Amber Heard told jurors on Thursday that a harassment campaign waged against her by ex-husband Johnny Depp has left her humiliated and scared for her life from multiple death threats, and said she just wants “Johnny to leave me alone.”
Heard was the final witness in the six-week libel trial Depp brought against his ex-wife. With cameras in the courtroom, millions of people have followed the trial, and interest seemed to gain momentum as the weeks went on and both Depp and Heard testified about the ugly details of their relationship.
Online and at the courthouse, Depp's fans have overwhelmingly dominated the narrative, with groupies lining up overnight to get one of the few spots in the courtroom and wave at Depp as he walks in and out. Heard has been booed by spectators on the street as she enters and leaves the courthouse.
“The harassment and the humiliation, the campaign against me that’s echoed every single day on social media, and now in front of cameras in the showroom — every single day I have to relive the trauma,” Heard said as she fought back tears. “Perhaps it's easy to forget I'm a human being.”
On cross-examination, Depp lawyer Camille Vasquez told Heard that “your lies have been exposed to the world" and questioned her about people who contradicted portions of her accounts.
“I know how many people will come out of the woodwork to be in support of Johnny,” Heard responded.
Depp is suing Heard for libel in Fairfax County Circuit Court over a December 2018 op-ed she wrote in The Washington Post describing herself as “a public figure representing domestic abuse.” His lawyers say he was defamed by the article even though it never mentioned his name.
Heard said she hopes the lawsuit will allow her to regain her voice, and said she had the “right as an American” to publish an article that described her experiences and how they relate to the national debate over domestic violence.
“Johnny has taken enough of my voice,” she said. “I have the right to tell my story.”
She said Depp has been fixated on revenge ever since she filed for divorce and obtained the restraining order against him. She referenced earlier testimony in which Depp texted Heard's disgruntled former personal assistant and urged her to “come over for a spot of purple and we’ll fix her flabby a— nice and good!!!”
“Johnny promised me — promised me — that he’d ruin my life, that he’d ruin my career. He’d take my life from me,” Heard said.
Depp has denied he ever struck Heard, and says she was the abuser in the relationship. Heard has testified about more than a dozen separate instances of physical abuse she says she suffered at Depp’s hands.
The final witness Thursday morning for Depp's side was a hand surgeon, Richard Gilbert, who said he thinks the injury that occurred to Depp's middle finger could have occurred as Depp describes it.
The tip of the finger was severed during a fight the couple had in Australia. Depp says it occurred when Heard threw a large vodka bottle at him. Heard says Depp did it to himself in a drug-fuelled rage on a night when he also sexually assaulted her with a liquor bottle.
Heard faced an intense cross-examination from Mr Depp’s lawyer Camille Vasquez, who began by asserting that the trial has been hard because her “lies have been exposed to the world multiple times, right?”
“I haven’t lied about anything I’ve been here to say,” Ms Heard replied.
Ms Vasquez asked about Ms Heard’s allegations about an incident with Mr Depp at the Hicksville trailer park in 2013, noting that her own witness Raquel ‘Rocky’ Pennington, a previously close friend, didn’t support her claim that Mr Depp grew jealous and grabbed a woman by the wrist.
The manager of the trailer park where they were staying at the time appeared in court on Monday. Ms Heard said she didn’t recognise the witness, claiming that he “wasn’t there” and that he wouldn’t know what took place in private. Ms Heard denied that she was the one who was jealous.
Ms Vasquez then pivoted to Ms Heard’s claim that she had “no idea” the press would be outside the court when she sought a restraining order against Mr Depp in May 2016.
“I said I did not have anything to do with it,” Ms Heard responded.
Ms Vasquez said Ms Heard wasn’t “shocked at all” when she met photographers when she left the courthouse because she was aware that they would be present.
Ms Heard rejected the allegation that she made entertainment site TMZ aware that she would be at the courthouse.
She was then asked about testimony from a former TMZ staffer who said on Wednesday that they had received a tip from a verified source. When it was suggested that it came from her team, Ms Heard pushed back.
“Absolutely not. Why would I want that? What survivor of domestic violence wants that?” she said.
Ms Vasquez then asked Ms Heard about a 2015 incident in which she said she punched Mr Depp in defence of her sister while thinking of him pushing his former partner Kate Moss down a set of stairs.
“You didn’t expect Ms Moss to agree to testify that that never happened, did you?” Ms Vasquez asked.
“Incorrect,” Ms Heard replied. “I know how many people would come out of the woodwork to be in support of Johnny.”
“So you’re saying Ms Moss needs to ‘come out of the woodwork’ to testify for Mr Depp?” Ms Vasquez asked.
Ms Heard said everyone who was “around in the ‘90s and ‘00s” had heard the same rumour concerning Ms Moss and Mr Depp.
“Of course that’s what flashed through my head when my violent husband not only swung for me but also swung for my sister,” Ms Heard said.
She added that Ms Moss’ testimony in support of Mr Depp “doesn’t change what I believed at the time when we were on the stairs and I thought he was going to kill my sister”.
Jurors will hear closing arguments on Friday.