As Amber Heard’s cross-examination entered its second and final day on May 17, one of Johnny Depp’s lawyers confronted the actress with excerpts from a journal of “love notes” she had kept during months of Depp’s alleged abuse, including one describing a desire to “devour” him. Depp’s attorney Camille Vasquez presented the journal to try to undermine Heard’s claims that Depp had hurt her — and to cast her as a woman who cycled between moments of extreme affection and violent outbursts. Depp is claiming at trial that Heard defamed him by alleging abuse, so Vasquez is attempting to show that Heard’s behavior conflicted with the actions of a person suffering abuse — and reframe testimony to support Depp’s thesis that he was abused by his ex.
Vasquez showed jurors pages from a shared journal that Heard and Depp kept, in which they exchanged elaborate notes with each other. Heard’s first note to Depp in this journal was dated May 22, 2015 — about two months after he allegedly sexually assaulted her in Australia. Heard and Depp used the pet names Slim and Steve, respectively.
“This first message to Mr. Depp in your journal, you wrote, ‘True love isn’t just about the madness of passion or instead picking the safety of peace. No, it’s about having both, falling madly in love with your friend,’” Vasquez read. “’That is what has surprised me, perhaps the most. That I have seen in you the true bones of friendship and respect, but of course I still, perhaps more than ever, want to rip you apart, devour you and savor the taste.’” The note was signed, “Fret not, XX, Slim.”
“Yes, it’s a love note,” Heard said. “Did I read that correctly?” Vasquez pressed. “Yes, you did,” Heard said. Vasquez then questioned Heard about a note she wrote to Depp on April 8, 2016. Heard would later claim Depp abused her on April 21 of that year, her 30th birthday.
“On the second page of this note, you wrote the following: ‘I’m sorry I can get crazy. I’m sorry I hurt you. Like you, I can get wicked when I’m hurt. When I get provoked, shattered, and last night I was,’” Vasquez read. “‘I’m so sorry for my part. None of this is meant to be an excuse for hurting you. Because the truth is, nothing is, there is never a reason good enough to hurt you. You are the last thing in the whole world who deserves it, last person I ever meant to hurt. I love you, Steve. I am forever yours, Slim.’”
“Did I read that correctly?” Vasquez asked. “That’s correct,” Heard replied. Heard testified that she “didn’t seek treatment” after the alleged March 2015. Vasquez focused her efforts on reframing Heard’s testimony to claim she mistreated Depp, not the other way around, and the attorney brought up her relationship with James Franco. Heard had claimed that Depp’s irrational jealousy over Franco led to violence, previously testifying about an alleged incident on a May 2014 flight. “He was mad at me for taking on a job with James Franco. He hated, hated James Franco and was already accusing me of kind of secretly having a thing with him in the past since we had done Pineapple Express together,” Heard previously testified. On that Boston–to–Los Angeles flight, Depp demanded answers from Heard about “romantic” scenes with Franco. Heard alleged that Depp kicked her.
Vasquez asked Heard about Franco visiting her at the home she once shared with Depp the day after he allegedly threw a phone at her in late May. Heard filed for divorce on May 23, 2016, and received a protective order from Depp on May 27, 2016. Heard previously said that she sought a protective order so she could change the locks for her safety. “You felt comfortable having James Franco over the evening of May 22, 2016, Ms. Heard?” Vasquez asked. “I do not know when James came over,” she responded.
Vasquez then confronted Heard with elevator-surveillance video of her and Franco going up to the apartment that was timestamped around 11 p.m. on May 22, 2016. Heard stands close to Franco in the corner, and at one point he appears to rest his head on her shoulder.
“That’s you and Mr. Franco on May 22, 2016, right, Ms. Heard?” Vasquez pressed. “That’s correct,” she said. “You’re taking him up to the penthouse, aren’t you?” Heard responded in the affirmative. “You knew that Mr. Depp was out of town the week of May 21, 2016, didn’t you?” Heard said that she didn’t know Depp’s schedule. Depp’s attorneys have repeatedly pointed out that he had left Los Angeles after the alleged phone incident. By questioning on this matter, Depp’s team is trying to undermine her claims that she was in imminent danger and needed a protective order.
Cross-examination ended shortly after 2:30 p.m. Heard’s attorney, Elaine Bredehoft, questioned her on redirect and asked about the Franco video. “What did Mr. Franco do on the elevator before laying his head on your shoulder?” Bredehoft asked. “He touched the side of my face, and responded to what he saw.” Heard’s testimony wrapped around 3:15 p.m.