Content warning: the article contains descriptions of alleged domestic abuse some readers may find disturbing.
Actor Amber Heard is alleging Johnny Depp kicked her during a plane ride, a topic that has already been much-discussed in the trial of dueling defamation lawsuits between the ex-spouses and celebrities.
Depp is suing Heard for defamation for $50 million for alleged false domestic abuse claims she made against him that he says hurt his career. Heard is counter-suing Depp, also for defamation, for $100 million.
The trial, unfolding in a courtroom in Fairfax, Virginia, is being live-streamed on the Law & Crime Network YouTube channel.
Heard alleges Depp obsessed over James Franco during plane ride
During Heard’s testimony, she described Johnny Depp as allegedly frequently arguing with her about James Franco, calling the fights “a nightmare.”
Heard alleged Depp was mad at her for taking a job to co-star in 2015’s The Adderall Diaries. She also alleged Depp believed she and Franco secretly had a prior fling when they both co-starred in 2008’s Pineapple Express.
A 2014 plane ride from Boston to Los Angeles has already been much discussed in the trial so far. During Depp’s testimony, he denied going on a bender during the flight. However, text messages submitted into evidence, sent by him to a friend, seemed to show him admitting to going on a massive drug and alcohol binge prior to and during the plane ride.
During the plane ride in question, Heard alleged Depp made accusations to her about Franco, asking if he ever “slip[ped] the tongue” during a kissing scene. In prior testimony, Heard said Depp used his tongue in his kissing scene with her while filming The Rum Diary, the kiss which was the initial spark of attraction for both Depp and Heard, according to each of their respective testimonies.
After that, Heard alleged Depp proceeded to say “really disgusting things about [her] body” and was “straight-up taunting [her]” with insults.
Heard said during the argument, she got up slowly, in order not to aggravate him, and moved to the front of the plane. She said she moved twice, with Depp moving next to her each time. Heard alleged that he then slapped her in front of other people.
“It didn’t hurt my face. It just felt embarrassed,” she said. “It was the first time that anything like that had happened in front of somebody.”
When she moved the second time, Heard alleged Depp began taunting her again, laughing and screaming, and calling her names. Heard alleged that Depp then kicked a swivel chair in her direction, hitting her. After that, she alleged she became “very deliberate about [her] movements” and tried to move away slowly.
“I walk away from him. My back is turned to him and I feel this boot in my back. It just kicked me in the back. I fell on the floor and caught myself on the floor and I just felt like I was looking at the floor of the plane for felt like a long time. I thought to myself, I don’t know what to do. I can’t believe he just did [that]. He just kicked me. No one said anything. No one did anything. It was like you could you could hear a pin drop on that plane. You could feel the tension but no one did anything. And I just remember feeling so embarrassed. I felt so embarrassed that he could kick me to the ground in front of people. And more embarrassing, I didn’t know what to do about it. I got up and I just walked to the front of the plane I sat down.”
After that, Heard alleged Depp began demanding a flight attendant give her an oxygen tank. Heard alleged Depp kept drinking after that, to the point that he “started howling like an animal and passed out in the bathroom with the door locked.” Heard alleged that’s when she recorded audio, since she knew Depp wouldn’t remember what he’d done.
After that, an audiotape of Depp moaning incomprehensibly was played for the jury. It’s not the first time the audio was played during the trial, with it previously being played when Depp was testifying. In his testimony, Depp acknowledged it was him on the tape, describing himself as sounding like a “pained animal,” but he denied the audio was from the plane ride.
Sidebar ensues over text messages
A sidebar took place among the lawyers and Judge Penney Azcarate during court proceedings surrounding submitting into evidence text messages between Depp’s assistant, Stephen Deuters, and Heard in which they discussed the alleged kicking incident.
The text messages in question had been read aloud during a previous court case, the 2020 libel lawsuit in London, in which Depp sued The Sun for calling him a “wife beater” in an article. The Pirates of the Caribbean star ultimately lost that lawsuit, with a judge ruling the article was not libelous since it was based on credible evidence of domestic abuse submitted by Heard.
According to Mirror, Deuters wrote to Heard over text,
“He [Depp] was appalled. When I told him he kicked you, he cried.” Deuters later added, “It was disgusting. And he knows it.”
Deuters, who said he was on that same plane ride, also testified during the libel trial in London that he had only seen an attempted “playful kick” done by Depp to Heard’s bottom, but that he didn’t believe Depp’s foot actually made contact with her.
On Wednesday, Heard testified that the trial thus far has been the most painful experience of her life. She also detailed the alleged sexual abuse she said she experienced by Depp and shared a photo of what appeared to be her bruised arm that she alleged was caused by Depp’s physical abuse.
At the center of Depp’s current lawsuit is a Washington Post op-ed that Heard penned in 2018, in which she describes herself as “a public figure representing domestic abuse.” Heard doesn’t name Depp in the article, but Depp claims the piece nevertheless implied him as the abuser. Heard made previous domestic abuse allegations against Depp in 2016, something he says is referenced in the article.
Heard’s lawyers have claimed Depp’s denials of domestic abuse are not credible, due to blacking out from alleged drug and alcohol abuse and not remembering anything he did. However, Depp has described Heard’s descriptions of alleged drug and alcohol abuse as “grossly embellished.” While Heard maintains she was abused by Depp, Depp claims just the opposite: he was abused by her, and not the other way around.
Last week, Depp wrapped up his four-day-long testimony, with Tuesday representing Depp’s team resting its case.
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.