Amber Heard has claimed that ex-husband Johnny Depp repeatedly hit her during drug and alcohol binges as she took the stand at the former couple’s $50 million defamation trial.
Depp, 58, is suing Heard, 36, over an op-ed she wrote for The Washington Post in which she accused him of being abusive. Heard has sued back, with a $100 million counterclaim against Depp, alleging “abuse and harassment”.
She described a particular incident in which she laughed at one of Depp’s tattoos which reads “Wino forever”, an alteration to a tattoo previously referencing a past relationship with actress Winona Ryder.
Heard said on the witness stand: “I laughed because I thought he was joking… and he slapped me across the face.
“I just stared at him kind of laughing, thinking that he was going to start laughing too, to tell me it was a joke, but he didn’t. He slapped me again. I will never forget it.”
She added that Depp could sometimes be kind and “extra nice” but claimed that under the influence of alcohol or drugs, he would fly into rages over a perceived infidelity.
Heard said: “It would be accusations, accusations and then he would explode… He’d come back clean and sober and he’d be extra nice and extra apologetic and we’d be good again.”
She added: “I struggle to find the words to describe how painful this is… this is horrible for me to sit here for weeks and relive everything.”
The trial began on 11 April in Virginia’s Fairfax County district courthouse, and has so far seen Depp accused of sexually assaulting Heard, and texting a friend hoping “Amber Heard’s rotting corpse was decomposing” in the trunk of a car. Depp has denied hitting Heard, stating that he would “never strike a woman”, and has denied the sexual assault claim.
The court also previously heard the couple’s marriage counsellor describe their relationship as “mutually abusive”.
Depp spent four days giving testimony in the trial ahead of Heard standing herself, in one case alleging that shortly after the couple were married, an argument had become so serious that it ended in his finger being sliced off.
During the fight in Australia in 2015, he claimed Heard had thrown two vodka bottles at him, one of which smashed and severed his finger.
He said: “I don’t know what a nervous breakdown feels like, but that’s probably the closest that I’ve ever been. Nothing made sense and I knew in my mind and in my heart that this is not life.”
Johnny Depp said his mental state was so bad that he began “to write in my own blood on the walls”, before eventually texting his doctor to come to the house.
The trial continues, and is expected to last six weeks.