Amber Heard recounts police being called after Johnny Depp attacked her as court shown photos of her injuries

Ms Heard has returned as witness in defamation case

Clémence Michallon
Monday 16 May 2022 22:02 BST
Amber Heard begs Johnny Depp to stop ‘smear campaign’ as court hears emotional audio

Amber Heard has shared her account of an incident during which she says police were called to her apartment after Johnny Depp attacked her.

Ms Heard was asked about the alleged events of 21 May 2016 as she returned to the witness stand on Monday (16 May) as part of the defamation trial opposing her and Mr Depp in Virginia.

She said she and Mr Depp hadn’t seen each other for about a month at the time because she had been traveling and had just shot a campaign in Italy. Ms Heard said she agreed to see Mr Depp following his mother’s death, and that she was under the impression that he had started drinking and using drugs again at the time.

“He said he really needed his wife. He had lost his mother and he missed his wife, he really needed his wife. He said it over and over again,” she said. “I felt torn, I felt conflicted. Obviously the situation hadn’t gotten better with Johnny, mentally, and I was afraid that all the work and progress and distance I had finally got on it, on the relationship for the first time I had a month of distance on it, I didn’t want that to be undone but I was also affected by the fact that his mother had passed.”

She said a plan was made for Mr Depp to visit her during the day, which she thought would help mitigate his drinking as “night is a little bit more dangerous”.

“He came over and we sat on the couch and it was relatively peaceful. I could tell that he was inebriated, but in my head it made sense. He wasn’t incoherent. It was peaceful,” she said, adding that Mr Depp started talking about feces, accusing one of Ms Heard’s friends of having left a “prank” for him in Ms Heard’s bed. Ms Head said she tried telling Mr Depp that didn’t make sense, but that he kept talking about it.

Ms Heard said she called a friend hoping to put that matter to rest, so that she and Mr Depp could move on to discussing other issues.

“Our marriage was over and falling apart in front of our eyes, we hadn’t seen each other for a month, and his mom had just passed. I couldn’t believe he wanted to talk about feces,” she said.

Eventually, Ms Heard said she called the friend she said Mr Depp claimed was responsible, iO Tillett Wright.

“It just made Johnny madder. He got more upset, grabbed the phone, and started screaming at iO. Just started screaming at the top of his lungs,” Ms Heard said, adding thar Mr Depp used “expletives” and “insulting names”.

“He tosses the phone down on the couch and heads upstairs,” she said. “I pick up the phone and try to apologize for the fact that my husband at the time just screamed at my friend on a cold call. I didn’t want iO to think that’s why I had called iO, to be screamed at and blamed for something that sounded crazy.”

Ms Heard said her friend reminded her that she “wasn’t safe”.

“iO said, ‘Amber, get out of the house. Get out of the house now, you’re not safe. Get out of that house,’” she told the court.

According to Ms Heard, Mr Depp “heard this, turned around, came bolting down the stairs, grabbed the phone from my hand and really, really started screaming this time, laid into iO, called iO every imaginable horrible name that you can say to an LGBTQI person for one, and any person, any human being ever.”

“He just screamed at iO some really nasty stuff,” she said. “When he’s done, he says, ‘You wanna have my woman now, you wanna have my b***h, you take her, you can have her.’ With that he pulls his arm back with the phone and throws it at my face.”

Ms Heard said she felt like the phone had hit her in the eye.

“I put my head in my hands and immediately start crying. I said, ‘You hit me with the phone. Johnny, you hit me.’ I’m sitting on the couch. I didn’t even have time to react. I didn’t even have time to put my hands up,” she said.

“I was still sitting cross-legged with my socks on the couch. I haven’t seen him for a month and the last several times now that I’ve seen him he’s hit me. I didn’t even have time to react to this.”

Ms Heard said Mr Depp verbally taunted her, then whacked her on the top of her head.

“This heavy ringed hand landed on top of my skull, grabs me by the hair, yanks me up off the couch. I’m struggling to stand up,” she said.

“I don’t know if he was intending to hit me in the face or if he was just trying to grab my face but he was making this gesture around my face to try to expose my face to him and he was like, ‘Yeah, let me see how bad I hurt you. Let me see it. Let me see how bad I hurt you this time. What if I pulled your hair back? What if I pulled your hair back?’

“And he yanks my hair back. I’m trying to prevent him from landing the blows to my face and trying to prevent my face from being exposed, and I just remember this mocking taunt he was doing with me as he’s yanking me around the room.”

Ms Heard said another friend, who lived in the neighboring apartment, came in and tried to protect her. She said Mr Depp’s two security guards eventually came in too. At some point, she said Mr Depp picked up a bottle and started “smashing things off the nightstand, the coffee table,” and “screaming.”

Eventually, she said Mr Depp exited the apartment, knocking things off and breaking things along the way. She said her friend’s husband brought her to his and his wife’s apartment, where she stayed for the next few hours.

Ms Heard said about an hour after Mr Depp left, she learned the police had been called. She said she was not the one who made the call.

Asked how she felt when she found out the police were on their way, Ms Heard told the court: “I felt panicked. I didn’t know what to do, because I didn’t know what they were going to do when they saw the state of the place. He had almost smashed up the other apartment where I kept all my things, so I didn’t know what they were going to do. And I panicked, I called the only lawyer I have, which is my entertainment lawyer, he does my movie contracts and stuff. And I asked him for advice.”

Ms Heard said she then called a domestic relations attorney whose name had been given to her by her entertainment attorney. She said that once the police arrived, “I repeated to the officers, ‘I refuse to cooperate at this time at the advice of my attorney.’”

Ms Heard said she and her best friend took photos of the apartment and of her face before, during, and after the police responded to the call. Multiple photos of Ms Heard’s face, which she said were taken after he allegedly threw the phone at her, were shown to the jury as evidence.

The jury was shown photos of Amber Heard’s face as evidence
The jury was shown photos of Amber Heard’s face as evidence (YouTube/Law&Crime Network)
The jury was shown photos of Amber Heard’s face as evidence
The jury was shown photos of Amber Heard’s face as evidence (YouTube/Law&Crime Network)
The jury was shown photos of Amber Heard’s face as evidence
The jury was shown photos of Amber Heard’s face as evidence (YouTube/Law&Crime Network)
The jury was shown photos of Amber Heard’s face as evidence
The jury was shown photos of Amber Heard’s face as evidence (YouTube/Law&Crime Network)

The jury was also shown photos of the business card she said one of the police officers left with her in case she changed her mind and decided to speak more.

“I didn’t want to speak to them,” she said.

Depositions of LAPD officers Melissa Saenz and Tyler Hadden were played in court last month in relation to that call.

“We met with a victim,” Officer Saenz said of the incident. “We checked the location. The husband wasn’t there, and the victim advised us that she just had an argument. And that she wasn’t going to give us any further information. And because we didn’t identify a crime, we issued her a business card. Let her know that she could reach out to us later if she changed her mind and wanted to cooperate.”

Asked on Monday why she didn’t want to cooperate with the police, Ms Heard told the court: “I wanted to protect Johnny. I didn’t want him to be arrested. I didn’t want him to be in trouble. I didn’t want the world to know. I didn’t want this to come out. I didn’t want him to be in trouble. I didn’t want this to be – I wanted to protect Johnny.”

Mr Depp has sued Ms Heard for alleged defamation over an op-ed she wrote in 2018 for The Washington Post, in which she describes herself as “a public figure representing domestic abuse”.

“The op-ed depended on the central premise that Ms Heard was a domestic abuse victim and that Mr Depp perpetrated domestic violence against her,” Mr Depp’s complaint alleges in part, calling the claim of domestic abuse “categorically and demonstrably false”.

He has asked for $50m in damages.

Ms Heard has counter-sued Mr Depp, accusing him of allegedly orchestrating a “smear campaign” against her and describing his own lawsuit as a continuation of “abuse and harassment.”

She has asked for $100m in damages.

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