Amber Heard’s attorneys cross-examine Johnny Depp after two days of testimony

Johnny Depp’s explicit text messages came under scrutiny during cross-examination by Amber Heard’s attorneys Thursday after he spent two days testifying in his defamation lawsuit accusing Heard of lying about abuse and assaulting him during their marriage.

Depp took the stand for several hours this week detailing their relationship, accusing Heard of throwing things at him and verbally abusing him. He characterized his ex-wife as having a “need for conflict, she has a need for violence.”

But Heard’s attorneys put Depp on the defensive Thursday, using his the actor’s correspondences to highlight times he used violent language and spotlight moments where he seemingly admitted to a need to stop abusing alcohol.

Heard’s legal team presented text messages sent by Depp in 2013 that said he would subject her a violent death.

“Let’s drown her before we burn her,” he wrote, then proposed to violate her corpse afterward.

Depp wrote in a different 2013 exchange that he would “smack” her around before letting her in, referring to her using a vulgar insult.

Various messages sent by Depp and presented to court included obscene language used to denigrate women.

In previous testimony, Depp admitted to drug use and a prior addiction to opiates, but he said that he was never “out of control” when inebriated. He accused Heard of using his history of substance abuse against him.

Heard’s attorneys also read messages from Depp where he discusses his inebriation. In one 2014 message to a friend, Depp wrote that he was “so disappointed” in himself after having a fight with Heard and drinking.

Depp wrote in another message, also from 2014, that he “drank all night before I picked up Amber” for a flight, saying he had no food for days, had various types of alcohol, and “powders.”

When asked whether “powder” referred to cocaine, Depp responded, “sure.”

He described himself in the message as “angry, aggro,” and said that he was “screaming obscenities” and in a “blackout.”

“I’m too old to be that guy,” Depp wrote.

Depp previously testified that he couldn’t recall drinking more than a glass or two of champagne during a flight, from Boston to Los Angeles, and insisted under cross-examination that he did not recall being drunk. His text message stated he had two bottles of champagne.

“I had a glass of champagne, and I had taken a double dose of the narcotics, of the opiates,” Depp said Thursday, disputing his message. “That’s a very different thing from being drunk.”

Johnny Depp testifies Wednesday in Fairfax County Circuit Court in Fairfax, Va.
Johnny Depp testifies Wednesday in Fairfax County Circuit Court in Fairfax, Va.Evelyn Hockstein / Pool via AP

Heard’s attorneys attempted to discredit Depp’s memory, focusing on his account of a 2015 fight he and Heard had in Australia.

Depp testified Wednesday that Heard sliced off the tip of his finger while in a home rented as he filmed the fifth “Pirates of Caribbean” movie. He alleged that Heard threw a bottle of vodka at the wall and it shattered, cutting off the top of his middle finger.

Afterward, Depp told the court that he was in the midst of a “nervous breakdown” and wrote in his blood on the walls. He also admitted during cross-examination to having dipped his finger in paint.

Heard’s lawyer asked whether Depp recalled drawing male genitalia on a painting and whether he could have been blacked out after Depp said he didn’t remember it.

“This was no blackout. … It was shock,” Depp responded.

Depp was also questioned about correspondences with his doctor. Depp previously testified that he lied while in the emergency room but told his personal doctor that Heard was the reason for his injury.

“When you say to someone I’ve chopped my finger off, that’s just going straight to the fact,” Depp said. “You don’t get into she did this, I did that … . My fingers been chopped off.”

Depp is suing Heard over an essay she wrote for The Washington Post in 2018, in which she said she had become a “public figure representing domestic abuse.” Although the article never mentions Depp by name, his attorneys said it indirectly refers to allegations she made against him during their 2016 divorce.

“When the allegations were rapidly circling the globe, telling people that I was a, a drunken, cocaine-fueled menace who beat women — suddenly in my 50s — it’s over,” Depp said. “You’re done.”

While on the witness stand, Depp painted a picture of Heard as someone who started off as his perfect partner but became hostile about a year-and-a-half into their relationship.

According to Depp’s account, Heard would pick fights and escalate them with demeaning language. He also said she would sometimes “strike out,” whether it was a slap or a shove, or throw something at him. 

As evidence, attorneys for Depp presented photos of his injuries from what they alleged were attacks by Heard. Audio clips recorded during their fights were also played.

Heard is alleged to tell Depp in one clip: “I was hitting you. I was not punching you.”

In court filings before the trial, Heard said she hit Depp only in self-defense or in defense of her younger sister, according to The New York Times.

Depp also testified prior to cross-examination that his alcohol and drug consumption became a point of contention in his relationship. He told the court that Heard asked him to remain sober, despite consuming drugs and alcohol in his presence, referring to him as a “monster” when inebriated.

Heard’s lawyers pushed back against Depp under cross-examination, noting messages he wrote to various people referring to his intoxication as a “monster.”

“It’s probable that I might have used that word, certainly,” Depp said.

Heard was granted a protective order in May 2016 after she alleged that Depp hit her in the face with a cellphone. She presented evidence to the court — a photo of a bruise to her face — and claimed he pulled her hair, screamed at her and hit her repeatedly.

“During the entirety of our relationship, Johnny Depp has been verbally and physically abusive to me,” Heard said in a sworn declaration at the time.

She also said she lived in fear of Depp, saying he had a “short fuse” and terrorized her.

Depp testified that his typical tactic in arguments was to remove himself, often by locking himself in a bathroom. He said it was a strategy he learned growing up with an abusive mother. 

Depp, who has denied ever having struck Heard, recounted his version of the May 2016 cellphone incident Wednesday.

Depp said the two were in his penthouse a day after he called Heard to tell her that his mother had died and that he wanted to file for divorce.

Heard wanted to speak, Depp said, so he went over to have a discussion and gather his belongings. They had not spoken for nearly a month at that point, he said.

Depp said Heard was laughing at him with a friend on the phone as he gathering his belongings.

“It was a tough couple of days, and I really didn’t feel like I deserved that kind of treatment,” Depp said.

He took the phone, told her friend that Heard was “all yours” and then “flung” it down onto the couch before he walked away to the kitchen, Depp told the court.

CORRECTION (April 21, 2022, 10:08 a.m. ET): A previous version of this article misstated when Johnny Depp said Amber Heard became hostile. It was a year-and-a-half into their relationship; he did not say they were together a year and a half.

If you or someone you know is facing domestic violence, call the National Domestic Violence hotline for help at (800) 799-SAFE (7233), or go to www.thehotline.org for more. States often have domestic violence hotlines as well.

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