Amber Heard says she became "bombarded" with online harassment from Johnny Depp supporters after she filed for a domestic violence restraining order against the actor in 2016.
In the Washington Post op-ed at the center of Depp's $50 million defamation case against Heard, 36, she wrote that she'd become a "public figure representing domestic abuse" who "felt the full force of our culture's wrath for women who speak out." Though she didn't mention Depp by name, she said she "had the rare vantage point of seeing, in real time, how institutions protect men accused of abuse."
When asked about the article on the stand Monday, Heard told the courtroom she was "proud" of it — and claimed Depp, 58, has proven her point by allegedly threatening to discredit and ruin her career because she spoke out about the abuse.
Heard, who is countersuing Depp for $100 million, said all she wanted from the divorce was for her ex to "leave me alone." She also wanted him to state publicly that she was not a liar.
"I was begging Johnny to not make me prove what I've had to sit on this stand in front of all of you and prove and talk about. I was begging not to have do this, and sit where I am sitting. I didn't want this. I don't wanna be here. ... I was trying to get him to not call me a liar, because everything that I had said to date and everything I've said to date now is the truth."
Heard said it "seemed crazy" that Depp thought she was taking part in an "elaborate, well-orchestrated, years-long campaign" to make false claims of abuse. She said she didn't want to have to testify because "I didn't want this to go to a prosecutor. I didn't want to hurt Johnny. I don't want this to hurt Johnny."
Never miss a story — sign up for PEOPLE's free daily newsletter to stay up-to-date on the best of what PEOPLE has to offer, from juicy celebrity news to compelling human interest stories.
When it came to settling their divorce, she said a joint statement in which Depp acknowledged that she hadn't made any false claims was most important to her. "I didn't care about the money," she added, saying that she hasn't been able to pay the full $7 million settlement to charity yet like she pledged because of the legal fees involved with battling his lawsuits.
She said, "I wanted to clear my name. That's all I have. ... All I have is my name. I come from nothing. All I have is my integrity. All I have is my name — and that's exactly what he promised to take from me."
(Their 2016 statement read: "Our relationship was intensely passionate and at times volatile, but always bound by love. Neither party has made false accusations for financial gain. There was never any intent of physical or emotional harm. Amber wishes the best for Johnny in the future. Amber will be donating financial proceeds from the divorce to a charity.")
Much like Depp says his career was tarnished by her op-ed, Heard testified that her career "took a hit" when she filed for a domestic violence restraining order. She said she had to "fight" to keep her Aquaman role in Justice League as the divorce played out in headlines.
"I had proof, and yet everyone — the media, the studios that both Johnny and I worked for — they were ready to support him," said Heard. "They made statements in support of him. They were ready to fire me. They attempted to fire me."
She added, "It was hard for me to work. I was harassed. I am harassed on a daily basis, death threats." Heard also referred to being met with "vitriol from Johnny Depp supporters" after coming forward about the alleged domestic violence.
Steve Helber/POOL/AFP/Getty; ELIZABETH FRANTZ/POOL/AFP/Getty Johnny Depp; Amber Heard
Depp has said multiple times under oath that he has never struck Heard or any woman. He testified that his "goal is the truth" as he seeks to clear his name in this trial. Because of Heard's allegations, Depp said he lost "nothing short of everything."
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, his attempt to overturn the decision was overruled.
Going back to the op-ed that the court case is about, Heard clarified that what she wrote is "not about Johnny" — "It's about me. It's about what happened to me after Johnny. It's about what happened to me after I escaped my marriage. It's about me and my life and what I endured once I moved on and got a [temporary restraining order] and moved on with my life."
Earlier on Monday, Heard told the jury she finally decided to follow through on filing for divorce because she feared the alleged abuse would worsen and result in her death.
"I knew I had to leave him. I knew I wouldn't survive it if I didn't. I was so scared that it was going to end really badly for me. … The violence was now normal and not the exception," she said, adding, "I believe he would have taken it too far and I wouldn't be here."
If you are experiencing domestic violence, call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233, or go to thehotline.org. All calls are toll-free and confidential. The hotline is available 24/7 in more than 170 languages.