Amber Heard testified that Johnny Depp was too “obsessed with dog poop” to think about divorce during a fight in May 2016 that occurred just days before Heard officially filed papers to end their marriage.
A sizable chunk of Heard’s testimony on Monday was dedicated to the circumstances surrounding a major fight between the former couple on May 21, 2016, just two days before Heard filed divorce papers. The incident occurred after Heard and Depp had not seen each other for a full month, with Heard testifying that Depp only got back in touch after the death of his mother.
Heard testified that Depp had told her prior to their meeting, “I need my wife.” But when they finally saw one another, Heard said, Depp was fixated on the feces he’d found on his side of their bed the previous month. Depp has insisted that it was human feces, while Heard has claimed it came from one of their dogs, who was having medical issues.
“I thought it was just a delusion he was having… I couldn’t believe he wanted to talk about feces,” Heard said.
Heard said she then called a friend to get some help explaining the situation, but Depp ended up screaming at the friend. Afterwards, Heard said Depp threw the phone at her face, taunted her, hit her on the top of her head, grabbed her by her hair, and pulled her off off of a couch.
Heard continued: “I don’t know if he was intending to hit me in the face, or if he was just trying to grab my face, but he was making this gesture around my face to expose my face to him, and he was like, ‘Yeah, let me see how bad I hurt you. Let me see it… What if I pull your hair back?’ And he yanks my hair back. I’m trying to prevent him from landing blows to my face, I’m trying to prevent my face from being exposed. And I just remember this mocking taunt he’s doing as he’s yanking me around the room.”
Jurors were later shown a text message Depp sent early the following morning, May 22, 2016, that read, in part, “I tried to make it work and you just turned more and more into a spoiled brat. All you wanted was to make me fucking miserable … I hope our divorce goes as quickly.” Heard said that during the fight, however, the subject of divorce never came up: “He was obsessed with dog poop, that’s what he wanted to talk about.”
Jurors also saw an array of photos that Heard and a friend took after the May 21 incident, both of Heard’s bruised face following the alleged phone-throwing, and of the damage Depp allegedly caused in the penthouse the couple shared. Heard noted that the police showed up that day, too, but she said she refused to identify Depp because she did not want him to be arrested or get in trouble. Despite her unwillingness to cooperate at the time, and Depp’s profuse apologies in the aftermath, Heard insisted on the stand that this had been the moment she decided it was time for a divorce.
Fighting tears, Heard said: “It was falling apart and I knew I had to leave him. I knew I wouldn’t survive it if I didn’t. So I made the decision to file for divorce. It was hard because I love Johnny so much. I loved him so much.” She added moments later: “The promise and the hope that I had, had become less regular and more rare. The monster had been this thing that was now the normal and not the exception. The violence was now normal and not the exception. It was so hard. It was so hard but I knew I had to do it. I believe he would’ve taken it too far and I wouldn’t be here.”
Heard was then asked why she applied for a domestic violence restraining order as well, saying she wanted to change her locks and get a good night’s sleep. “Security would always let him into the house no matter what I asked them,” she said. “No matter when I begged them to let me know when he was coming over, no matter how much I begged them not to let him in when he was mad, or drunk, or high. I just couldn’t sleep. I’d wake up in a panic. I was losing hair. I was losing weight. I got really sick. I had shingles, I couldn’t sleep… I had panic attacks all the time. I was falling apart.”
Later, the jury heard several audio recordings of a phone call between Heard and Depp as they discussed the divorce, in which Heard asked Depp to stop what she called a “smear campaign” against her over the abuse allegations. Of the calls, Heard testified that she was “begging Johnny to not make me prove what I’ve had to sit on this stand in front of all of you and prove, and talk about. I was begging not to do this and have to sit where I’m sitting today”
In one of the most emotional moments of the day, Heard testified through tears, “I didn’t want to get him in trouble, I didn’t want to hurt him. I don’t want anything from him — just don’t call me a liar. That’s all I said: ‘Don’t call me a liar. Just don’t say this isn’t real. Cause I’m the walking proof of it.’ ”
Heard’s lawyer also highlighted a joint statement from the pair’s separation agreement: “Neither party has made false accusation for financial gain. There was never any intent of physical or emotional harm. Amber wishes the best for Johnny in the future.” Heard said that statement was “the most important thing” in the agreement between them: “That he acknowledged that I hadn’t made a single false claim, that my allegations were not false. I thought that just because he signed his name to it, he’d honor it. I mean, he signed his name to it, and I thought it would mean something. He acknowledges that I never made a false claim and I didn’t do it for financial gain. And that’s what I was being called at the time — a gold digger and a liar.”
Heard returned to the witness stand Monday to finish her testimony after a week-long break in the $50 million defamation trial between her and Depp. Along with discussing the pivotal May 21 fight and the details of her divorce from Depp, Heard spoke about the key item in the defamation suit: a 2018 Washington Post op-ed in which she detailed her plight as an abuse survivor who “felt the full force of our culture’s wrath for women who speak out.”
Following her divorce from Depp, Heard said she struggled to maintain her career, noting that she’d been dropped from various projects, and had to fight to keep her role in Justice League and Aquaman. The ACLU approached her to partner on the op-ed shortly before the release of Aquaman, and Heard said she wanted to support “what I thought was a great cause.” When asked if she wanted to mention Depp by name, or reference him, in the piece, Heard said, “No.”
Rather, she said, she wanted to “weigh in on what I saw as the unique phenomenon that typically women experience in our culture when they come forward against somebody more powerful, when they speak up about gender-based violence. I thought I could lend my voice to that conversation.”
Heard also insisted that, not only did she have no ill will towards Depp when she agreed to publish the piece, but that “it’s not about Johnny.
“The only one who thought it was about Johnny is Johnny,” she continued. “It’s about me. It’s about what happened to me after Johnny. It’s about what happened to me after I escaped my marriage. It’s about me and my life and what I endured once I moved on and got a TRO [temporary restraining order] and moved on with my life… The only one who made it about him, ironically, is Johnny.”
Heard spent the early part of her testimony Monday sharing more details about her tumultuous relationship with Depp, including detailing other instances in which he was allegedly abusive. For instance, Heard spoke about an alleged fight during a honeymoon train trip through Southeast Asia, during which she claimed Depp began “squeezing my neck” and later tore off his shirt and wrapped it around her neck. She claimed that “a week of hell” followed a dispute about her role in the movie London Fields: Depp claimed that Heard had filmed a sex scene for the movie without telling him, while Heard insisted that, unbeknownst to her, the scene had been filmed with a body double.
Heard also spoke about a 2015 Thanksgiving celebration during which she said Depp and Marilyn Manson kept disappearing throughout the dinner (while she said she believed they were doing cocaine, Depp’s lawyers successfully objected to this as speculation). Heard said she tried to confront Depp at one point and an argument erupted, with Heard saying Depp “flung me a little bit” while she was on the stairs and then threw a wine decanter at her, though he missed.
Elsewhere, Heard spoke about finding a folder on Depp’s computer desktop titled “No Fun for JD.” In it were pictures of Heard on various red carpets, zoomed-in on features that Heard suggested Depp found inappropriate. Some of the same photos had been shown earlier, because scars were visible on Heard’s arms from the alleged abuse, though Heard testified that Depp “obviously never asked me how I got any of those scars.”
Heard also testified about Depp’s mental state in early 2016, saying his sobriety had fallen apart and that he often talked to or about people who weren’t present. “It was terrifying,” she said. “Because once he smashed a board right next to my face, and it was unclear to me if he was even mad at me, or if he was convinced that the guy he said he saw me with was in the room. I don’t know if Johnny felt the man was in the room with us or not. But I remember he put his fist through a white board in the kitchen… I observed behavior from him that was erratic, irrational, and didn’t seem connected to the reality that we were in.”
As Heard’s direct examination came to a close, she pushed back on the claim once put forth by Depp’s former lawyer, Adam Waldman, that her allegations against Depp were a hoax. To prove her point, she reiterated the way she behaved during and after that fateful May 21, 2016 fight, saying, “I defended Johnny. I refused to cooperate with the police, which so many people do. I tried to keep it private, even when I was filing for divorce. I tried to protect him. He did the opposite.”
She added, “I lived through this and I narrowly survived it. But I survived it. I have mountains of evidence, mountains of proof. And yet it won’t be good enough for people who are seeking to make money of Johnny’s success.”
While Heard’s direct examination took up the bulk of the day in court, Depp’s lawyers were able to begin their cross later in the afternoon. The cross began with Depp’s lawyer, Camille Vasquez, asking Heard if Depp had looked at her throughout the trial, which Heard acknowledged he hadn’t. Vasquez then played an audio recording from a 2016 meeting in San Francisco, after Heard had filed for a temporary restraining order, in which Depp could be heard promising, “You will not see my eyes again!”
From there, Vasquez pressed Heard on Depp’s claim that he, too, was a victim of domestic violence. Heard said she thought it was “preposterous” that Depp would claim he was a victim, adding, “I could never hurt Johnny.” When asked if she thought Depp would “tell the world he’s a victim of domestic violence,” Heard replied: “I found it hard to believe that he could or would do that considering the relationship he and I had. I thought it would be crazy for him to do so, knowing what I know we lived through.”
Heard denied that Depp was her victim and rebuffed Vasquez’s assertion that she “continued to abuse him, publicly, by calling him an abuser.” “He is an abuser,” Heard said. “And you can look either of us up online and figure out who’s being abused online.”
Vasquez also tried to cast doubt on some of Heard’s allegations of abuse and their alleged severity. She asked about several instances where Depp allegedly hit Heard in the face, with Heard having previously noted that Depp wore rings on all of his fingers. Vasquez then showed photos of Heard taken not long after those alleged incidents, where she did not appear to have any severe injuries on her face. Heard pushed back, saying she covered up the bruises with makeup.
Heard was also asked about her shocking testimony that Depp raped her with a liquor bottle while they were in Australia. Vasquez pressed Heard on whether she sought medical treatment afterwards, with Heard saying she hadn’t because “I didn’t want to tell anyone.”