Depp is suing Heard for $50 million for defamation, for allegedly false domestic abuse accusations she made against him that he said hurt his career. Heard is counter-suing Depp, also for defamation, for $100 million.
The highly-publicized trial has been live-streamed on the Law & Crime Network YouTube channel, and other outlets, from a courtroom in Fairfax, Virginia since mid-April.
At this point in the trial, it’s now an established fact, by Heard’s own admission, that she struck Depp. But it is the context, severity, and frequency that is being disputed. According to Heard, she only ever hit him in self-defense.
“I tried to defend myself when I could, but it was after years of not defending myself,” she said.
Heard previously testified the first time she ever hit him was in defense because Depp was allegedly taking a swing at her sister. In a previously submitted statement for the trial, Heard said that was the one and only time she actually struck Depp.
“You struck Mr. Depp multiple times during the relationship, didn’t you Ms. Heard?” Camille Vasquez, Depp’s lawyer, asked Heard.
“There are many times I had to use my body to defend myself and that included swinging wherever I could. If it meant I could get away, absolutely. If it meant a difference between a sore face and a broken nose, you bet I would.”
When pressed about whether Heard ever struck Depp as the “initial aggressor,” Heard said she did not, but that sometimes the situation wasn’t in response to Depp striking her, per se.
“Well, if he was holding me against the wall, by my neck, I might be the first person to have been the…the first one to slap, which happened in Australia, you know, when he was choking me, but I wouldn’t say I was the initial aggressor in that situation.”
The idea that Heard never initiated physical fights seems to somewhat contradict previous testimony by Depp and Heard’s former marriage counselor, Dr. Laurel Anderson.
While Anderson’s overall assessment was that the couple likely engaged in “mutual abuse,” she did note Heard often initiated fights, according to Heard’s own self-reporting.
Anderson said of Heard, “It was a point of pride to her if she felt disrespected to initiate a fight.” She added that Heard would also rather be in a fight with her husband than to see Depp leave, and “would strike him to keep him there.”
Anderson also said that she saw bruises on Heard’s face at one point.
Anderson also admitted that she believed there was violence by Depp committed toward Heard. However, she also said she was pretty certain Heard initiated the fights, and wasn’t as certain if Depp actually started them, too.
Heard has testified that Depp slapped and punched her multiple times and twice sexually assaulted her.
While Heard maintains she was abused by Depp, Depp claims just the opposite: he was abused by her and not the other way around.
In the Heard-penned 2018 Washington Post article at the center of Depp’s lawsuit, she describes herself as a “public figure representing domestic abuse.” Though Depp isn’t named in the article, Heard made prior allegations of abuse against Depp in 2016, which he claims is referenced in the piece.
Heard also has several other witnesses lined up to testify, including her sister Whitney Henriquez, actor Ellen Barkin, and Depp himself. This will be the second time Depp has taken the stand after he previously testified on behalf of himself and was cross-examined by Heard’s team.