Johnny Depp says his mother’s death made him realize his marriage to Amber Heard had to end.
Depp was asked about his mother’s death on Wednesday (April 20) as he testified for the second day in the defamation case against him and his ex-wife Heard.
Betty Sue Palmer died in May 2016 after an illness. In Fairfax County Courthouse on Wednesday, Depp said he took her two children to see her at the hospital.
“At that time it wasn’t working. She did not answer. She was still alive, still struggling inside, but she was lying in bed. … I brought my kids to say goodbye. We all spoke in her ear and she later passed away,” he said.
Depp added: “When the ones you love are gone, we’re the only ones stuck with the pain, with the grief. But I was glad my kids got to see her and bid her farewell, I suppose. But it opened my eyes a lot to a number of things.”
Asked to name some of the things his mother’s death has opened his eyes to, Depp said: “This life is birdsong. That what feels like 100 years is actually a second, a millisecond.”
Depp has spoken openly about the childhood abuse and violence that he says Palmer exposed him to, telling the court on Tuesday: “She was quite violent and very cruel.”
On Wednesday, the actor said that at the time of Palmer’s passing, he “made peace with Betty Sue because I understood where she came from, and I understood how difficult her childhood was, and I understood that she didn’t have the proper training. or the proper education or proper training to be something other than what she had been when we were younger.”
“I forgave her for all of this, as I should – should,” he added. “It opened my eyes to the fact that – yes, trying, in relationships, whether it’s friendships, whether it’s dating, whether it’s marriage. Try your best. If it won’t work, it won’t work.”
Depp said he then decided to call Heard and inform her of Palmer’s death, as well as his intention to file for a divorce.
“I said very calmly, look, I’ve made a decision and I think it’s the best thing. I’m going to ask for a divorce. But I will not cite irreconcilable differences. I will not cite any violence. I will say this: we just, both of us, just don’t want to feel like we have a leash around each other’s necks and a leash attached to it, and then this piece of paper that proves that’s true,” Depp said.
Heard filed for divorce from Depp on May 23, 2016, after 15 months of marriage.
Depp sued Heard in Virginia for alleged defamation over an editorial she wrote in 2018 for The Washington Post, in which she does not name him but describes herself as “a public figure representing domestic abuse”. He asked for $50 million in damages.
Heard counter-sued Depp, accusing him of allegedly orchestrating a “smear campaign” against her and describing his own lawsuit as a continuation of “abuse and harassment”. She asked for $100 million in damages.