful creature,” he said.
HOW DID THEIR MARRIAGE GO DOWN?
Depp said things started to change in his marriage when he felt he was “suddenly wrong about everything” in Heard’s eyes.
Depp said Heard teased him a little, put him down and scolded him. The insults turned into full-fledged circular arguments, from which “there was no way to get in or out,” Depp said. “It was kind of a rapid fire, kind of an endless parade of insults,” Depp said.
Soon after, Heard began to physically attack him, Depp said. He said that she once threw two bottles of vodka at him, the second of which exploded and cut her finger to the point where the bone was exposed. Depp said he used the resulting blood to write on his walls and tell the lies he caught Heard in. At the hospital, Depp said he lied to protect Heard and told doctors he had been injured. Heard’s lawyers claim he cut his own finger.
WHAT HAPPENED ON THE FLIGHT FROM BOSTON?
One of the main points of contention is what occurred on a private flight from Boston to Los Angeles in 2014 that Depp and Heard took while he was filming the gangster movie “Black Mass”.
Heard said that Depp assaulted her on the flight while he was drunk.
Depp testified that he took two pills of oxycodone — an opiate he admits he was addicted to at the time — and locked himself in the plane’s bathroom and fell asleep to avoid her harassment.
He told the court he only drank one glass of champagne while boarding the flight. But texts he sent actor Paul Bettany at the time referenced drinking half a bottle of whiskey, “a thousand Red Bull vodkas” and two bottles of champagne before the flight.
Heard’s lawyers also pointed to text messages Depp sent Heard after the flight, saying, “Once again, I find myself in a place of shame and regret. … I must improve.”
WHAT ELSE TEXT DEPP?
Heard’s lawyers focused on the text messages Depp sent Bettany in which he expressed a desire to kill and desecrate Heard.
After saying he wanted to burn her, Depp wrote: “Let’s drown her before we burn her!!! I will (expletive) her corpse burned afterward to make sure she is dead.”
Depp apologized to the jury for the vulgar language and said that “in the heat of the pain I was feeling, I went to dark places.” He also compared his writing to Thompson’s gonzo style, which often incorporated brash language and embellished thoughts.
MOMENTS OF LIGHTNESS
Despite the grim accusations and profane text messages being read in court, Depp’s testimony occasionally featured moments of humor.
Asked if he sometimes drank whiskey in the morning, Depp replied: “I mean, isn’t it happy hour?”
And asked if he had ever given musician Marilyn Manson pills, Depp admitted that he once gave Manson a pill to make him “stop talking so much.”
Depp also admitted that he never watched “Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl,” the 2003 megahit in which he played the unhinged Captain Jack Sparrow. Asked how the movie fared, Depp smiled and said, “I haven’t seen it, but… well, the movie did pretty well, apparently.”
And then there’s the bizarre issue of alleged penis vandalism. Heard’s attorney repeatedly asked Depp if he was responsible for drawing a penis on a painting inside his home shortly after the actor said Heard cut his finger. “Drawing a penis in a painting was not the first thing on my mind,” testified Depp.
WHY IS THIS HAPPENING IN VIRGINIA?
The trial is taking place at the Fairfax County Circuit Court in Fairfax, Virginia.
Heard’s lawyers sought to have the case heard in California, where the actors reside. But a judge ruled that Depp was entitled to take the case to Virginia because The Washington Post’s computer servers for its online edition are located in the county.
Depp’s lawyers said they opened the case in Virginia in part because the laws here are more supportive of the case.