Heard’s lawyers try to unravel Depp’s defamation lawsuit

Lawyers for actress Amber Heard have spent much of the past week trying to portray her ex-husband Johnny Depp as a jealous, drunk abuser who can only blame himself for his Hollywood career.

Since Heard concluded his testimony in a Virginia courthouse on Tuesday, his lawyers have presented depositions from people who were once close to Depp but were pushed out of his orbit. They included Depp’s former longtime agent, actor Ellen Barkin and Heard’s sister.

The lawyers’ goal: to undermine Depp’s defamation lawsuit against Heard. The suit alleges that she falsely portrayed him as a domestic abuser and cost him his lucrative film career, including the “Pirates of the Caribbean” film franchise.

Depp points to a 2018 Washington Post editorial in which Heard described himself as “a public figure who represents domestic abuse.” Depp’s lawyers say he was defamed by the article, though he never mentioned his name.

The trial will enter its sixth week when it resumes on Monday. Below are excerpts from testimony from some of the witnesses called last week by Heard’s lawyers in their attempt to poke holes in Depp’s case.


Depp blames Heard’s 2018 editorial for turning his career into freefall. But Heard’s lawyers claim that only Depp can be responsible for his star’s dimming in the Hollywood firmament.

Tracey Jacobs, who served as the actor’s agent for about 30 years, said Depp was “coming late to consistently set in pretty much every movie” during their final years working together.

“I was very honest with him and said, ‘You’ve got to stop doing this – this is hurting you,’” Jacobs said during a previously recorded deposition that was given to jurors. “And it happened.”

In the years before he fired her in 2016, Jacobs said Depp became increasingly unprofessional as her drug and alcohol use soared.

She also said that Depp wore headphones on film sets so that lines from the script could be broadcast to him.

“Initially, the teams loved him because he was always great with the team. But crews don’t love sitting around for hours and hours and hours waiting for the movie’s star to show up,” Jacobs said.

“And it also spread through the city,” added Jacobs. “I mean, people talk, it’s a small community. And that made people reluctant to use it.”

Heard’s lawyers also focused on the loss of Depp’s role in the sixth “Pirates of the Caribbean” movie. And they showed the video testimony of Tina Newman, a production executive at Walt Disney Studios.

Lawyers asked her, “Are you aware of any decision-makers within Disney who have already said they are not casting Johnny Depp in ‘Pirates 6’ – or any other role – because of Amber Heard’s editorial?”

“No,” said Newman.


Depp testified that he never hit Heard and that he was a victim of abuse inflicted by his now ex-wife. Heard’s lawyers argue that Depp abused her, both physically and sexually, and that he can’t deny what happened because he was often too drunk to remember.

Jurors heard recorded testimony from a mutual friend of the couple, iO Tillett Wright, who said Depp confided in him that he hated sobriety.

“He wanted to get sober for Amber,” Tillett Wright said. “He didn’t like being sober. It wasn’t fun, and it was harrowing and exhausting and very difficult to do. He really resented having to stay sober.”

Tillett Wright said that Depp’s personality became mean and paranoid when he was using alcohol or drugs.

Bruce Witkin, a musician who had been friends with Depp for nearly 40 years, testified in his testimony that he tried to help Depp with his substance abuse.

“He would say, ‘I’m going to be fine. I’ll be fine,’” Witkin said, remembering a conversation. “Well, you’re not okay.”

Actress Ellen Barkin, who dated Depp for a few months in the 1990s, said during her deposition that Depp was “always drinking or smoking a joint” or using other illegal drugs.

WAS DEPP A Jealous Lover?

Hearing Barkin tell—yes.

Barkin said Depp was controlling, jealous and angry. She said that Depp used to ask her, “Where are you going? Who are you going with? What did you do last night?”

She added: “I had a scratch on my back once which made him very, very angry because he insisted I had sex with a person other than him.”

Witkin, Depp’s musician and former friend, said the actor had shown signs of jealousy in relationships since the 1980s, when Depp was married to Witkin’s sister-in-law.

“When he was younger, he was jealous of Nick Cage and Adam Ant because my sister-in-law knew them,” Witkin said.

There were also a few times when Depp got jealous during his relationship with French singer Vanessa Paradis, “which were ridiculous,” Witkin said.

“A lot of it was in his head and not in reality,” Witkin said.

Depp’s jealousy over Heard arose when she was filming a movie “or doing something he couldn’t be around to see what was going on,” Witkin said. “I think he would try.”


Amber Heard’s sister, Whitney Heard Henriquez, said she personally witnessed Depp beating Heard. Depp testified that she never hit Heard.

Henriquez testified that the altercation took place in March 2015 – a month after Depp and Heard’s wedding – when Heard found evidence that Depp had previously had an extramarital affair.

Henriquez said an intoxicated Depp blamed Heard for forcing him into an extramarital date.

At one point, she said, she was caught between Depp and Heard as he climbed a ladder to confront Heard. Henriquez said she was hit in the back, and Heard was furious and “hit one” on Depp.

One of Depp’s bodyguards intervened, but “by that time Johnny had already grabbed Amber by the hair with one hand and was hitting her in the face repeatedly with the other,” Henriquez said.

It was the only time, Henriquez said, that she had personally witnessed a physical assault. But she said she’s seen the aftermath of other fights, including bruises on Heard.

However, Henriquez acknowledged in cross-examination that he sometimes sided with Depp in their disputes and said he worked to keep the couple together even after seeing his sister physically assaulted.

“If my sister said she still wanted to be with Johnny and if I could help in any way, I would support her,” she said.

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