Photo: STEVE HELBER/POOL/AFP via Getty Images
Shortly before 4 p.m. on May 16, Johnny Depp’s attorney began questioning Amber Heard in his defamation lawsuit against her. One of the actor’s lawyers, Camille Vasquez, opened the crotch with a fast-moving volley. “Mr. Depp didn’t look at you once the entire trial, did he?” asked Vasquez. “Not that I noticed,” Heard replied. “You’ve watched him often, haven’t you?” prodded Vasquez. “Yeah, I have,” Heard said. Vasquez insisted, “You know exactly why Mr. Depp isn’t looking after you, don’t you?” Heard said, “I do.” “He promised you he’d never see his eyes again, didn’t he?” “I don’t remember if he said that,” Heard said in a soft whisper.
Vasquez then played a recording of when Heard and Depp met in a San Francisco hotel in July 2016, where he can be heard saying, “You won’t see my eyes again.” Vasquez asked, “And he kept that promise, didn’t he?” “As far as I know, he can’t look at me,” Heard replied. ‘He won’t look at you. Is that right, Mrs. Heard?’ asked Vasquez. “He can’t,” Heard replied. This discussion about whether Depp had promised to avoid Heard’s eyes set the stage for an inevitably protracted battle over the reliability of her memory and overall credibility.
Vasquez pressed Heard about the infamous photo — of what appears to be cocaine lines on a table next to a box that reads “Property of JD” — brought up at trial as evidence of his drug use. Vasquez tried to undermine that drug use by showing that drugs were still present. “There are four lines on this table, right? There’s no cocaine residue around those lines, right?” asked Vasquez. “Not that I can say,” Heard replied. Vasquez said that “it doesn’t really look like someone took cocaine off that table, does it?”
“With all due respect, I’m not sure you know how that works,” Heard said in an almost incredulous tone. “You do? Have you testified to using cocaine?” Vasquez fired back. “I have,” Heard said soberly. “It doesn’t really look like Mr. Depp or anyone else was taking cocaine off that table, right?” Vasquez examined. “Um, I don’t agree with you on that,” Heard replied. “When you snort cocaine, it usually goes up your nose. It doesn’t stay on the table.” She also claimed that the tampon applicator present next to a credit card in the photo was a “device that I believe my sister taught him to use to put the cocaine up your nose.”
Vasquez asked if Heard had photos of Depp “actually consuming cocaine”, noting that Heard regularly took photos of Depp in various states of alleged intoxication. “I don’t think I have a picture of him snoring,” Heard replied. Vasquez also disputed Heard’s claim that she believed Depp broke her nose after the 2014 Met Gala, asking, “You haven’t taken any photos or even medical records that reflect a broken nose?” Confronted by Heard with photos of her and comedic Don Rickles taken the following evening, Vasquez insisted that her “nose does not appear to be injured in any of these photos.” “That’s why I wear makeup,” Heard replied clearly. Cross continues on Tuesday.
Prior to Vasquez’s cross-examination, Heard’s lawyer tried to pre-empt what would happen during the interrogation — question after question about possible inconsistencies in statements about Depp’s alleged abuse. Heard immediately responded to claims that her allegations were a “hoax” and discussed the timeline of her alleged abuse by Depp. In the morning, Elaine Bredehoft, Heard’s lead attorney, started with a potentially important point of contention: when the first case of alleged abuse occurred. Heard previously said that Depp first hit her in 2013, after she asked him about a Winona Ryder tattoo on his arm that reads “Wino Forever.” Heard recalled, “I just laughed because I thought he was kidding…and he punched me in the face.” On Monday, Heard said the alleged incident actually happened in 2012, the same year they started dating. Heard, dressed in a muted gray top, wept at multiple points during her testimony. At one point, when Heard laid out Depp’s alleged self-harming behavior, he seemed to chuckle as he whispered to his lawyer.
“How come you think you got the date wrong?” asked Bredehoft. “I am ashamed to say that I think I would have liked to believe that the period in which I [fell] in love with Johnny… and he wasn’t violent towards me, lasted a lot longer than it did,” Heard said. “I think I would have liked to believe that I wasn’t hit so early in the relationship and still stayed.” Bredehoft also asked Heard about her testimony that the police were called before the May 2016 incident in which Depp allegedly threw a phone at her. Police were called in December 2011, in 2012 and “by a landlord” in 2013, Heard said. When Heard was given a protective order against Depp after the alleged phone incident, she only mentioned a few alleged attacks. Bredehoft asked Heard why she had not mentioned all the alleged abuses. “I followed my counsel’s advice,” she said.
Bredehoft also sought to address any cross-examination questions that might portray some of Heard’s statements as opportunistically novel, tailor-made for this process. Heard testified that 17 cases of alleged abuse emerged in Depp’s UK defamation trial against… The sun newspaper. (Depp filed suit over a 2018 article that called him a “wife beater” and lost, with the court finding the wording “substantially true”.) Heard noted that she was not a party to the case, just a witness. . “When was the first time you were asked to provide a detailed account, of as many times as you can remember, of physical and sexual abuse by Mr. Depp?” asked Bredehoft. “A few months ago, February, in 2022,” Heard said.
“How come you didn’t remember all those events like this?” Bredehoft continued. “Your memory or my memory doesn’t work that way,” Heard said. “As anyone can imagine, there was a lot going on, and unfortunately the violence became almost normal, especially towards the end.”
Heard also described an alleged fight after her 30th birthday party on April 21, 2016, over Depp’s late arrival. Depp threw a large champagne bottle at her at their house and threw her phone out the window, Heard said. At one point, Depp grabbed her pubic bone. “He just pushed me down and held on to it,” Heard said. Depp is said to have taunted her: “You’re such a goddamn tough guy.” As Heard recounted this alleged incident, Depp appeared to be putting chewing gum or candy in his mouth. Heard’s lawyers showed photos of Heard with what appeared to be a hefty red bruise on her face after the alleged phone incident.
Heard clarified details around the 2018 Washington After Depp’s op-ed is suing her, which appeared online with the headline “I spoke out against sexual assault – and faced the wrath of our culture. That has to change.”
She said the article was not about her ex-husband and his alleged behavior. It was about her and what happened to her after their relationship ended. Heard said she had nothing to do with the headline and thought she first found it in connection with the lawsuit.
“The only one who thought it was about Johnny was Johnny,” Heard said. “It was about me. It’s about what happened to me after Johnny. It’s about what happened to me after I escaped my marriage. It’s about me, and my life and what I’ve been through.” Heard claimed she lost work — and much worse — following her estrangement from Depp and the restraining order. “I was harassed and harassed daily, death threats…” Heard said. Hollywood decision-makers, Heard said, were “so excited to support him.”
Heard was also asked about her counterclaim against Depp. One of his attorneys, Adam Waldman, previously called Heard’s allegations a “hoax” in an April 2020 news article — which defamed her, she claimed. “Is this a true or a false statement?” asked Bredehoft. “And why is it false?” “To say it’s a ‘hoax’, that these aren’t even real things, I mean, after all I’ve been through and survived,” Heard said, “I hadn’t even talked about the sexual abuse of my marriage. I didn’t, I never wanted to talk about that.”
This post has been updated†