Three hours – that’s how long it took Johnny Depp to testify about his volatile two-year marriage to actress Amber Heard. The 58-year-old is suing the Aquaman actress over a 2018 essay she wrote in The Washington Post about her experiences with domestic abuse.
Although the article never mentions Johnny by name, his attorneys say it indirectly refers to allegations Amber (35) made against him during their 2016 divorce. He’s now seeking $50 million (R762 150 000) in damages, but the case is about more than just money for the Pirates of the Caribbean star.
“My goal is the truth,” Johnny told the court, adding that Amber’s allegations turned him into a perceived monster overnight. “One day you’re Cinderella and then in zero point six seconds you’re Quasimodo. I didn’t deserve that and neither did my children.”
We look at some of the revelations he made in court
THE SEVERED FINGER
An explosive fight broke out between the couple in March 2015 while they were in Australia for work. Johnny claims Amber threw a bottle at him that went past his head. Then she hurled a second, bigger bottle of booze his way, which hit his hand.
“Blood was pouring out,” he told the jury, holding up his hand in court to show his “funny-looking finger”. The glass, he claims, mangled his right middle finger.
He admitted he used his blood to write on the walls, adding that he wasn’t in a good mental state. “I don’t know what a nervous breakdown feels like, but that’s probably the closest that I’ve ever been. Nothing made sense.”
At the time, he blamed the injury on getting his finger caught in large accordion doors instead of telling the truth because he “didn’t want to get Amber in trouble,” he says.
The actor recalled discovering “human faecal matter” on his bedsheet after arriving at home one night in 2016. Johnny had packed his bags and left the home he shared with Amber after they got into a heated argument over his late arrival to her 30th birthday party.
When Amber was out at the Coachella Music Festival that night, Johnny returned to fetch a few of his things. But when he arrived his security guard Sean Bett warned him against going into the bedroom.
Bett then showed Johnny a picture of their bed. “On my side of the bed was human faecal matter,” he told the court. “I laughed. It was so outside. It was so bizarre and so grotesque that I could only laugh.”
Amber blamed it on her teacup Yorkshire terriers but Johnny doesn’t believe her. “The dogs are teacup Yorkies, they weigh about 4lbs (1,8kg) each,” he says.
“The photograph I saw. . . that did not come from a dog. It just didn’t.”
BEGGING FOR HIS MEDS
After a long history with drug abuse, Johnny’s private doctor suggested he complete a detox programme in the Bahamas in 2014. Amber joined him on the trip to the islands so that she could support him during the night, when medical experts weren’t available.
At one point she allegedly refused to give him meds that would help ease his withdrawal symptoms. “That was the lowest I’d ever felt as a human being because I had to say, ‘Please. Please may I have the meds because it’s really kicking in,’” he says.
The Charlie and the Chocolate Factory star says he sat on the floor with tears streaming down his face, begging her to help him but “she was adamant, ‘it’s not time,’” he says.
He eventually took a scalding hot shower to trick his body into dealing with that pain, rather than the agony of his withdrawal symptoms.
NOT A MANIAC
The actor’s history with substance abuse stems from childhood. Johnny told the court he started abusing substances as a means to cope with the physical and verbal abuse he suffered as a child at the hands of his late mother, Betty Sue Palmer.
His mom was “cruel” and “violent” and he began drinking her nerve pills at age 14 to “escape feeling so much”, he says. He got hooked on an opiate that was prescribed to him after injuring himself on the set of the fourth Pirates of the Caribbean film.
However, he claims he never became out of control while under the influence and accused Amber of using his history with substance abuse against him.
“Once you’ve trusted somebody for a certain amount of years and you’ve told them all the secrets of your life, that information then, of course, can be used against you,” he says.
“I am not some maniac who needs to be high or loaded all the time.”
APOLOGISING FOR HIS “DARK HUMOUR”
It’s no secret Johnny called Amber a “c**t” and once told a friend he hoped her “rotting corpse was decomposing in the f*****g trunk of a Honda Civic.”
He also told friend Isaac Baruch in a 2016 text: “That c**t ruined such a cool life we had for a while.”
Now the actor says he’s ashamed of some of the references he made.
“I’m embarrassed that at the time, the heat of the moment, the heat of the pain that I was feeling, went to dark places. Pain has to be dealt with humour. Sometimes dark, very dark humour.”