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Johnny Depp says he felt ‘blinding hurt’ when he read Amber Heard op-ed before being dropped from ‘Pirates’

Reading op-ed felt ‘like somebody had hit me in the back of the head with a 2x4,’ Depp says

Gustaf Kilander
Washington, DC
Monday 25 April 2022 18:47 BST
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Johnny Depp says he felt ‘blinding hurt’ when he read Amber Heard’s op-ed
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Johnny Depp said in court that he felt a “blinding hurt” when he read Amber Heard’s op-ed before being dropped from the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise.

The defamation trial between Mr Depp and Ms Heard began on Monday 11 April in Fairfax, Virginia following Mr Depp’s lawsuit against his ex-wife in March 2019. Mr Depp is arguing that she defamed him in a December 2018 op-ed published in The Washington Post titled “I spoke up against sexual violence — and faced our culture’s wrath. That has to change”.

Mr Depp said in court on Monday that it “was like somebody had hit me in the back of the head with a 2x4” when he read Ms Heard’s op-ed.

In her 2018 op-ed, Ms Heard wrote that “like many women, I had been harassed and sexually assaulted by the time I was of college age. But I kept quiet — I did not expect filing complaints to bring justice. And I didn’t see myself as a victim”.

“Then two years ago, I became a public figure representing domestic abuse, and I felt the full force of our culture’s wrath for women who speak out,” she added at the time.

While Mr Depp isn’t named in the piece, his legal team argues that it contains a “clear implication that Mr Depp is a domestic abuser”, which they say is “categorically and demonstrably false”. Mr Depp is seeking damages of “not less than $50m”.

Ms Heard has filed a $100m counterclaim against Mr Depp for nuisance and immunity from his allegations.

“Even if I had done an interview to try to explain myself, it turned into a hit piece,” Mr Depp told the court on Monday, adding that he learned that he had been dropped from the Pirates of the Carribbean franchise “two or three days after this op-ed appeared”.

“Captain Jack Sparrow was a character that I had built from the ground up,” Mr Depp said, adding that he put a lot of himself into the character.

He said he suddenly was “guilty until proven innocent” following a “successful” relationship with Disney in which he rewrote scenes, dialogue, and jokes.

He said he “planned on continuing until it was time to stop” because the characters deserved a proper “goodbye”.

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