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STEVE HELBER/POOL/AFP via Getty; EVELYN HOCKSTEIN/POOL/AFP via Getty Johnny Depp; Amber Heard
Starling Jenkins III — an executive chauffer and security guard for Depp who first met the actor in 1993, and has since provided services ranging from childcare, animal care and personal-assistant duties to security and transportation — testified in court Thursday as Depp, 58, and Heard, 36, continue to face off in the defamation trial that kicked off April 11.
Speaking from a live video call to the court in Fairfax, Virginia, Jenkins recalled accompanying the Aquaman actress to Coachella in 2016. While driving Heard to the festival one night, Jenkins says they "had a conversation pertaining to the surprise she left in the boss's bed" following a fight she and Depp allegedly had before she departed for the trip with friends.
Clarifying that the "surprise" was "the defecation," Jenkins testified that Heard told him it was "a horrible practical joke gone wrong."
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JIM LO SCALZO/POOL/AFP via Getty; JIM WATSON/POOL/AFP via Getty Johnny Depp; Amber Heard
On the stand Wednesday, Depp said he was "shown a picture of" the bed incident, which allegedly took place after he and his then-wife had an argument during her 30th birthday party, before she headed to Coachella.
"I had gone to Mr. [security guard Sean] Bett and said, 'She's at Coachella. I think it's a good time to go downtown so that I can get some of my things and get them out of there,' especially things that were precious to me," the Edward Scissorhands star recalled. "And he said, 'I don't think now's a good time to go.' And I thought, 'It's the perfect time. She's not going to be home for two days.' "
"Then he showed me a photograph on his telephone of … it was a photograph of our bed, and on my side of the bed, was human fecal matter," Depp testified.
The actor said of his initial response, "I mean ... I laughed. It was so outside. It was so bizarre and so grotesque that I could only laugh. So I did not go down there that day."
According to Depp, Heard "tried to blame" the feces "on the dogs," adding, "They're teacup Yorkies. They weigh about 4 pounds each. The photograph that I saw — I lived with those dogs for many years. It was not the dogs."
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Heard and Depp met while making 2011's The Rum Diary and later wed in February 2015. They broke up in May 2016, when Heard sought a domestic violence restraining order against Depp, accusing him of abusing her.
The Pirates of the Caribbean actor has testified that his "goal is the truth" as he seeks to clear his name in the trial, which is being televised live via various outlets. Ahead of the trial, Heard — who welcomed her first baby, daughter Oonagh, in April 2021 — said in a statement that "hopefully when this case concludes, I can move on and so can Johnny. I have always maintained a love for Johnny and it brings me great pain to have to live out the details of our past life together in front of the world."
During opening statements, Heard's attorney Ben Rottenborn said evidence will show she suffered domestic abuse by Depp that "took many forms," including physical, emotional, verbal and psychological, as well as "sexual violence at the hands of Depp." A spokesperson for Depp denies the allegations, calling them "fictitious." Heard has not yet taken the stand.
Back in November 2020, Depp lost his highly publicized U.K. libel lawsuit case against British tabloid The Sun for calling him a "wife-beater." The court upheld the outlet's claims as being "substantially true" and Heard testified to back up the claims. In March 2021, Depp's attempt to overturn the decision was overruled.