This content is not available in your region

Johnny Depp libel trial: ex-wife had "a need for violence" court told

Actor Johnny Depp testifies during a hearing in the courtroom at the Fairfax County Circuit Court in Fairfax, Va., Wednesday, April 20, 2022.
Actor Johnny Depp testifies during a hearing in the courtroom at the Fairfax County Circuit Court in Fairfax, Va., Wednesday, April 20, 2022.   -   Copyright  AP Photo
By Euronews  with AP

Hollywood A-lister Johnny Depp has been back on the witness stand this Wednesday, giving testimony in his libel lawsuit against his ex-wife Amber Heard, who Depp says berated and attacked him constantly during their short-lived marriage.

Heard had a "need for conflict, a need for violence" that "erupts out of nowhere," Depp told the jurors in Fairfax County Circuit Court during his second day of testimony. "And the only thing I learned to do with it is exactly what I did as a child: Retreat."

Heard has accused Depp of physically and sexually assaulting her on multiple occasions. Depp has not yet addressed those accusations in detail, beyond dismissing them on Tuesday as false and heinous.

Most of Depp's day one testimony focused on his descriptions of a difficult childhood, his rise to fame as an actor after an aborted music career and his early relationship with Heard after meeting her on the 2011 film "The Rum Diary." The two married in 2015 and she filed for divorce a year later.

Taking the stand for a second day, Depp said things began to change in his marriage when he felt that he "was suddenly just wrong about everything" in Heard's eyes.

Depp said that Heard made little digs at him to demean him. The insults escalated into full-fledged circular arguments from which there was "no way in or out," Depp said.

"It was sort of a rapid fire, sort of endless parade of insults," Depp said.

He added: "Ms. Heard was unable to be wrong. It just didn't happen. She couldn't be wrong."

He said he was constantly being told about how wrong he was about various aspects of his life, including his 30-year acting career.

"I was sort of not allowed to be right," he said. "Not allowed to have a voice."

Evelyn Hockstein/AP
Actress Amber Heard listens in the courtroom at the Fairfax County Circuit Court in Fairfax, Va., Wednesday, April 20, 2022Evelyn Hockstein/AP

Details of violent relationship

Depp told the court that after the arguments, violence would often ensue, sometimes with a slap or a shove from Heard — or his wife throwing a television remote control or a glass of wine in his face, Depp said.

"There were times when I would just go and lock myself in the bathroom or a place where she couldn't get to," Depp said.

"Why did I stay? I stayed I suppose because my father stayed (with my mother) … I didn't want to fail," Depp said. "I wanted to try to make it work. I thought maybe I could help her. I thought maybe I could bring her around."

Depp sued Heard after she wrote a 2018 op-ed piece in The Washington Post in which she referred to herself as a "public figure representing domestic abuse."

She never mentioned Depp by name, but Depp and his lawyers said it was a clear reference to accusations Heard made in 2016 when the couple divorced and she sought a restraining order against him.

Depp said the accusations and the article contributed to an unfairly ruined reputation that made him a Hollywood pariah and cost him his role in the lucrative "Pirates of the Caribbean" movie franchise.

Heard's lawyers say the article is accurate and does not defame him. They say Depp's ruined reputation is the result of his own bad behaviour, including drug and alcohol abuse.

On the stand Tuesday, Depp called the accusations of drug addiction "grossly embellished," though he acknowledged trying every drug known to man and that he started abusing medication at age 11 when he snuck his mother's "nerve pills."

His testimony on Tuesday featured long, stream-of-consciousness responses to his lawyer's questions, often wandering well beyond what he was asked.