Johnny Depp says he sounds like a ‘pained animal’ in an audiotape of him moaning on a plane amid alleged drug binge

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Johnny Depp testified in a trial of dueling defamation lawsuits versus ex-wife Amber Heard that he thought an audiotape of himself moaning on an airplane sounded like a “pained animal,” which occurred during a period of an alleged drug and alcohol binge.

Pirates of the Caribbean actor Depp is suing Aquaman star Heard for $50 million for defamation. The lawsuit centers around an op-ed Heard wrote in 2018 for the Washingon Post in which she described herself as a “public figure representing domestic abuse.” Though Depp isn’t mentioned by name in the article, he says he is implied as the abuser in the piece, an allegation he says is false and damaged his career. Heard is counter-suing, also for defamation for $50 million. 

Thursday represents the third day Depp has testified in the trial, which is being live-streamed on the Law & Crime Network YouTube channel. Thursday is also the first full day of cross-examination.

The audio recording of Depp moaning incomprehensibly was made during a flight from Boston to Los Angeles in 2014.

“That’s your voice making those moaning sounds, sound like an animal in pain, right, Mr. Depp,” Ben Rottenborn, Heard’s attorney, asked the actor.

“That is exactly what I said before, yes, that is…sounds like a pained animal and it is my voice,” Depp replied.

In previous testimony Thursday, various text messages from Depp were presented by Heard’s lawyers that appeared to show him confessing to a massive drug and alcohol binge he engaged in on that same plane ride, something he denied doing in previous testimony. He later apologized to Heard for his behavior on the plane in a subsequent text message.

Throughout the trial, Heard’s lawyers have zeroed in on Depp’s alleged drug and alcohol abuse, saying his proclivity to blacking out precludes him from having any credibility for denying Heard’s domestic abuse allegations. On Tuesday, Depp described Heard’s drug and alcohol abuse allegations as “grossly embellished.”

Heard is expected to testify at some point during the trial, which is in its second week and expected to last more than a month. Tech mogul Elon Musk and actor James Franco — who have both been accused of having affairs with Heard by Depp’s attorneys in the past — are also on the witness list and slated to testify, either in person or via video link, as well as Depp’s close friend and Avengers actor Paul Bettany, at some point.

If you are experiencing domestic abuse, or if you believe someone you know is being abused, contact The National Domestic Violence Hotline. The hotline can be reached at 1-800-799-SAFE or spoken with online via the hotline’s website. Mobile phone owners can also text “START” to the number 88788.