Johnny Depp’s lawyers on Monday aimed to undermine Amber Heard’s credibility, placing at the forefront of their opening salvo during cross-examination an audio recording of Heard saying people would never believe she was the abuser in their relationship.
The testimony came after Heard closed her case, detailing several days on the stand of violent altercations in which she says she was beaten and raped by a belligerent Depp. Heard testified that her ex-husband coordinated a campaign to smear her once she publicly alleged he abused her.
Asked about the recording of herself encouraging Depp to ‘tell the world’ and ‘see what a jury and a judge think’ of her claim that she abused him, Heard replied that she was incredulous that Depp would make such an “absurd” stance in the libel suit.
“Or, as you said, who is going to believe that Johnny Depp, a man, is a victim of domestic violence?” asked Camille Vasquez, representing Depp.
Heard replied, “With all due respect, I wasn’t saying that because he’s a man but because he’s a man who beat me for five years.”
The central issue in the trial in Virginia state court is whether Heard defamed her ex-husband in an op-ed published in The Washington Post who did not name Depp but correlated to their time together. She described herself in the column as a “public figure representing domestic violence.” Depp sued for $50 million for the play, alleging he was being boycotted by Hollywood over what he calls a hoax orchestrated by his ex-wife, who hit back for $100 million.
The lawsuit rarely touched on the specifics of the disputed editorial, mostly exploring the intimate details of the former couple’s relationship through conflicting accounts of physical altercations and Depp’s drug use. Heard presented numerous photos she took of herself after fights with Depp documenting instances of abuse.
After Heard completed his direct testimony on Monday, Depp’s attorneys disputed why photos of Heard after alleged abuse cases showed no visible injuries. The questions revolved around altercations in March 2013, when Heard said Depp hit her with a fist full of rings, and in May 2014, when Heard said Depp broke her nose.
Vasquez showed the jury a photo taken the night after Heard said she broke her nose, wondering why it didn’t look like she was injured. “That’s why I wear makeup,” Heard replied.
After Vasquez asked her if she posted pictures of the injury without makeup, Heard replied, “I would love to,” prompting Depp’s attorneys to object.
Heard’s testimony was repeatedly interrupted by objections from Depp’s team. The judge called for a private interview with attorneys for both sides after Heard continued to refer to evidence that was not allowed in the trial.
In another contentious exchange, Heard was asked if she had kept her promise to donate her entire $7 million divorce settlement with Depp to the American Civil Liberties Union and the hospital for Los Angeles children.
“I use commitment and giving as synonyms for each other,” Heard replied. “It’s the same things.”
After Vasquez popped the question again, the actress said, “That’s how donations are paid.”
Heard argued throughout the lawsuit that the donation was to be paid over a 10-year period, but she had to stop paying due to court costs. The ACLU corroborated Heard’s testimony.
Prior to cross-examination, Heard continued to present her case that Depp defamed her by calling her accusations a hoax. She was asked about a statement from Adam Waldman, one of Depp’s attorneys who was fired from the case after leaking information covered by a protective order to the press, saying she “tricked Mr. . Depp calling the cops”. The complaint relates to a visit by law enforcement to the couple’s home during which Heard refused to press charges against Depp for domestic violence.
“It couldn’t be more wrong,” Heard said of Waldman’s statement. “If I wanted a hoax, why wouldn’t I cooperate with the police? Won’t I tell the police something? Wouldn’t I do more damage to the house than just knocking over things you’ve seen pictures of? It does not mean anything.”
Heard also testified that she was nearly fired from Aquaman 2 after Depp began to deny the abuse allegations. She said action sequences featuring her character were cut.
According to Heard, she accepted a three-picture option for her character in Aquaman. She was paid $2 million to reprise her role in Aquaman 2which was the last film under his contract.
The trial will continue with Heard’s cross-examination on Tuesday.