FAIRFAX, Va. — Actor Johnny Depp took the stand Tuesday in his libel lawsuit against his ex-wife Amber Heard, saying her domestic abuse allegations against him were disturbing, heinous and “not based in any species of truth.”
“Nothing of the kind ever happened,” Depp said in court.
He added: “Never did I myself reach the point of striking Ms. Heard in any way. Nor have I ever struck any woman in my life.”
Alluding to the fall his career has taken since Heard levied abuse allegations against him, the former “Pirates of the Caribbean” star said, “it’s been six years of trying times. It’s very strange when one day you’re Cinderella, so to speak, and then in 0.6 seconds you’re Quasimodo.”
Depp added that he’s concerned for his children and the people who have believed in him.
“I am obsessed with the truth,” Depp said. “So today is actually my first opportunity that I’ve been able to speak about this case.”
The trial began more than a week ago, but, prior to Tuesday, jurors had only seen the Hollywood star sitting silently with his team of lawyers as each side has tried to embarrass the other in a trial that Heard’s lawyers accurately predicted would turn into a mudslinging soap opera.
After denying Heard’s abuse allegations, Depp spoke at length about a childhood in which physical abuse from his mother was “constant.” The abuse came in the form of ashtrays being flung or a high-heeled shoe or telephone being used to beat him, Depp said. When he became a father, Depp said, he made sure his children didn’t experience that kind of upbringing.
In terms of Heard, Depp said she seemed “too good to be true” at the beginning of their relationship.
“She was attentive,” Depp said of the woman he married in 2015. “She was loving. She was smart. She was kind. She was funny. She was understanding … We had many things in common, certain blues music … literature.”
But Depp said that within a year and a half, it was as if Heard had become another person.
So far, Depp’s friends, family and employees have testified that Heard was the aggressor in the relationship, physically attacking him on multiple occasions. Heard’s former personal assistant testified that Heard spit in her face in a fit of rage.
Meanwhile, jurors have seen text messages in which Depp uses vulgar language to describe Heard and spells out his desire to get revenge against her. Heard’s lawyers have said he physically and sexually assaulted her on multiple occasions, often in situations where he drank so much he later blacked out.
The lawsuit itself is supposed to be over whether Heard libeled Depp when she wrote a 2018 op-ed piece in The Washington Post about domestic violence. In the article, Heard referred to herself as a “public figure representing domestic abuse.”
She never mentioned Depp by name, but Depp and his lawyers say it’s a clear reference to accusations Heard made in 2016 when the couple divorced and she sought a restraining order against him.
Heard’s lawyers, who have filed their own countersuit against Depp, say nothing in the article libels him. They say the abuse allegations are true, and that the damage to Depp’s reputation — which he says got him booted from the lucrative “Pirates of the Caribbean” movie franchise — came from his own bad behavior.
Depp’s testimony is expected to stretch into Wednesday. Heard is scheduled to testify later in the trial.