Amber Heard breaks down saying she filed for divorce from Johnny Depp as she feared she ‘wouldn’t survive’

‘At the time it felt like the hardest thing I ever had to do,’ she told a court in Fairfax, Virginia, on Monday

Rachel Sharp
Monday 16 May 2022 19:47 BST
Amber Heard sobs as she says she feared she wouldn't survive if she didn't divorce Depp
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Amber Heard sobbed in court as she said she filed for divorce from Johnny Depp because she feared she “wouldn’t survive” if she stayed in the relationship.

“I knew if I didn’t I’d likely not literally survive,” she said, choking back tears.

Ms Heard told jurors in the multi-million-dollar defamation trial on Monday that her decision to divorce her then-husband was “the hardest thing I ever had to do”.

But she said that she realised she had to do it because the “monster” and domestic violence had become the “normal”.

“The monster had been this thing that was now the normal and not the exception. The violence was now the normal and not the exception,” she sobbed.

“I believe he would have taken it too far and I wouldn’t be here.”

Ms Heard returned to the stand for a third day of testimony as the trial resumed in Fairfax, Virginia, after a one-week break on Monday.

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”.

On Monday, Ms Heard testified about her decision to finally file for divorce from Mr Depp.

“At the time it felt like the hardest thing I ever had to do,” she said.

“I had worked so hard to try to make this relationship work.

“I went to therapy. I went to Al-Anon. I got help. I read books. I did everything I could possibly think of and it didn’t work.”

The Aquaman actress said she was “conflicted” about filing for divorce because she loved Mr Depp “so much” but said she knew she had to after one violent incident where he allegedly threw a phone at her face.

“I was conflicted. I knew after he threw the phone at my face that after all that month of not seeing each other, not getting better, not getting clean and sober, it was falling apart,” she said.

“It was so hard. I knew I had to leave him. I knew I wouldn’t survive it if I didn’t. So I made the deicision to file for divorce.

“It was hard because I loved Johnny so much. I loved him so much.”

Ms Heard’s eyes filled with tears as she told the court that she was in fear for her life.

“I was so scared that it was going to end really badly for me,” she

“And I really didn’t want to leave him.”

Ms Heard sobbed as she said taking the step to file for divorce was “so hard” but said she “knew I had to do it”.

She told jurors that she filed for a domestic violence restraining order because she wanted to “feel safe”.

Ms Heard spoke of the toll the relationship had taken on her, saying she was “falling apart”.

She said security would always let Mr Depp into her home no matter how much she begged them not to.

“I wanted to change my locks. I wanted a good night’s sleep,” she sobbed.

“I was losing hair, I was losing weight... I couldn’t sleep... I had panic attacks all the the time. I was falling apart,” she said.

“I was scared and very conflicted because the person I was scared of was also the person I was in love with.”

Ms Heard had previously told the court about an alleged incident on 21 May 2016 where she said that he threw a cellphone at her face.

Police were called to the incident but Ms Heard said she did not cooperate with them because she “didn’t want him to be in trouble”.

“I didn’t want the world to know,” she said.

The jury was shown a photo of her bruised face which she said was caused by the phone.

Mr Depp denies abusing his former wife and testified that he had already told Ms Heard that he planned to divorce her when she filed for divorce.

He said that he had gone to the apartment to collect some belongings and was Ms Heard was laughing on the phone to a friend about an incident where faeces had been left on his bed.

He said he grabbed the phone and told her friend: “You can have her now. She’s all yours.”

Mr Depp claimed he had then “flopped the phone on the couch”.

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