Amber Heard addresses James Franco visit as Johnny Depp's lawyers wrap up cross-examination

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 Amber Heard stands in the courtroom at the Fairfax County Circuit Courthouse in Fairfax.
Amber Heard stands in the courtroom at the Fairfax County Circuit Courthouse in Fairfax.
Photo: Steve Helber/AFP
  • Lawyers for Johnny Depp wrapped up their grilling of his ex-wife Amber Heard on Tuesday.
  • Under cross-examination, the 36-year-old rejected the accusations that she was the one who instigated violence between the couple.
  • Judge Penney Azcarate has scheduled closing arguments in the case for 27 May, after which it will go to the jury.


Lawyers for Johnny Depp wrapped up their grilling of his ex-wife Amber Heard on Tuesday after seeking to portray her as the aggressor in their volatile relationship.

Under cross-examination, the 36-year-old Heard rejected the accusations that she was the one who instigated violence between the couple, who were married from 2015 to 2017.

"I never assaulted Mr. Depp or anyone else that I had been romantically linked to," Heard told the jury on Day 17 of the defamation case filed against her by her former husband.

The 58-year-old Pirates of the Caribbean star filed a suit against Heard over an op-ed she wrote for The Washington Post in December 2018 in which she described herself as a "public figure representing domestic abuse."

Heard, who had a starring role in Aquaman, did not name Depp in the op-ed, but he sued her for implying he was a domestic abuser and is seeking $50 million in damages.

The Texas-born Heard countersued, asking for $100 million and claiming she suffered "rampant physical violence and abuse" at his hands.

Depp, during his four days on the witness stand, denied ever striking Heard and claimed that she was the one who was frequently violent.

"Is it your testimony under oath that you never struck Mr. Depp as the initial aggressor?" Depp's lawyer Camille Vasquez asked Heard during cross-examination.

"I tried to defend myself when I could," Heard said. "But it was after years of not defending myself.

"There are many times I had to use my body to defend myself, and that included swinging wherever I could if it meant I could get away, absolutely," Heard said. "If it meant the difference between a sore face and a broken nose."

In one audio recording played for the jury, Heard acknowledged starting a physical fight with Depp on one occasion but insisted that she did not "punch" him.

"You're fine. I did not hurt you," she said in the recording. "You are such a baby."

'He knows he's lying'

Heard was also asked by Depp's lawyers about a report that she allegedly assaulted her then-girlfriend, Tasya van Ree, at a Seattle airport in 2009.

Heard denied ever doing so and said the accusation was part of a "smear" campaign by Depp's side.

Heard was also asked why she thought Depp, during the entire time she was on the witness stand, refused to look at her directly.

"Because he's guilty," she said. "He knows he's lying."

During her testimony, Heard said Depp would become a physically and sexually abusive "monster" when he was drinking.

She said filing for divorce against Depp in May 2016 was "the hardest thing I've ever had to do."

"It was hard because I loved Johnny so much," she said. "I loved him so much."

Heard said the same week she filed for divorce she sought a temporary restraining order following an argument during which Depp threw a mobile phone at her, hitting her in the face.

During Tuesday's cross-examination Heard confirmed her "close" friend James Franco was with her the night before she filed for divorce from Depp. 

Heard explained that she felt supported by Franco, whom she appeared in two movies with, amid her rocky, and allegedly violent, romance with Depp.

"He was my friend and he lived next door," she recalled. And I had, frankly, exhausted my support network with my usual friends. I was happy to welcome as much friendship at that time that I could possibly get."

Elevator surveillance footage, time-stamped 22 May 2016 around 23:00 was shared with the Virginia courtroom, showing Heard and Franco standing together as they made their way to her penthouse.

When Depp's attorney asked if she was aware her husband would be out of town that night, Heard said she was unsure of his schedule.

Judge Penney Azcarate has scheduled closing arguments in the case for 27 May, after which it will go to the jury.

Depp's lawyers have put experts on the stand who testified that he has lost millions because of the abuse accusations, including a $22.5-million payday for a sixth installment of Pirates.

Depp filed the defamation complaint in the United States after losing a separate libel case in London in November 2020 that he brought against The Sun for calling him a "wife-beater."

Depp, a three-time Oscar nominee, and Heard met in 2009 on the set of The Rum Diary and were married in February 2015. Their divorce was finalised two years later.

READ NEXT | Key moments in the Johnny Depp and Amber Heard defamation trial so far 


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