Amber Heard’s sister is ‘very wrong’ to support claims against Johnny Depp, ex-friend says

Jennifer Howell says she ‘loved’ Amber Heard’s sister Whitney Henriquez who she believes is just ‘trying to protect her sister’ and is ‘doing something very wrong’ in the process

Rachel Sharp
Wednesday 25 May 2022 07:33
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Amber Heard’s sister is ‘very wrong’ to support claims against Depp, ex-friend says
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Amber Heard’s sister is “doing something very wrong” by supporting her allegations of abuse against Johnny Depp, according to a former friend.

Jennifer Howell, CEO and founder of the nonprofit The Art of Elysium, told the court during the multi-million-dollar defamation trial that she “loved” Ms Heard’s sister Whitney Henriquez but believes she is “trying to protect her sister”.

Ms Howell, who used to be Ms Henriquez’s boss and friend, said she sent an email to her in July 2020 urging her to “tell the truth”.

“I struggled very much with what to do in a situation that I loved someone who I know is doing something very wrong and I know that they’re doing it because they’re trying to protect their sister and I’m trying to protect her,” she testified about the email.

“And I’m just trying to get her to wake up and do the right thing which is tell the truth. That’s the only thing that can help everyone involved in this thing.”

In video testimony played in court on Tuesday, Ms Howell said that she met both Ms Heard and Ms Henriquez at an afterparty for the Los Angeles premiere of the movie Pineapple Express around 2008.

Ms Henriquez briefly worked for her nonprofit from around 2014 and moved into her home from May 2015 until April 2016, she said.

During that time, Ms Henriquez moved back and forth between her home and Ms Heard and Mr Depp’s apartment but all of her belongings were moved into her home at the time, according to Ms Howell.

When Ms Henriquez testified earlier in the trial, she told the court about a March 2015 incident known as the “staircase incident”.

She told the court that Mr Depp struck her in the back, hurled a Red Bull can at a friend, grabbed Ms Heard by the hair and hit her before trashing Ms Heard’s closet.

Following the alleged incident inside the former couple’s apartment, she claimed that Mr Depp asked her to sign a non-disclosure agreement.

She refused and moved to Ms Howell’s soon after, she said.

In court on Tuesday, Ms Howell testified that she never saw Mr Depp consuming illegal drugs or excessive amounts of alcohol and never saw him appearing to be intoxicated.

Ms Heard never told her that Mr Depp was abusive or showed her photos of the aftermath of the alleged abuse, she said.

Ms Howell told the court that, around 2018, she received an anonymous check for $250,000 for her nonprofit which said that it was in honour of Ms Heard.

She said that she understood that the anonymous donor to be Elon Musk.

Mr Depp is suing his ex-wife for defamation over a 2018 op-ed she penned for The Washington Post where she described herself as a “a public figure representing domestic abuse”.

The Pirates of the Caribbean actor is not named in the article, which is titled “I spoke up against sexual violence – and faced our culture’s wrath. That has to change”.

However Mr Depp claims that it falsely implies that he is a domestic abuser – something that he strongly denies – and that it has left him struggling to land roles in Hollywood. He is suing for $50m.

Ms Heard is countersuing for $100m, accusing Mr Depp of orchestrating a “smear campaign” against her and describing his lawsuit as a continuation of “abuse and harassment”.

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