Lawyers for Amber Heard on Monday ended their marathon grilling of Johnny Depp at his defamation trial against his former wife by playing audio recordings of heated arguments between the couple.
“Shut up fat ass,” the “Pirates of the Caribbean” star is heard telling Heard in one recording played for the seven-member jury hearing the case in Fairfax County Circuit Court.
In another audiotape, the 36-year-old Heard, who had a starring role in the movie “Aquaman,” accuses Depp of having “beat the shit out of” her and throwing a “swing” at her. Depp has denied ever being physically abusive towards Heard and has claimed repeatedly at the trial that she was the one who was frequently violent.
Depp filed a defamation suit against Heard over a column she wrote for The Washington Post in December 2018 in which she described herself as a “public figure representing domestic abuse.” Heard never named Depp but he sued her for implying he was a domestic abuser and is seeking $50 million in damages.
The Texas-born Heard countersued, asking for $100 million and claiming she suffered “rampant physical violence and abuse” at his hands.
Depp, a three-time Oscar nominee, and Heard met in 2009 on the set of the film “The Rum Diary” and were married in February 2015. Their divorce was finalized two years later.
Heard’s attorneys have alleged that Depp would become a physically and sexually abusive “monster” when he was drunk or on drugs, and pressed him extensively about his drug and alcohol use during his three days of cross-examination on the witness stand.
“If anyone had a problem with my drinking, at any time in my life, it was me,” Depp said. “The only person I’ve ever abused in my life is myself.”
Heard’s lawyer Ben Rottenborn also sought to convince the jury that the accusations against Depp pre-dated the Washington Post column that Heard wrote. Rottenborn noted that Heard had filed a temporary restraining order against Depp in Los Angeles in May 2016, citing abuse, and quoted headlines from a number of newspaper articles.
“These are all hit pieces,” Depp replied.
Depp also played down some of the harsh language he used to describe Heard in text messages to various friends, including one that said “I can only hope that karma kicks in and takes the gift of breath from her.”
“It’s just irreverent and abstract humor,” Depp said, and he was “ashamed that this has to be spread on the world like peanut butter.”
After Depp finished testifying, his attorneys called as a witness Ben King, an Englishman who managed the home where the couple stayed in Australia during the 2015 filming of the fifth installment of the “Pirates” franchise. Much of the testimony at the trial has revolved around an incident that occurred there in which the tip of the middle finger of Depp’s right hand was severed.
Depp told the jury it happened when Heard threw a vodka bottle at him, smashing the finger against the edge of a bar in the house. Heard’s lawyers suggested that Depp cut it with a knife in the kitchen. King’s testimony appeared to back up Depp’s account.
The house manager said he found the severed fingertip in a tissue on the floor of the bar along with a broken bottle of Stolichnaya vodka. He said a “big chunk” of the marble bartop had been broken off.
King said that while he had witnessed frequent arguments between the couple during their stay in Australia, and another in London, he had never seen them be violent.
Testifying last week, Depp said the allegations that he was a “drunken, cocaine-fueled menace who beat women” have cost him “everything.”
The actor said that a “couple of days” after the Post column appeared, Disney announced he would no longer appear as Captain Jack Sparrow in the blockbuster “Pirates” franchise. Depp filed the defamation complaint in the United States after losing a separate libel case in London in November 2020 that he brought against The Sun for calling him a “wife-beater.”