‘He slapped me for no reason’: Amber Heard details alleged abuse by Johnny Depp amid trial

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Content warning: This article contains descriptions of alleged physical abuse, which some readers may find disturbing.

Actor Amber Heard detailed the first time she was allegedly physically abused by her ex-husband, Johnny Depp, via her testimony on Wednesday in a trial of dueling defamation lawsuits between the formerly married 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.

When asked if she remembered the first time Depp allegedly physically hit her, Heard said it was a moment that “changed [her] life.”

“I was sitting on the couch. And we were talking, we were having a normal conversation. There was no fighting, no argument, nothing. And he was drinking,” Heard said. She added she believes he was also using cocaine at the time, though she said she did not directly see him using, but saw “a [vintage] jar of cocaine on the table.”

Heard said the talking got physical when Heard asked Depp about a tattoo he had on his arm, to which he replied that it said “wino.”

“I didn’t see that, I thought he was joking. And I laughed. It was that simple. I just laughed ‘cause I thought he was joking. And he slapped me across the face,” she said.

After the alleged slap, Heard said she continued laughing, staring at Depp, not knowing what else to do. Then Depp allegedly slapped her again.

“He slapped me for no reason, it seemed like. And I missed the point, it was that stupid. Second slap, I know he’s not kidding.”

After that, Heard said the pattern of violence escalated from there, including instances of repeated slapping, coinciding with Depp allegedly ramping up his drug and alcohol use. 

Another pattern of behavior Heard said occurred was Depp disappearing after a blowout, then coming back clean and sober and apologizing for his behavior.

Heard also alleged Depp was verbally abusive, accusing her of “whoring [herself] out,” but in the context of acting.

Earlier in her testimony, Heard described what was characterized as an idyllic but “intense” early stage of their relationship, which flowered after the pair met on the set of The Rum Diary. She described those early days of the relationship as feeling like “absolute magic” and a kind of love like nothing she’d experienced before.

Heard also said Depp took a shine to her parents, routinely showering them with gifts, especially her dad.

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.

A major focus of the trial has been the topic of domestic violence, with Heard maintaining she was abused by Depp, but Depp claiming 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.