Amber Heard has said she feared Johnny Depp was “going to kill me” as she began her evidence in the Hollywood star’s libel case against The Sun over allegations of domestic violence.
The Aquaman actress, 34, claims her ex-husband threatened to kill her “many times, especially later in our relationship”, and would blame his actions on a “self-created third party” he called “the monster” – who she said she was “terrified of”.
In a witness statement, Ms Heard accused Mr Depp, 57, of verbal and physical abuse, including screaming, swearing, punching, slapping, kicking, headbutting and choking her, as well as “extremely controlling and intimidating behaviour”.
She said Mr Depp was “extremely jealous” and accused her of having affairs with stars including Leonardo DiCaprio, whom he nicknamed “pumpkin-head” after Ms Heard auditioned with him, and her Magic Mike co-star Channing Tatum, whom Mr Depp is said to have called “potato-head”.
Ms Heard also claimed Mr Depp called her a “whore”, a “slut” and “fame-hungry” and that the insults “got worse over time”, with the actor allegedly saying “I’m going to have to watch you get raped” and “I hope you get railed by a bunch of f****** fellas”.
Giving evidence at the Royal Courts of Justice in London on Monday, Ms Heard denied she had “thrown everything possible at Mr Depp”, claiming: “I haven’t even scratched the surface.”
Ms Heard told the High Court she had been subjected to “repeated and regular physical violence” by the time of the couple’s marriage in February 2015, and that Mr Depp did not want her to sign a pre-nuptial agreement, telling her that “the only way out of this was death”.
She also said she had “very little decision-making power” in the relationship and described the Pirates Of The Caribbean star – who she said “lives in a state of weaponised victimhood” and is “very good at manipulating people” – as having “controlled her life”.
On the tenth day of the trial, Ms Heard began her cross-examination on 14 allegations of domestic violence, all denied by Mr Depp, which The Sun’s publisher News Group Newspapers (NGN) relies on in its defence of an April 2018 article that called the actor a “wife beater”.
The actress, who met Mr Depp on the set of the 2011 film The Rum Diary, insisted she was “never violent” towards her ex-husband and would only “try to defend” herself when he “got serious”.
She said: “When I felt my life was threatened, I tried to defend myself and that started to happen years into the relationship, years into the violence.
“Before that, I didn’t even try to defend myself, I just checked out.”
Eleanor Laws QC, representing Mr Depp, suggested to Ms Heard that she would have “outbursts of rage and anger” and referred to “a number of witnesses” who described her as “being the person who would start an argument”.
The barrister played a recording of a 2015 conversation between Ms Heard and Mr Depp, in which Ms Heard appears to admit “hitting” Mr Depp and says to the actor: “You are such a baby. Grow the f*** up.”
Ms Heard can also be heard to respond to Mr Depp’s complaint that she “throws pots and whatever the f*** else at me” by saying: “That’s different.”
Ms Laws said: “You were admitting throwing things at him but not in the context of self-defence. It sounds as if you are admitting throwing pots and pans.”
Ms Heard replied: “It might sound like that to you, but because I lived it I can explain to you… (it is) not what it sounds like.”
She said she threw things “only to escape him”, adding: “His employees didn’t see our arguments. These things happened behind closed doors.”
Ms Heard gave evidence about the last of the 14 allegations, when in May 2016 Mr Depp is said to have thrown her own mobile phone at her like a “baseball player”, saying: “I thought it popped my eye out when it landed.”
She also said that Mr Depp’s doctor put her on “a long list of medications”, which she claimed were prescribed “in order to keep me sedated or keep me calm basically, to keep my body from responding to the world I was living in”.
In one of seven witness statements, Ms Heard said that, at the start of their relationship, Mr Depp could be “intensely affectionate, warm and charming”.
She added: “When Johnny puts his attention on you, with all his intensity and darkness, it is unlike anything I’ve ever experienced.
“When I say he was dark, he had a violent and dark way of speaking: the way he talked about our relationship being ‘dead or alive’ and telling me that death was the only way out of the relationship.”
She also said: “Some incidents were so severe that I was afraid he was going to kill me, either intentionally or just by losing control and going too far.”
Ms Heard gave evidence about the couple’s trip to Australia – which she describes as a “three-day hostage situation” – and claimed Mr Depp went on a drug binge, attacked her, urinated in front of people then hid raw meat in a wardrobe.
In one of her statements, she said: “Over the course of those three days, there were extreme acts of psychological, physical, emotional and other forms of violence.
“It is the worst thing I have ever been through. I was left with an injured lip and nose and cuts on my arms.”
Ms Heard also denied that she was a “habitual drug user” and said that she “had quite a bad experience, as you can imagine” with magic mushrooms and MDMA at the Coachella music festival shortly after she “realised my relationship was coming to an end”.
Ms Heard’s evidence was initially due to conclude on Wednesday but will now continue until Thursday morning, with her friends Melanie Inglessis and Joshua Drew expected to appear by videolink on Wednesday afternoon.
Mr Depp is suing NGN and The Sun’s executive editor Dan Wootton over the publication of an article on April 27 2018 with the headline: “Gone Potty: How can JK Rowling be ‘genuinely happy’ casting wife beater Johnny Depp in the new Fantastic Beasts film?”
His lawyers say the article bore the meaning there was “overwhelming evidence” Mr Depp assaulted Ms Heard on a number of occasions and left her “in fear for her life”.
NGN is defending the article as true, and says Mr Depp was “controlling and verbally and physically abusive towards Ms Heard, particularly when he was under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs”.