Attorneys for actor Johnny Depp began their questioning of Amber Heard in the couple’s defamation trial on Monday and challenged the Aquaman star’s claims that she suffered physical abuse before and during their brief marriage.
Depp’s attorneys introduced photographs of Heard making public appearances on red carpets and The James Corden Show shortly after times that she said Depp had struck her with his hands, on which he usually wore heavy rings.
The pictures shown to jurors appeared to reveal no injuries. Heard said the harm, which included what she thought was a broken nose, was not severe enough to be visible or was covered up by makeup. Though, the photos she shared with the jury showed redness and swelling much more clearly than earlier photos.
The trial is now in its fifth week, and jurors have seen multiple photos of Heard throughout the trial that purport to document the abuse she said she received during her relationship with Depp.
Heard said the marks came when Depp threw a phone at her face.
Depp, 58, is suing Heard, 36, for $50 million, saying she defamed him when she claimed she was a victim of domestic abuse. Heard has countersued for $100 million, arguing that Depp smeared her by calling her a liar.
The pair wed in February 2015 and their divorce was finalised about two years later. The legal case centres on a December 2018 opinion piece by Heard that appeared in The Washington Post. The article never mentioned Depp by name, but his lawyer told jurors it was clear Heard was referencing him.
Less than two years ago, Depp lost a libel case against The Sun, a British tabloid that labeled him a “wife beater.” A London High Court judge ruled that he had repeatedly assaulted Heard.
Heard discussed her makeup routine during her Monday testimony, using a colour correction wheel that she called her “bruise kit” to cover up marks on her face. She said she learned over the years to use green shades in the first day of a bruise to cover up redness, and switch more to orange shades as the bruise turned blue and purple.
“I’m not going to walk around LA with bruises on my face,” she said.
On cross-examination, Depp lawyer Camille Vasquez questioned Heard about multiple photos of her that appeared not to show bruises even they were taken within days of alleged abuse incidents. Heard said she used makeup to cover bruises and ice to reduce swelling.
“You should see what it looked like under the makeup,” she said.
Vasquez also questioned Heard about her $7 million divorce settlement from Depp. Heard pledged to donate the full amount to charity but has so far only donated a portion of it. She testified she’s been unable to fulfil her pledge yet because Depp sued her for $50 million. But on cross-examination she acknowledged that she had received the full $7 million from Depp months before he filed the lawsuit.
In her direct testimony, Heard testified she did not want to publicly expose Depp as an abuser in her court proceedings, but had to go to the courthouse to provide testimony to obtain the restraining order, and she was taken aback when she left the courthouse surrounded by paparazzi.
“I just wanted to change my locks,” she said about why she went to court to get the restraining order. “I just wanted to get a good night’s sleep.”
During Monday’s testimony, Heard also strongly denied an accusation from Depp that she left human fecal matter in the couple’s bed after a fight. Heard said it was the couple’s teacup Yorkshire terrier that messed the bed and that it had a history of bowel problems ever since it had accidentally ingested Depp’s marijuana.
“Absolutely not,” she said about the alleged poop prank. “I don’t think that’s funny. I don’t know what grown woman does. I was not in a pranking mood.”
Heard said, though, that Depp became obsessed with the idea that someone had pooped in his bed. She said it was all he wanted to talk about during that final fight May 21, 2016, even though Depp’s mother had just died and the couple hadn’t spoken in a month.
The poop allegation is one of several that Depp’s online fans have particularly latched onto in their social media critiques of Heard.
Heard also talked about the op-ed piece itself, saying staffers with the American Civil Liberties Union — for whom she had started work as an ambassador — wrote the first draft. She said she was happy to lend her voice to the debate over domestic violence, and wasn’t intending to reference Depp.
“It’s not about Johnny,” she said. “The only one who thought it was about Johnny was Johnny. It was about me, and my life after Johnny.”
Heard concluded her testimony by saying that accusations she receives on a daily basis from Depp supporters that she’s lying about the abuse are “torture.”
“I want to move on with my life,” she said. “I want Johnny to move on. I want him to leave me alone.”