Depp v. Heard
Amber Heard to return to stand in defamation battle with Johnny Depp
LOS ANGELES, May 5 (Reuters) - "Aquaman" actor Amber Heard is expected to testify for a second day on Thursday in the defamation case brought by her ex-husband Johnny Depp, the Hollywood star she said assaulted her multiple times before and during their brief marriage.
Heard took the witness stand for the first time on Wednesday in the widely followed trial and said the pair had a “magical” relationship until it turned violent.
Depp’s first physical outburst, Heard said, came after she asked what was written on one of his faded tattoos. She said he replied “Wino,” and she laughed, thinking it was a joke.
“He slapped me across the face,” Heard said. “I didn’t know what was going on. I just stared at him.”
Heard said he slapped her twice more and said “you think it’s funny, bitch?”
Depp, 58, testified earlier in the trial that the tattoo fight “didn’t happen” and that he never hit Heard. He argued that she was the one who was the abuser.
The star of the “Pirates of the Caribbean” films and others is suing Heard, 36, for $50 million, saying she defamed him when she claimed she was a victim of domestic abuse. Heard has counter-sued for $100 million, arguing Depp smeared her by calling her a liar.
Under questioning by her lawyers, Heard said Depp assaulted her “several times,” usually when he was drinking or using drugs. During a weekend away with friends in May 2013, Heard said, Depp accused her of inviting what he perceived as suggestive advances from a woman.
That evening, Heard said Depp ripped off her underwear and stuck his fingers “inside” her in a “cavity search” for drugs.
Earlier, psychologist Dawn Hughes testified that Heard had told her Depp had put his fingers up her vagina in a hunt for cocaine.
The case hinges on a December 2018 opinion piece Heard authored in the Washington Post. The article never mentioned Depp by name, but his lawyer told jurors it was clear Heard was referencing him. The couple’s divorce was finalized in 2017 after less than two years of marriage.
Depp, once among Hollywood’s biggest stars, said Heard’s allegations cost him “everything.” A new “Pirates” movie was put on hold, and Depp was replaced in the “Fantastic Beasts” film franchise, a “Harry Potter” spinoff.
Heard’s attorneys have argued that she told the truth and that her opinion was protected free speech under the U.S. Constitution’s First Amendment.
A state court judge in Virginia’s Fairfax County, outside the nation’s capital, is overseeing the trial, which is expected to last until late May.
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 he had repeatedly assaulted Heard.
Depp’s lawyers have said they filed the U.S. case in Fairfax County because the Washington Post is printed there. The newspaper is not a defendant.
By Lisa Richwine
(Reporting by Lisa Richwine in Los AngelesEditing by Matthew Lewis)