Amber Heard takes witness stand, claims Johnny Depp 'threatened to kill me many times'

Taryn Ryder
Writer, Yahoo Entertainment

Amber Heard entered the witness box in London on Monday where she testified she was abused by ex-husband Johnny Depp during their five-year relationship. According to the 34-year-old Aquaman star, Depp threatened to kill her “many times” and said “death was the only way out” of the marriage. The couple split in 2016.

Depp, 57, is suing News Group Newspapers, owner of the Sun, and the tabloid’s executive editor, Dan Wootton, for libel over a 2018 article that called him a “wife beater.” Heard is the defense’s star witness as she maintains the term is accurate, detailing 14 instances of alleged abuse. The Pirates of the Caribbean actor has denied all of Heard’s accusations and claimed during his testimony she was the aggressor.

“Johnny has said he was never violent or abusive towards me during our relationship. That is not true. He was both physically and verbally abusive. The physical abuse and the worst of the verbal abuse would usually happen when he was drunk or high on drugs, which was often,” Heard says in her witness statement, obtained by Yahoo Entertainment.

Amber Heard arrives at the Royal Courts of Justice on the tenth day of Johnny Depp's libel trial on July 20, 2020. (Photo: Getty Images)

The physical abuse, according to Heard, “included punching, slapping, kicking, head-butting and choking me, as well as throwing me into things, pulling me by my hair, and shoving me or pushing me to the ground. He threw things at me, especially glass bottles.”

Heard claims the verbal abuse “included screaming, swearing and threatening me; but it also included what I would call extremely controlling and intimidating behavior.”

Johnny Depp leaves court on July 20, 2020. (Photo: Getty Images)

“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. He explicitly threatened to kill me many times, especially later in our relationship,” she alleges.

Heard claims Depp is a master manipulator and that he blamed his actions on a “self-created third party instead of himself, which he often called ‘the monster.’” However, the actress says he has an “intensely affectionate, warm and charming” side as well.

“I called this ‘the warm glow.’ When Johnny puts his attention on you, with all his intensity and darkness, it is unlike anything I’ve ever experienced,” Heard states. 

“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; the way he would describe what he wanted to do to me if I left him or hurt him (for example, carving my face up so no one else would want me); and in his language towards others who he didn’t like or was threatened by (detailing how he wanted to have someone tortured or how cheap and easy it would be to have someone knocked off),” she alleges. “He could be very intense and dark. It was the polar opposite of ‘the warm glow.’”

Depp and Heard met in 2009 filming The Rum Diary. They didn’t get together until 2011 after the actor split from longtime love, Vanessa Paradis. Heard notes in her written statement she had nothing to do with the demise of Paradis and Depp’s relationship and that the actor suggested they hide their new romance so she wouldn’t be blamed. Looking back, Heard believes this is an example of how he exhibited controlling behavior early on in their relationship.

“When we were together it was always just the two of us. We would be at his compound, behind gates. It was like I was dating a king, with his level of fame and the way he lived. I learned then that I had to suspend all expectations of normalcy, but I later came to understand how this protected him, isolated me and facilitated unacceptable behavior,” she recalls.

Heard claims her career ambition caused problems in the relationship, “as if it was synonymous with fame-seekers and women he considered to be distasteful, which made me feel like my profession was somehow embarrassing or shameful.”

“Over time, I stopped taking so many jobs because it was just not worth the fight. He made all kinds of demeaning and derogatory comments about actresses (‘two-bit w*****’) and about me wanting to work as an actress,” she alleges.

Heard claims Depp demeaned her when she wore sexy outfits, “calling me a ‘w****,’ ’s***,’ ‘fame-hungry’ and ‘an attention w****.’” The actress alleges he told her she should be assaulted, using racial epithets. “His verbal abuse was often sexualized,” she writes.

Heard states that Depp abused her when he was drunk or high on drugs — usually cocaine, marijuana and/or MDMA. The actor refuted all 14 alleged incidents in his witness statements and when he testified earlier this month.

Under cross-examination on Monday, Heard was asked about her alleged drug and alcohol use as both were a big topic during Depp’s testimony. According to the Guardian, she denied having ever taken cocaine while she was with the actor but admitted to taking MDMA and mushrooms a “handful” of times.

Heard said medical records that referred to her drug abuse were incorrect. “I have never had an eating disorder,” Heard stated. “I have never been diagnosed with bipolar. I have never had a history of liquor or substance abuse … although both my parents are alcoholics.”

On Monday, Heard admitted to having “outbursts of anger at times” during her relationship with Depp under cross-examination. “Yes, I lost my cool with Johnny in our fights,” she said.

In her witness statement, Heard admits that she started to fight back at the end of their relationship when altercations allegedly turned violent. During one fight in March 2015, Heard says she found text messages that showed Depp was cheating on her.

“I knew that he had cheated on me before, but I did not think he would have carried on after we were married,” she claims. The pair wed in February 2015. “Despite what Johnny has alleged, I did not throw anything at him. As for ‘berating him in a rage,’ I would not put it like that, but it is true I was very angry and upset about him having an affair. I did strike him on the stairs. I can’t remember exactly how I struck him – all I really know was that I wanted to protect [my sister.]”

Depp testified he was the victim of Heard’s verbal and physical abuse, which she denies. The actress is expected to answer questions for two more days. While the pair’s showdown in the U.K. is expected to end on Friday, they are entangled in another lawsuit in Virginia. Depp sued Heard for $50 million for defamation over her abuse claims.

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