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Amber Heard accuses Johnny Depp of sexual assault

US actress Amber Heard testifies at the Fairfax County Circuit Court in Fairfax, Virginia on Thursday.
Jim Lo Scalzo
POOL/AFP via Getty Images
US actress Amber Heard testifies at the Fairfax County Circuit Court in Fairfax, Virginia on Thursday.

Updated May 5, 2022 at 10:55 PM ET

On her second day on the stand, actress Amber Heard on Thursday continued telling jurors the story of her tumultuous and allegedly violent relationship with actor Johnny Depp — this time adding details about a sexual assault with a bottle.

Depp is suing Heard for defamation over a 2018 op-ed published by The Washington Post in which Heard called for change in how the U.S. treats abuse survivors.

Heard's most emotional testimony came in the second half of the day, when she talked about a trip to Australia in March 2015, that she said was marred by days of chaos and violence.

Depp provided testimony about the same series of fights last month, and claimed that the actress severed the tip of one of his fingers with a bottle during one of the altercations. But Heard told the jury on Thursday a completely different version of events, as she described a scene in which Depp allegedly struck her several times, ripped the clothing off her body, then vaginally penetrated her with a bottle.

Heard said part of what Depp was arguing with her about were her plans to draft a postnuptial agreement, she said. Heard said Depp physically assaulted her, slammed her up against a wall, squeezed her neck and threw her onto a ping-pong table.

"At some point I shove him hard, to get him off me, and he shoved me back," Heard said. "And he said, 'do you want to go, little girl?'"

Heard said she can't remember when in the timeline it happened, but claims she eventually grabbed a bottle of liquor from Depp and shattered it on the floor. That prompted more violence from Depp, who choked her and ripped the nightgown off her body, she told the jury.

As she was allegedly pinned face up on a counter, she said Depp pushed a bottle inside of her.

Sobbing on the stand, Heard said, "I can't believe I have to do this."

"Johnny had the bottle inside of me, and was shoving it into me over and over again," she added.

The next day, she woke up to find blood and paint writings on the walls of the house, she said, adding that it took a while to deduce he had injured his finger.

During his testimony, Depp said Heard had severed his fingertip, but that he had lied to doctors about the incident, saying he had hurt his finger in accordion doors.

"I didn't want to disclose that it had been Ms. Heard that had thrown a vodka bottle at me and took my finger off," he told the court.

US actor Johnny Depp leaves for a recess at the Fairfax County Circuit Court in Fairfax, Virginia on Thursday.
Jim Lo Scalzo / AFP via Getty Images
AFP via Getty Images
US actor Johnny Depp leaves for a recess at the Fairfax County Circuit Court in Fairfax, Virginia on Thursday.

The first time Heard said she "landed" a blow

Heard said weeks later the two had reconciled, and were back in Los Angeles when another physical altercation ensued. But this time, Heard said she finally "landed one" on Depp in an effort to protect her sister.

Heard said she confronted Depp after suspecting he had been cheating on her following their wedding.

"I didn't care in that moment if he did kill me," she said.

She told the court she screamed at him, called him names and told him to get out of the house. She then ran to wake her sister, who lived in an adjoining apartment.

Heard said Depp had hit her in the face with a cast on his arm, and the two were continuing to struggle, when her sister put herself in between. According to Heard, Depp took a swing at her sister.

"I swung at him," Heard said. "In all my relationship to date with Johnny, I hadn't landed a blow...for the first time I hit him, like actually hit him square in the face."

Heard clarified that while she had previously fought back to protect herself from Depp, her aim was to block any blows.

"Johnny kind of looked stunned, and the laughed at me," Heard said. "And then he hit me again."

How Heard says she convinced herself to stay

Toward the end of the day, Heard touched on the reasons she stayed in the abusive relationship.

"For every hit, every instance of violence, every time I was choked, every single one of these instances, is like a heavy coin put into a piggy bank," she explained. "It's almost like, for each one of these things that happens, you lose the will or resolve to leave ... You know, it's like every single heavy coin you put in this piggy bank is like an investment into the future."

"I just decided to believe that it wouldn't happen again," she said. "This is the last time, 'cause it couldn't get worse than this, right?

Heard said Depp slapped and berated her in front of others

As Depp and Heard argued on the plane ride from the East Coast to Los Angeles in May 2014, "he called me a slut," Heard said.

At the time, they were traveling with security personnel and Depp's assistants. Heard said Depp had been drinking and doing drugs before the flight — and that once aboard, he assailed her about an acting job she'd just completed, where she filmed sex scenes with the actor James Franco. Depp interrogated her about the scenes, and whether she enjoyed it.

"I struggle to be able to tell you how embarrassed I was because he was speaking to me in front of people in this way," Heard told the jury.

When she moved to sit elsewhere, she said, Depp threw ice cubes and utensils at her, calling her an embarrassment. Then, she said, he slapped her.

"I remember moving more than once," she said. "And Johnny came to me each time, not the other way around. He sits down in front of me at one point, and because I'm not answering him — I was looking out of the window — and he slaps my face," she said. Growing emotional as she recounted the experience, she added, "And his friend is in our proximity. And I — it didn't hurt me, it didn't hurt my face, I just felt embarrassed that he'd do that to me in front of people. It was the first time that anything like that had happened in front of somebody."

'I didn't know what to do about it,' Heard said

When Heard moved again, Depp taunted her and called her names, she said. When she looked into his eyes, she said, it felt like there was "a blackness" there.

"I wasn't engaging. I am walking away from him slowly and he tells me to hurry the f*** up. Hurry up," Heard said. She said she looked at him, and turned to walk away.

"My back is turned to him, and I feel this boot in my back. It just kicked me, in the back. I fell to the floor and caught myself on the floor, and it just felt like I was looking at the floor of the plane for what felt like a long time. And I thought to myself, 'I don't know what to do. I can't believe — did he just kick me?'" Heard said.

"No one said anything. No one did anything ... you could hear a pin drop on that plane. You could feel the tension, but no one did anything. And I just remember feeling so embarrassed. Felt so embarrassed, that he could kick me to the ground in front of people. And more embarrassing, I didn't know what to do about it," she added.

Heard gave her account of the now-infamous plane ride

Heard's account of the flight details the aftermath of her filming The Adderall Diaries alongside Franco in 2014. On May 24, she and Depp — who had been working in Boston — shared a plane ride from Boston back to Los Angeles. Depp was closely questioned about his condition on that trip in his own testimony, saying he had taken opioids and drank Champagne.

Heard said she knew Depp was likely not sober when she waited a long time for him to join her on the plane after his car pulled up to the tarmac. When he did board, he reeked of alcohol and marijuana, she said.

As Depp began to question her about her filming with Franco, she added, "I could anticipate that there was a no-win situation here."

Heard said that as Depp asked her about romantic scenes with Franco, he was "saying really disgusting things about my body, about how I liked it."

Heard says Depp's jealousy intruded on her career

As their relationship developed and the couple moved in together, Heard said, Depp began controlling aspects of her career, allegedly telling her she didn't need to work and questioning her about scripts. She said he was against her filming romantic or kissing scenes.

Heard also said Depp became enraged by her choice of co-stars.

"He was mad at me for taking the job with James Franco," Heard said of her decision to appear in The Adderall Diaries.

"He hated — hated — James Franco, and was already accusing me of kind of secretly having a thing with him in my past, since we had done Pineapple Express together."

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Ayana Archie
[Copyright 2024 NPR]
Bill Chappell is a writer and editor on the News Desk in the heart of NPR's newsroom in Washington, D.C.
Vanessa Romo is a reporter for NPR's News Desk. She covers breaking news on a wide range of topics, weighing in daily on everything from immigration and the treatment of migrant children, to a war-crimes trial where a witness claimed he was the actual killer, to an alleged sex cult. She has also covered the occasional cat-clinging-to-the-hood-of-a-car story.