Johnny Depp Performs at Concert in England as He Awaits Verdict in Amber Heard Defamation Trial
Johnny Depp performed at an overseas rock concert over the weekend after closing arguments for his defamation case against ex-wife Amber Heard were made Friday in the Virginia courtroom.
The 58-year-old star made a surprise appearance Sunday night at Sheffield City Hall in England, going onstage to play guitar with Jeff Beck. Beck, 77, who has his next U.K. tour stops set for London's Royal Albert Hall on Monday and Tuesday, released the song "Isolation" with Depp back in April 2020 as a take on the John Lennon song.
On Beck's website, Depp is referred to as the rock star's "unexpected co-conspirator," adding that the pair had "been working on music together for a while now." Beck added at the time, "You'll be hearing more from Johnny and me in a little while but until then we hope you find some comfort and solidarity in our take on this Lennon classic."
A seven-person jury began deliberating on Friday in Depp's ongoing trial against Heard, 36, in Fairfax County, Virginia. He's suing the Aquaman actress for defamation over a December 2018 op-ed she wrote about coming forward with domestic abuse claims. He's seeking $50 million in damages, claiming it stifled his career prospects.
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Heard is countersuing for defamation, claiming that public statements made by Depp's lawyer Adam Waldman that called her allegations "fake" and an "abuse hoax" ruined her reputation and halted her career.
About the $100 million in damages Heard is seeking, her lawyer Elaine Bredehoft said in closing arguments that they arrived at that number, double of Depp's damages, to send "a message back." She explained to the jury, "We're not asking you to give $100 million. We're asking you to just look at the damages in this case and just be fair and reasonable in whatever you determine."
Earlier in his testimony, Depp discussed his music career and playing guitar, plus how becoming a musician was always his first ambition. He is part of the band Hollywood Vampires with rockers Alice Cooper and Joe Perry.
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He spoke about his passion for guitar-playing while arguing why he wouldn't have severed his finger himself during an alleged 2015 fight with Heard in Australia. (He says she threw a liquor bottle at him which cut off the tip of his finger, which she denied.)
"Why would I ruin the only thing that was really good in my life aside from my children?" the father of two said about his injured finger impacting his music. "When this finger went, the tip of this finger went, the only thing I could think in my mind was thank God it wasn't the left hand, which is the fret hand. ... If I would have lost a finger from [my left hand] I would've had to learn how to play the guitar all over again."
In his last time back on the witness stand last week, Depp categorically denied Heard's "insane" allegations, saying, "No human being is perfect, certainly not. None of us. But I have never in my life committed sexual battery, physical abuse, all these outlandish, outrageous stories of me committing these things and living with it for six years and waiting to be able to bring the truth out."
"This is not easy for any of us; I know that," he added, also saying, "I don't think anyone enjoys having to split themselves open and tell the truth."
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Then, when Heard returned to speak under oath one last time, she described the live-televised trial gaining global attention as "torture" for her and explained she receives hundreds of death threats a day.
"I am harassed, humiliated, threatened every single day. Even just walking into this courtroom, sitting here in front of the world, having the worst parts of my life, things that I've lived through, used to humiliate me. People want to kill me, and they tell me so every day. People want to put my baby in the microwave, and they tell me that," said Heard, who welcomed her first baby in April 2021. "Johnny threatened — promised me — that if I ever left him, he'd make me think of him every single day that I lived."
Heard, who has admitted to responding with violence and verbal abuse toward Depp in their relationship, added: "I'm not a saint. I'm not trying to present myself as one, as you all know."
"It's been agonizing," she said, referencing the online "mocking" of her testimony. "I just want Johnny to leave me alone." She added, "I don't deserve this. I want to move on."
The jury resumes deliberation on Tuesday after the Memorial Day holiday. When the verdict comes through, it'll be 18 months since Depp lost his U.K. libel case. Back in November 2020, the actor lost the highly publicized libel lawsuit case in London 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, his attempt to overturn the decision was overruled.