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Johnny Depp and Amber Heard had 'relationship of mutual abuse', court hears

Composite image shows Johnny Depp and Amber Heard inside the courtroom for Depp’s libel suit against Heard at the Fairfax County Circuit Court on 12 April, 2022
Composite image shows Johnny Depp and Amber Heard inside the courtroom for Depp’s libel suit against Heard at the Fairfax County Circuit Court on 12 April, 2022   -   Copyright  Brendan Smialowski, Pool via AP
By Euronews  with AP

A former personal assistant, and a therapist have been giving testimony in the ongoing court case brought by 'Pirates of the Caribbean' star Johnny Depp and his ex-wife actress Amber Heard.

Depp has accused Heard of indirectly defaming him in a 2018 opinion piece she wrote for The Washington Post. Heard refers to herself in the article as a “public figure representing domestic abuse.” The piece doesn’t name Depp. But his attorneys argue that it clearly references a restraining order that Heard sought in May 2016, right after Depp told her he wanted a divorce.

Depp denies abusing Heard, but Heard's lawyers say evidence will prove that he did. The actor's denials, they argue, lack credibility because he frequently drank and used drugs to the point of blacking out and failing to remember anything he did.

A court in the US state of Virginia heard Amber Heard's former assistant say she never saw the actress suffer any physical abuse at the hands of then-husband Johnny Depp -- but she said Heard once spit in her face when she asked for a higher salary.

Heard descended into screaming fits of blind rage, sent incoherent text messages at 4 am, and was often drunk and high on illegal drugs, the former assistant testified in a video deposition that was played in court Thursday during the trial.

Depp, on the other hand, was very calm, almost shy, "like a total Southern gentleman,” the ex-assistant said in a video testimony that portrayed Depp as peaceful, while Heard was frequently intoxicated and verbally abusive, including to her own mother and sister.

“Her poor sister was treated like a dog that you kicked, basically."

Shawn Thew/AP
Actress Amber HeardShawn Thew/AP

Former assistant details what it was like working for Amber Heard

The assistant, who worked for Heard from 2012 to 2015, said she was paid “very poorly.” She said she was hired with an initial salary of $25 an hour and that her duties ranged from picking up Heard's dry cleaning to talking with the actress's Hollywood agents.

She was also tasked with picking up two copies of any magazine that featured Heard and storing them in the garage to prevent Depp from seeing them. Heard went into a “blind rage” when the assistant failed to place the magazines in the garage, the court heard.

Regarding Heard and Depp's time together, the assistant said Heard was a “very dramatic person” who was deeply insecure in the relationship. Heard often called her to cry and complain about Depp, she said.

“I remember one time she called me when she was alone in New York City, and she was crying and walking around the streets," she told the court. "I was worried that the paparazzi might take a photo of her.”

Shawn Thew/AP
Actor Johnny DeppShawn Thew/AP

Johnny Depp invited assistant for a 'spot of purple'

Some of the deposition focused on a text message that Depp had sent to the assistant after he and Heard split up. Depp's text read: “Come over for a spot of purple and we'll fix her flabby ass nice and good.”

A lawyer asked if “spot of purple” meant wine and whether “her” meant Heard. The assistant said she didn't want to speculate.

“This is the way he writes,” she said of Depp. “It's very random and you don't sort of question it. ... He writes in a very abstract way.”

Lawyers also presented a video deposition from a couple’s therapist who worked with Heard and Depp in 2015, when they were ages 29 and 52, respectively.

The therapist said both suffered childhood abuse. As a couple, they were engaged in “mutual abuse," she testified.

Heard’s father beat her, the therapist said, adding, “It was a point of pride to her if she felt disrespected to initiate a fight.”

Heard would also rather be in a fight with Depp than see him leave, and “would strike him to keep him there.”

The therapist recalled a time when Heard told her that Depp “was ‘stepping up,’ as she would say, on a lot of drugs."

“And she slapped him because he was being incoherent and talking about being with another woman." She noted that Depp’s mother was in the hospital at the time.

The relationship therapist also said that in at least one session in which she saw Heard alone, the actress told her that Depp hit her. She said Heard showed her bruises, both in photos and in person.

At one point Heard told the therapist that Depp said, "No one likes you. You’re getting fame from me. I’m falling out of love with you. You’re a whore.”

Heard “wanted to want to divorce” but also didn't, and was still figuring out what to do, the therapist said. “She loved him. He loved her. She wasn’t stupid. She knew that what they were doing wasn’t healthy.”

Both Depp and Heard are expected to testify at the trial in Fairfax County Circuit Court, scheduled for six weeks, along with actors Paul Bettany and James Franco and tech entrepreneur Elon Musk.