Aquaman actor Amber Heard delivered the final testimony in the multimillion-dollar defamation battle with ex-husband Johnny Depp on Thursday (May 26), telling jurors she has faced daily harassment and death threats since she accused the Hollywood star of abuse.
Depp, 58, sued Heard in Virginia for US$50 million and argued that she defamed him when she called herself “a public figure representing domestic abuse”.
Heard, 36, has countersued for US$100 million, saying Depp smeared her when his lawyer called her accusations a “hoax”.
The duelling claims are expected to go to the jury on Friday after each side offers closing arguments.
Heard wrapped up her testimony on Thursday saying she has been “harassed, humiliated, threatened” on social media since accusing the Pirates Of The Caribbean star of physical and sexual abuse.
“People want to kill me and they tell me so every day,” Heard said. “People want to put my baby in the microwave.” Heard adopted a baby girl in July 2021.
Johnny Depp, back on stand, calls Amber Heard abuse claims ‘cruel and false’
Key moments in the Johnny Depp and Amber Heard defamation trial
She said the ongoing harassment was part of Depp’s crusade to publicly humiliate her.
Depp admitted to writing in a 2016 text that Heard was “begging for total global humiliation” and “she’s gonna get it”. He said it was written in anger when he learned she was alleging that he physically abused her.
“He wanted to ruin my career,” Heard told the jury. “The threats he made to humiliate me, globally, are being lived out in real time, in front of you … and the whole world.” Depp has denied hitting Heard or any woman and said she was the one who turned violent in their relationship. The pair met in 2011 while filming The Rum Diary and wed in February 2015. Their divorce was finalised about two years later.
“No human being is perfect,” Depp said on Wednesday. “But I have never in my life committed sexual battery, physical abuse.”
Amber Heard almost lost role in Aquaman 2 due to lack of chemistry with Jason Momoa
Over six weeks of proceedings, jurors have listened to explicit recordings of fights between the former couple, seen graphic photos of a bloody severed finger and heard arguments about faeces found in the couple’s bed.
Depp said Heard threw a vodka bottle that cut off the top of his finger during an argument in 2015. Heard denied injuring Depp’s finger and said Depp sexually assaulted her that night with a liquor bottle.
He also said he believed Heard or a friend left faeces in the bed the morning after a fight. Heard said the faeces likely came from one of their dogs.
At the centre of the legal case is a December 2018 opinion piece by Heard in the Washington Post. The article never mentioned Depp by name, but his lawyer told jurors it was clear that Heard was referring to him.
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 her opinion was protected free speech under the US Constitution’s First Amendment. They said she also lost work opportunities in Hollywood because of Depp’s accusations.
“Johnny has taken enough of my voice,” Heard told the jury. “I have the right to tell my story.”
Depp lost a libel case less than two years ago against the Sun, a British tabloid that labelled him a “wife beater”. A London High Court judge ruled that he had repeatedly assaulted Heard.
Depp’s lawyers filed the US case in Fairfax County, Virginia, because the Washington Post is printed there. The newspaper is not a defendant.