Johnny Depp Claims He Is a Victim of Domestic Abuse

Photo: Circuit Court of Fairfax County

At the conclusion of Johnny Depp’s testimony just before 3:30 p.m. on April 25, he doubled down on claims that he suffered domestic violence at the hands of his ex-wife Amber Heard. Depp’s attorney played an audio recording of him and Heard speaking several months after they split in May 2016. In it, she appears to belittle his concerns about violence between them. “What did you say in response when Ms. Heard said, ‘Tell the world, Johnny. Tell them, Johnny Depp. Tell them, “I, Johnny Depp, a man, a victim, too, of domestic violence”’?” his attorney asked. “I said, ‘Yes, I am,’” Depp replied in a somber voice. When Depp left the witness stand and sat down, he smiled. Two of Depp’s attorneys patted him on the back. Hours before Depp described himself as a victim, the third week of Depp’s defamation trial kicked off with more animated cross-examination, which have featured pop-culture references ranging from Disco Bloodbath to Monty Python. Heard’s lawyer, Ben Rottenborn, continued to fight Depp’s contention that he was the victim of domestic abuse. As he presented additional audio recordings and text messages to the jury that were rife with violent and graphic language, Depp’s patience increasingly appeared to fray. Depp is suing Heard for $50 million for defamation, and Heard is countersuing him for $100 million.

When asked about texts that described Heard “hitting the wall hard,” Depp replied sarcastically to Rottenborn’s questioning. “Hitting the wall hard, based on the conversation,” Depp started to respond. Rottenborn interrupted, and Depp responded, “I’m sorry, I was talking, is that all right?” At one point, Depp said to Rottenborn, “As long as you’re happy, sir.” When Rottenborn asked him to review another text, Depp said: “What am I looking [at], sir?” Rottenborn said, “On your screen, please.” Depp appeared to grin slightly and said, “I figured that out, thanks.” Depp asked where the text might be on the screen — would it be third from the bottom or third from the corner? “What would you like me to do?” Depp asked. In another exchange, he made the courtroom erupt with laughter, causing Judge Penny Azcarate to threaten their removal. After cross, Depp’s lawyers had the opportunity to question him again. At this time, Depp suddenly became a man of beguiling humility. “Mr. Depp, do you recognize this document?” his attorney asked. “As soon as my eyes go on, I hopefully will,” Depp replied, putting on his glasses, which appear to be for reading but have a violet tint.

Another memorable moment was when Depp spoke further about his text messages with actor Paul Bettany, whom he met while filming The Tourist. Depp maintains that the demeaning texts about Heard were taken out of context. Of the language he used, Depp said he was “ashamed that has to be spread on the world like peanut butter.” Texting with Bettany, Depp called to “burn” Heard; Depp insisted that they reflected the “kind of obtuse, abstract sense of humor” that the friends shared. “The text that is about burning Ms. Heard, it’s directly from Monty Python and the sketch about burning witches,” Depp claimed.

Johnny Depp Claims He Is a Victim of Domestic Abuse