‘Put the knife down’: Amber Heard begs Johnny Depp not to cut himself in audiotape from 2016

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Content warning: the article contains references to violence and discussions of domestic abuse some readers may find disturbing.

An audiotape has surfaced featuring Amber Heard begging Johnny Depp not to cut himself in the trial of dueling defamation lawsuits between the Hollywood stars.

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 Washington 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 livestreamed on the Law & Crime Network YouTube channel. Thursday is also the first full day of cross-examination for him.

In the audiotape, from a July 2016 meeting, Heard could be heard saying to Depp, “please don’t do that,” “you’re going to hurt yourself,” and “put the f**king knife down!” 

Depp could be heard saying in the tape, “there’s a way for the pain to go away.” Heard then insists to him, “it doesn’t make the pain go away.”

On Wednesday, Depp detailed in excruciating detail a time when he alleges Heard threw a vodka bottle at his hand, which he said shattered and ended up cutting off his right middle finger and crushing the bone. But Heard’s lawyers say Depp cut off his own finger in act of self-mutilation. A text message and audio recording submitted as evidence by Heard’s team Thursday seemed to show Depp admitting to chopping off his own digit. The sliced-off finger incident occurred in Australia in 2015 while Depp was filming Pirates of the Caribbean 5, about a year prior to the newly surfaced audio recording.

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 actors James Franco and Paul Bettany are all on the witness list and expected to testify at some point, either in person or via video link.

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.