On April 19, Johnny Depp took the stand for the first time to testify in his ongoing defamation trial against his ex-wife Amber Heard. The actor spoke for nearly four hours and opened up about fame, childhood abuse and addiction issues.
Depp also provided a detailed insight into his past relationship with Heard, sharing both the beginning and the tragic end of their love story. He recalled meeting Heard for the first time on the set of their 2011 film The Rum Diary and falling in love while playing their onscreen roles.
The Pirates of the Caribbean star then revealed that their fairytale romance started deteriorating after nearly a year and a half. He also denied all claims of domestic violence and said he never struck Heard during their low moments.
The Johnny Depp vs. Amber Heard legal battle began on April 11 in Fairfax, Virginia. The trial is based off the former’s defamation lawsuit against his ex-wife. Depp sued Heard for $50 million after she called herself a “domestic violence survivor” in a 2018 Washington Post op-ed.
Although the article did not directly refer to Johnny Depp, his team claimed that it hinted towards the actor and tainted his image while negatively affecting his career. Meanwhile, Heard countersued Depp for $100 million, claiming he assaulted her on several occasions during their relationship.
A look into Johnny Depp’s statement about his relationship with Amber Heard
Johnny Depp opened up about his relationship with his ex-wife Amber Heard during his first testimony in the ongoing defamation trial. He shared that the duo first met while filming The Rum Diary in 2011 and bonded on set.
The actor revealed that he “felt something he shouldn't be feeling” while filming a kissing scene with Heard. Shortly after, the actress visited his trailer and the duo kissed in real life while realizing their feelings for each other.
Depp also remembered that the couple had nicknames for each other during their good times. He reportedly called Heard “Slim” and she called him “Steve,” referring to the names from the Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall film To Have and Have Not.
Johnny Depp reportedly asked Amber Heard to watch the film to practice “stillness” on camera and later realized that the age difference between Bogart and Bacall onscreen reflected the age gap between Depp and Heard offscreen.
While Bogart was 45 when he met the 19-year-old Bacall, Depp was 48 when he started dating 25-year-old Heard in 2012.
Johnny Depp said that the beginning of his relationship with Heard was “too good to be true”:
“She was attentive, she was loving, she was smart, she was funny, she was understanding. We had many things in common, certainly blues music, literature. For that year, or year and a half it was amazing.”
However, he noted that their relationship gradually started changing after a year and a half:
“From the beginning of our relationship for a good year and a half she was wonderful and then things just started to change or things started to reveal themselves is a better way to put it.”
The Fantastic Beasts star mentioned that he started noticing disturbing changes in Heard’s behavior after she attempted to control his sleep schedule:
“It started out with little things like that. I suppose like anything, if they’re allowed to continue, then they’re allowed to grow and blossom into whatever they’re going to become.”
Johnny Depp also shared that the couple initially followed a routine where Heard served him a glass of wine and took off his shoes after he came home from work:
“I worked quite a lot and when I came home from work I’d come in the house and she’d sit me down and give me a glass of wine and take my boots off and set them to the side. I’ve never experienced anything like that in my life. I never experienced that and it became a regular thing, kind of routine.”
However, she reportedly became upset after Depp broke the routine one day and took off the shoes himself while Heard was busy on a call:
“One night I came home and she was on the phone, I took my boots off, suddenly Miss Heard approached with this look on her face, she just said what did you just do? What did you do? You took your boots off… No, no, no that’s my job. You don’t do that, I do that.”
Johnny Depp also noted that Amber Heard was “visibly shaken” after the incident:
“Then she said ‘Let me get you a glass of wine.’ I did take pause of course, the fact she was visibly shaken or upset that I had broken her rules of routine. Once you notice something like that you start to notice other tidbits that come out.”
The actor said that nearly a year and a half after the incident Heard “had become another person, almost.”
During the testimony, Johnny Depp confirmed that he began taking drugs when he was just 11 years old while stuck in an abusive household with his mother. He also said that though he did “all the drugs I was aware of” by 15, he did not continue to have a similar pattern after growing up.
The 58-year-old also admitted to being addicted to opioids later in life but clarified that much of the addiction was handled before he started dating Heard. Depp also claimed that he maintained long-term sobriety and even refrained from taking alcohol “for many years.”
The Charlie and the Chocolate Factory star claimed that the allegations of his severe substance abuse made by Heard and her team were exaggerated as compared to real life:
“The characterization of my ‘substance abuse’ that’s been delivered by Miss Heard is grossly embellished and I’m sorry to say but a lot of it is just plainly false”
Johnny Depp also said that Amber Heard could easily use the substance abuse angle in the legal battle as she had access to the secrets of his life:
“It was an easy target for her to hit because once you’ve trusted somebody for a certain amount of years and you’ve told them all the secrets of your life that information can be used against you, especially if it’s taken to a point that’s teetering on impossible, teetered over impossible at times.”
Depp also said that he was not a “maniac” who “needed to be loaded all the time.” Meanwhile, he also apologized for some of his past texts that referred to Heard in a derogatory manner:
“I’m ashamed of some of the references made. I’m embarrassed that at the time the heat of the moment, the heat of the pain that I was feeling went to dark places. Sometimes pain has to be dealt with humor and sometimes dark, very dark humor.”
He also cited his influence from Monty Python for his dark humor and his debatable vocabulary.
Speaking on Heard’s domestic violence claims, Johnny Depp said that he was in “complete shock” when the former made the “heinous and disturbing” allegations nearly six years ago. He also strongly denied getting physically violent with his ex-wife or any other woman:
“Never did I myself reach the point of striking Ms. Heard in any way, nor have I ever struck any woman in my life.”
Johnny Depp also defined the deterioration of his relationship with Amber Heard as going from Cinderella to Quasimodo:
"It's very strange when one day you’re Cinderella so to speak, and then in 0.6 seconds you’re Quasimodo.”
The actor is set to return to the witness stand in court to continue his testimony on Wednesday. He is also expected to face cross-examination from Heard’s legal team during the trial.