Amber Heard grilled by Savannah Guthrie over audio ‘taunting’ Johnny Depp played at trial

NBC Today host grilled the Aquaman actor over audio clips played at the defamation trial

Amber Heard sits down with Savannah Guthrie for the first time since the jury handed down the verdict

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Amber Heard was grilled by Savannah Guthrie over audio that captured her “taunting” ex-husband Johnny Depp in her first interview since the jury handed down its verdict in the former couple’s defamation case.

The Aquaman actor spoke out about the bombshell trial in an interview with NBC’s Today show, part of which aired on Tuesday morning.

Ms Guthrie, whose husband worked as a consultant for Mr Depp’s legal team, probed Ms Heard about recordings played to the jury where she was heard “taunting” her then-husband about being a “victim of domestic violence”.

Ms Heard defended her comments saying she was speaking as “a person in an extreme amount of emotional, psychological and physical distress” while the TV host grilled her about Mr Depp’s allegations that she had been the “abuser” in their doomed relationship.

“The Depp team argued that you were the abuser, that you instigated physical violence. Did you?” questioned Ms Guthrie.

Ms Heard insisted that she “never had to instigate it” but only “responded” to the violence.

“When you are living in violence and it becomes normal, as I testified to, you have to adapt,” she said.

Ms Guthrie continued to question Ms Heard’s version of events, pointing to recordings of conversations between the former couple: “You say you were responding but there is evidence. There are tapes where you acknowledge hitting. Where you say ‘I started the fight.’”

Ms Heard disputed the tapes saying they only show her in a “negotiation” with her alleged abuser.

“I know much has been made of these audio tapes. They were first leaked online after being edited,” she claimed.

“What you would hear in those clips is not evidence of what’s happening, it is evidence of a negotiation of how to talk about that with your abuser.”

At that point, Ms Guthrie read from a transcript of some of the audio clips presented at the trial.

“But I am looking at a transcript that says — he says: ‘You start physical fights’. And you say: ‘I did start a physical fight. I can’t promise you I won’t get physical again,’” said Ms Guthrie.

“I mean this is in black and white. I understand context.

“But you’re testifying, and you’re telling me today ‘I never started a physical fight’ and here you are on tape saying you did.”

Amber Heard sits down with Savannah Guthrie for the first time since the jury handed down the verdict

Ms Heard said that looking at her words in “black and white” is a “luxury” for those not in a situation where their life is “at risk”.

“As I testified on the stand about this, is that when your life is at risk, not only will you take the blame for things that you shouldn’t take the blame for,” she said.

“But when you’re in an abusive dynamic – psychologically, emotionally and physically – you don’t have the resources that, say, you or I do, with the luxury of saying: ‘Hey, this is black and white.’

“Because it’s anything but when you’re living in it.”

Ms Guthrie continued to press Ms Heard, reading from a transcript of another audio clip played at the trial.

“But there’s other times. There’s another tape where you’re taunting him and saying: ‘Oh, tell the world, Johnny Depp, I, a man, am a victim of domestic violence,’” the TV host said.

Ms Heard defended her comments saying: “Twenty-second clips or the transcripts of them are not representative of even the two hours or the three hours that those clips are excerpt[ed] from.”

Ms Guthrie then questioned why her attorneys didn’t put the whole “three hour” recording in as evidence.

Ms Heard pushed back that she is not a lawyer, but insisted that “I was talking in those recordings as a person in an extreme amount of emotional, psychological and physical distress”.

The audio recordings featured heavily during the trial where both Mr Depp and Ms Heard accused one another of being the abuser.

In one explosive clip played to jurors, Ms Heard was heard saying: “Tell them, I, Johnny Depp, I’m a victim of domestic abuse... and see how many people believe or side with you.”

Johnny Depp waves to fans outside court during the trial

The grilling from the NBC host about the audio comes days after Ms Guthrie admitted that her husband worked as a consultant for Mr Depp’s legal team.

Ms Guthrie is married to Michael Feldman, a public relations consultant and one-time Democratic political adviser who worked on Al Gore’s 2000 presidential campaign.

She made the disclosure about the connection last week when she interviewed Mr Depp’s attorneys Camille Vasquez and Benjamin Chew on Wednesday morning’s NBC Today show.

“A quick disclosure, my husband has done consulting work for the Depp legal team, but not in connection with this interview,” she said.

Ms Guthrie also previously interviewed Ms Heard’s attorney Elaine Bredehoft on the Today show the morning after the verdict was announced.

Ms Heard’s sitdown with Ms Guthrie marks the first time the actor has given an interview since she lost the defamation case with her ex-husband and was ordered to pay him $8.35m in damages.

Mr Depp sued his ex-wife for defamation over a 2018 op-ed for The Washington Post where she described herself as a victim of domestic abuse and spoke of feeling “the full force of our culture’s wrath for women who speak out”.

Following an explosive six-week trial, a jury of seven determined that Ms Heard had defamed him on all three counts.

Amber Heard is seen on the witness stand during intense cross-examination in the trial

Jurors awarded Mr Depp $10m in compensatory damages and $5m in punitive damages, before Fairfax County Circuit Judge Penney Azcarate reduced the latter to the state’s legal limit of $350,000.

Ms Heard won one of her three counterclaims against her ex-husband, with the jury finding that Mr Depp – via his lawyer Adam Waldman – defamed her by branding her allegations about a 2016 incident “an ambush, a hoax”.

She was awarded $2m in compensatory damages but $0 in punitive damages, leaving the Aquaman actor $8.35m out of pocket.

Ms Heard described the verdict as “a setback” for women who speak up with allegations of abuse.

Her attorney has said she plans to appeal and claimed that Ms Heard does not have the funds to pay the damages.

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