Johnny Depp compared his marriage to Amber Heard to his strained relationship with his mother, calling it “an endless parade of insults”.
Depp made the comparison when resuming testimony at his defamation trial Wednesday in Fairfax County, Virginia.
He recalled how “degrading calls”, being “scolded” and “made for a fool” by Heard often turned into large-scale arguments.
“If there is a dialogue between two people, both need to speak. But there was no way to fit a word. It was kind of a quick, never-ending parade of insults,” he said, adding that “you weren’t allowed to be right and not have a voice.”
“You start to slowly realize that you’re in a relationship with your mother, in a way. And I know that sounds perverse and obtuse, but the fact is, some people look for weaknesses in people,” he said.
Depp had previously described child abuse by his mother, Betty Sue, on Tuesday.
He said he relied on his experience with his mother when he tried to defuse arguments with Heard.
“As it grew and continued to increase, I went straight to what I learned as a young man, which was to get away from the situation so it couldn’t continue,” he said. “Because there is so much your ears can hear and never forget.
“The only way to find some kind of peace was to leave, or to try to leave…
During Tuesday’s deposition, Depp described his mother as “very unpredictable” and said her feet were “on fire” – constantly feeling the need to move. He said she spanked her children, recalling the constant fear that “everything that was at hand” – whether it be an ashtray, a high-heeled shoe or a phone – could be “thrown at you”.
“She had the ability to be as cruel as anyone can be,” he said. “She was quite violent and very cruel.”
He said the attacks often came out of the blue, and he learned to predict when Betty Sue was about “to face a situation where she would get pissed and someone would catch her. It was usually me.”
Depp began his shift on the witness stand by saying he wanted to clear his name and expose the truth about Heard’s allegations of abuse during their marriage.
The actor accused Heard of defaming him in a December 2018 Washington Post op-ed titled: “I spoke out against sexual violence — and faced the wrath of our culture. That has to change.” His lawsuit asks for $50 million in damages, both for his mental health and his career.
Depp said he felt exposed when testifying because he was a private person, wanting to protect his kids from “paparazzi hordes” and that he didn’t want his kids to see their parents as “news.”
“I can’t say I’m embarrassed because I know I’m doing the right thing,” he added.
In her 2018 editorial, Heard wrote in part that “like many women, I had been harassed and sexually assaulted in college. But I kept silent – I didn’t expect the filing of grievances to bring justice. And I didn’t see myself as a victim.”
“Two years ago, I became a public figure representing domestic abuse and felt the full force of our culture’s anger at women speaking out,” she added at the time.
Although Depp is not named in the piece, his legal team argues that it contains a “clear implication that Depp is a domestic abuser”, which they say is “categorically and demonstrably false”.
Addressing the court directly this week, Depp called Heard’s allegations “heinous”, “disturbing” and “not based on any kind of truth”.