Johnny Depp says text message to Paul Bettany about wanting to ‘burn Amber’ was meant as ‘abstract humor’

Photo by Paul Morigi/Getty Images

Johnny Depp is claiming that a text message he sent to his friend saying he wanted to burn his ex-wife, Amber Heard, was meant as “irreverent and abstract humor.”

This occurred during his redirect testimony under questioning by his own lawyer following the conclusion of cross examination by Heard’s team amid a trial of dueling defamation lawsuits, which is being live-streamed on the Law & Crime YouTube Channel

Pirates of the Caribbean actor Depp is suing Aquaman star Heard for $50 million for defamation for what he alleges are false claims of domestic abuse against him that have hurt his career. Heard is counter-suing, also for defamation, for $100 million. 

The original 2013 text message, which Depp sent to his actor buddy, Paul Bettany, and previously discussed under cross-examination, reads: “Let’s drown her before we burn her!!!” in reference to “Amber.” The text then describes wanting to defile her corpse “to make sure she is dead.”

Under testimony, Depp says the text message is meant as “irreverant and abstract humor,” and that the reference to burning Heard is based on a Monty Python movie scene.

“In context, it’s important to know that none of it was ever intended to be real,” Depp says. He adds that he’s “ashamed” that the text message “has to be spread on the world like peanut butter.”

Depp credits another 2013 text to “abstract humor” when he made a reference to an “idiot cow.” He explains that the person he was messaging with was actually Vanessa Paradis, the mother of his children, and that the two were not talking about Heard at the time.

“This is again, abstract humor that we’re…that we’re conveying back and forth to one another. This was all…it’s…it was a joke. It wasn’t about, certainly wasn’t about miss Heard. We didn’t speak of her much together,” Depp says.

Depp says he didn’t recall who the text messages between him and Paradis were referring to, but it might’ve been about a nanny whom they suspected of stealing from them.

The trial thus far has painted a sad portrait of a relationship that went on the rocks. While Heard maintains Depp abused her, Depp claims just the opposite: she abused him, and not the other way around. The couple’s former marriage counselour earlier testified she believed the pair engaged in “mutual abuse.”

The 2018 Washington Post op-ed written by Heard, and Depp’s allegations that it damaged his career, are at the center of his lawsuit against his ex-wife. Depp is not named in the article, but he says he is implied as the abuser in the piece — an allegation he denies. In previous testimony, Depp confirmed Heard made domestic abuse allegations against him as far back as 2016.

Heard herself is expected to take the stand and testify at some point during the trial unfolding. Other famous names on the witness list slated to testify, either in person or via video link, include tech mogul Elon Musk, and actors James Franco and Paul Bettany.