Testimony from Johnny Depp and Amber Heard’s contentious 2016 divorce has been unearthed due to the actor’s lawsuit against U.K. tabloid the Sun — and the 471-page deposition transcript sheds more light on the startling claims of abuse made by each star.
“Johnny and I refer to his other personality, the part of him that is present when he beats me up — we call that the monster and have called [that] the monster for many years,” Heard stated during an Aug. 13, 2016, deposition, according to documents obtained by the Hollywood Reporter.
“I was petrified of the monster,” Heard added. (Depp has denied allegations of domestic abuse.)
The Aquaman star, 32, and Depp, 55, have different accounts of what happened on May 21, 2016. In the transcripts, Heard claims the actor threw her phone at her “as hard as he could” and it hit her in the face. She also declares that he grabbed her by the hair and she screamed for help and that he “broke a lot of glass things that left glass on the floor.”
Depp claims he was abused prior to the May incident and that Heard punched him in the face twice on April 21, 2016, after he was late to her birthday dinner. As for the alleged altercation one month later, Depp says he had two security guards with him when he arrived at their penthouse because he “was concerned about what Ms. Heard might do.” The Fantastic Beasts actor states that he tossed the phone on the sofa and it didn’t hit Heard. He says he didn’t touch her, either. He claims to have left after Heard started yelling at him and crying, so any damaged items on the floor were not caused by him and that “hardcopy photographs were put in evidence, but neither the original images nor the associated metadata were produced.”
When Heard was asked by Depp’s lawyer whether she had ever struck, slapped or thrown an object at the actor, she replied that she “did her best” to defend herself against her stronger husband.
The documents also contain depositions from the LAPD officers who responded to the 911 call at the penthouse that night. One officer said that Heard, who refused to give her name, was crying and the officer did not see any marks, bruises, swelling or signs of injury on her face. The officer says she saw no signs of shattered glass or broken items. The officer saw no probable cause to believe a crime had been committed. A second officer shared similar testimony. Heard testified that she declined to give a statement to the officers at the advice of her lawyer.
Depp is suing the Sun for defamation over an April 2018 story titled “How can J.K. Rowling be ‘genuinely happy’ casting wife-beater Johnny Depp in the new Fantastic Beasts film?”
Legal standards in defamation cases in the U.K. are different than the U.S. In the U.S., the person suing for defamation must prove that what was said concerning him or her was false, while in the U.K., the statement is generally presumed false unless the defendant can prove it was true. The Sun will need to disprove Depp’s claims of what happened on May 21, 2016. Depp’s lawyer told the Hollywood Reporter in October that their legal team has evidence Heard “severely injured” the actor and “faked” abuse allegations. Heard claims this is false and defamatory.
According to the Hollywood Reporter, Heard was asked to testify in the proceeding, but a source says Depp’s legal team will not allow it or she will be in violation of their nondisclosure agreement (NDA). However, Depp’s camp insists she’ll be allowed to testify if the Sun calls her.
Both Depp and Heard signed an NDA as part of their divorce settlement and agreed not to discuss their marriage or make derogatory statements about each other. That hasn’t worked out well. In an interview with GQ published in October, Depp blasted Heard and her assault claims. Heard has also continued to speak out as a survivor of domestic violence, although she has tiptoed around ever naming her ex-husband.
In an arbitration demand, Heard claims Depp violated their agreement last year and believes she’s entitled to punitive damages. “Mr. Depp’s ongoing defamation and violation of the parties’ confidentiality agreement is already the subject of a pending arbitration,” her lawyer tells the Hollywood Reporter. “We won’t dignify his comments with any further response.”
Depp’s lawyer claims Heard withdrew her arbitration complaint and suggests that if she “would like to go to court … we will see her there.”
A hearing for Depp’s lawsuit against the Sun is set for Feb. 22.
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