Ellen Barkin Says Routinely Wasted Johnny Depp Threw Wine Bottle in Her Direction

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TIMOTHY A. CLARY/Getty
TIMOTHY A. CLARY/Getty

Johnny Depp was “jealous,” “controlling,” and often drunk during his brief relationship with Ellen Barkin in the 1990s, she said in a video played in court on Thursday.

“He was drunk a lot of the time,” Barkin said in the November 2019 deposition heard by jurors in Virginia. “A lot of the time. He was a red wine drinker.”

Barkin, who dated Depp in the 1990s while the pair were filming Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, is among the more high-profile witnesses to appear in the civil defamation trial between the actor and his ex-wife, Amber Heard. Depp has sued Heard, claiming her 2018 Washington Post op-ed identifying herself as a domestic violence survivor “devastated” his successful acting career. Heard has countersued Depp for defamation, claiming he and his lawyers launched a “smear campaign” against her by labeling her allegations “a hoax.”

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The op-ed did not identify Depp but came two years after Heard sought a restraining order against him. Both actors have accused the other of domestic violence—and deny any allegations of wrongdoing.

Testifying on behalf of Heard, Barkin said Depp took “hallucinogenics, cocaine, marijuana,” during a friendship that took a turn into a sexual relationship. The allegations mirror claims by Heard, who said that Depp tried to control her career and would often accuse her of cheating throughout their short-lived union that ended in 2017.

Heard has also accused Depp of sexual assault and a larger pattern of violence.

“He was just a jealous man, controlling,” Barkin said. “Controlling. Asking me, ‘Where are you going? Who are you meeting with?’”

“I had a scratch on my back once that he got very, very, angry.... He insisted it came from me having sex with a person who wasn’t him during that time,” Barkin added.

The actress said that Depp’s behavior often changed when he was drinking or on drugs, including one instance in which he allegedly “tossed” a bottle in her direction during a “fight” between “some friends in [a hotel] room.” Noting the bottle did not hit her, Barkin added that she still does not know “why he threw the bottle.”

A celebrity in her own right, Barkin previously testified in Depp’s failed U.K. defamation case against Heard. During that trial, Depp reportedly hit back at Barkin, testifying that she held a “grudge” against him.

“A sexual element began with Ms. Barkin which lasted for months on and off really because she was making the film I was making at the time, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas,” Depp said in the London trial, according to Daily Mail. “She wanted a proper relationship with me and I did not want that. I didn’t feel the same about her as she did me and I suppose from that moment on she became very, very angry, and since then I have not spoken to Ms. Barkin.”

Ultimately, a London judge in November 2020 found that there was “overwhelming evidence” that Depp had assaulted Heard repeatedly throughout their marriage, and she was “in fear of her life.”

Barkin is among a series of witnesses Heard’s team called on to argue that Depp had a drug and alcohol problem—and often acted erratically. Dr. Alan Blaustein, Depp’s former psychiatrist, said in a January deposition that the actor struggled with drugs and alcohol, substances he used as a crutch to cope with “psychic” wounds.

“I know Mr. Depp had anxiety,” Blaustein said, adding that Depp often used the term “devil” to describe “something horrible inside himself.”

The witnesses also pushed back on the claim that it was Heard’s op-ed that tarnished Depp’s career, instead of his own self-destructive behavior. Tina Newman, a production executive at Walt Disney Studios, said via video deposition that she never saw any documents within the company that referred to Heard’s op-ed—and that it never played a role in their decisions around Depp.

Ron Schnell, the director of the Berkeley Research Group, was also called by Heard’s legal team to testify about damage to the actress’ reputation. He said that between 2020 and 2021, more a million hashtags appeared on social media expressing negative sentiments about Heard, including #AmberHeardIsAnAbuser, and #AmberTurd.

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