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Amber Heard’s sit-down with NBC News’ Savannah Guthrie aired on Tuesday and Wednesday’s Today show, and in Heard’s first interview since the verdict in her defamation trial against Johnny Depp, the actress stood by her testimony and spoke about the emotional toll of the trial.
“To my dying day [I] will stand by every word of my testimony,” she said in the interview. Later she added, “I spoke [truth] to power, and I paid the price.”
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When speaking about the vocal Depp fandom throughout the six-week trial, Heard told Guthrie, “This was the most humiliating and horrible thing I’ve ever been through. I have never felt more removed from my own humanity. I felt less than human.”
On June 1, a Virginia jury awarded Depp $15 million in his suit against Heard, ruling in his favor on all three claims that he was defamed when Heard wrote an op-ed in The Washington Post in which she called herself a domestic abuse survivor. He was also mostly vindicated of allegations that he defamed Heard by calling her accusations a hoax. Heard won one of her three claims that a statement from Depp’s lawyer was defamatory.
Speaking now two weeks after the verdict, Heard called the jury’s decision “surreal and difficult,” and said the trial is an example of the social media era running amok. “The jury is not immune to that,” she said of it being “impossible” for an unsequestered Virginia jury to avoid seeing how the widely covered trial played out online. “Even if you think that I’m lying, you still couldn’t look me in the eye and tell me that you think on social media there’s been a fair representation.”
In the U.K., Depp lost a similar defamation suit against The Sun. When asked about the U.S. trial playing out differently, Heard said Depp’s lawyers “did certainly a better job of distracting the jury from the real issues.”
As The Hollywood Reporter’s legal writer Winston Cho wrote, the U.S. verdict “suggests that jurors rejected Heard’s central theory of the case: that if there was even one instance of abuse, she should win because her statements would then be true.” The jury was swayed, he notes, by Depp’s arguments that Heard faked her injuries, which she documented with photographs and audio recordings, to boost her career by claiming her #MeToo moment.
“I never had to instigate it, I responded to it,” she told Guthrie of the abuse claims. “When you’re living in violence and it becomes normal, as I testified to, you have to adapt.”
Guthrie cited the audio recordings that were played during the trial. “I am looking at a transcript that says — he says, ‘You start physical fights,’ And you say, ‘I did start a physical fight. I can’t promise you I won’t get physical again,'” read Guthrie.
Heard said the excerpted clips are not representative of the entirety of the conversation. “When your life is at risk, not only will you take the blame for things that you shouldn’t take the blame for, but when you’re in an abusive dynamic psychologically, emotionally and physically, you don’t have the resources that say, you or I do, of saying, ‘This is black and white,’ because it’s anything but when you’re living in it.”
Citing Depp saying he “never” hit Heard, Guthrie asked, “Is that a lie?” Heard responded, “Yes, it is.”
Heard also admitted to Guthrie that she has “so much regret” and summed up her and Depp’s relationship as being a toxic one. “It was ugly. And could be very beautiful,” she said. “We were awful to each other. I made a lot of, a lot of mistakes, a lot of mistakes. But I’ve always told the truth.”
After the verdict, which Heard’s lawyer says they plan to appeal, Heard had said in a statement, “The disappointment I feel today is beyond words. I’m heartbroken that the mountain of evidence still was not enough to stand up to the disproportionate power, influence and sway of my ex-husband.”
In his statement, Depp celebrated the decision. He also thanked fans in social media videos. “From the very beginning, the goal of bringing this case was to reveal the truth, regardless of the outcome,” he said in his statement, in part. “Speaking the truth was something that I owed to my children and to all those who have remained steadfast in their support of me. I feel at peace knowing I have finally accomplished that.”
When speaking to Guthrie, Heard says she fears a possible response from Depp as she continues to speak out. “I’m scared that no matter what I do, no matter what I say and how I say it, every step that I take will present another opportunity for this sort of silencing, which is what, I guess, a defamation lawsuit is meant to do,” she says. “It’s meant to take your voice.”
After everything, however, Heard said she still has love in her heart for Depp. “I have no bad feelings or ill will toward him at all,” she said, expressing that her op-ed was never about her relationship with Depp, but about lending her voice to the cultural conversation around the #MeToo movement.
Post-trial, she plans to focus on being a mom to her 1-year-old daughter. As for what she plans to tell her one day, she shared: “I did the right thing. I did everything I could to stand up for myself and the truth.”
Watch all of part two of @SavannahGuthrie's exclusive interview with Amber Heard, in which Heard discusses her future, fears about new defamation lawsuits and whether she still “has love” for Johnny Depp: pic.twitter.com/xr3EX9se6K
— TODAY (@TODAYshow) June 15, 2022
In a statement obtained by The Hollywood Reporter, a spokesperson said of Heard speaking out: “Johnny Depp’s legal team blanketed the media for days after the verdict with numerous statements and interviews on television, and Depp himself did the same on social media. Ms. Heard simply intended to respond to what they aggressively did last week; she did so by expressing her thoughts and feelings, much of which she was not allowed to do on the witness stand.”
THR has reached out to Depp’s representatives for comment.
More of Heard’s interview with Guthrie airs in a special Dateline Friday on NBC.
June 15, 5:15 a.m. Updated to include the portion of Heard’s interview that aired on Wednesday.
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