Johnny Depp’s sister says Amber Heard called him ‘old and fat’ and his family was ‘devastated’ with the marriage

Christi Dembrowski said Heard had told her brother he had ‘no style’ after Dior meeting

Graeme Massie
Los Angeles
Wednesday 13 April 2022 02:34 BST
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Johnny Depp’s sister says Amber Heard called him “old and fat” and that the actor’s family was “devastated” at his marriage to her.

Christi Dembrowski made the claims as she took the stand as the first witness in the multi-million dollar defamation trial in Virginia, in which Depp claims that a 2018 article on domestic violence she wrote for The Washington Post implied he was an abuser.

She told the court that while she had seen Ms Heard “be nice” to her brother, she had also seen her “be not nice” and gave details of one such confrontation.

“This one really stayed with me. On one occasion I was at the office, I had a meeting with Dior who wanted to sit with Johnny and talk about working together. Amber had come in and asked if she was interrupting, we said no, Johnny told Amber that I had just had a meeting with Dior and they were interested in him,” she said.

“Her reaction to that was that she was in disbelief and sort of disgust, and she said ‘Dior ? Why would Dior want to do business with you? They are about class and style and you do not have style.’ It was an insulting kind of taking away that one moment, that insult was there.

“I have seen the insults, multiple times actually. She called him an ‘old, fat man.’ I believe he heard her call him that.”

She also gave details of a 2013 documentary shoot with Keith Richards of the Rolling Stones, and described how close her brother and Ms Heard had been on the set.

“I was right next to her, I hugged her and was standing next to her, it was a small set. I did not see anything (marks or physical injuries).

“They were fine. She was laughing and happy and holding his hand and leaning on him, hugging him. It was mostly her hugging.”

She was asked when she learned that Depp and Heard were going to get married.

“There was a wedding celebration put together on the island, so they had a wedding ceremony on the island, but prior to going to the island they actually got married in Los Angeles as they couldn’t actually do it it with paperwork on the island,“ she recalled.

She said that she was “scared” and “devastated” when she heard that Depp was marrying Heard.

Actress Amber Heard inside the courtroom at the Fairfax County Circuit Court 12 April 2022
Actress Amber Heard inside the courtroom at the Fairfax County Circuit Court 12 April 2022 (AP)

“I actually tried to talk him into just waiting a little bit longer and not rushing. There had been conversations about a pre-nuptial agreement that had been going on for a while, and as the date approached for the island ceremony there was no success in the pre-nuptial conversations, I knew it was important to him for his children and we were rushing to do something without his children being protected,” she said.

She added that Depp’s side had wanted a pre-nup in place, but that they had never agreed or signed one.

“Amber did not sign it,” she said when asked why it had never materialised.

She told the court she had attended the LA wedding and then the ceremony on Depp’s private island in the Bahamas.

“At the actual ceremony in Los Angeles, they had it at my mum’s house, at that ceremony I didn’t have occasion to speak to Amber, I don’t think she wanted to speak to me on that day.”

She said that she heard Heard talking about whether they should leak the information about the marriage, and Heard has asked her opinion on that and she told her that she did “not know why” they would leak it.

“On the island where she was actually extremely friendly when I got there, if I am honest I debated going, I didn’t really want to but I took my dad, he wanted to go, and I wanted to show up to make sure that my little brother knew I was always going to be around no matter what. Amber was very friendly, it was a very big day for her,” she said.

Under cross-examination, Ms Dembrowski told the court that she was aware in 2014 that her brother had been drinking and abusing prescription drugs.

“I knew my brother was drinking,” she said. “But in terms of drugs, honestly, there was only one medication that I knew of that was an issue for him. I don’t remember the name, it was a prescription pain medicaiton that he had been taking for a long time,” she said.

Ben Rotternborn then asked if February 2014 was the only contact she had with Heard about Depp’s drug and alcohol use.

“You knew that Mr Depp’s drug and alcohol problem was affecting his relationship with Ms Heard?” he asked.

“I knew she would say that she had issues with him with drugs and alcohol,” she replied. “I knew she would write me about them, I knew she would try and talk about them, and say they were negatively impacting, I dont know that was the whole situation they had going on to be honest,” she replied.

The lawyer asked her if she had “never believed” Heard’s claims about Depp. “I believe she exaggerated things quite a bit,” she said.

Heard’s lawyer then asked about a text message she had sent Heard in March 2013, in which she said she “was sad” about what they “were going through”.

Ms Dembrowski explained that in the message she had been trying to give her advice on how to speak to her brother,

“Amber, could be very, very vocal, and what I was trying to do, if they were having a conversation that was not going well, maybe if you have conversations when you are very loud it is confrontational and they should have an easy conversation,” she said.

Her messaged read: “Disagreeing, reasoning, nudging can all seem like confrontations, I am not sure of the volume or when some is likely to wear off?”

Heard’s lawyer asked if she was talking about drugs and alcohol “wearing off?”

“I don’t know,” she said. “I am referrring to the volume of voices. There was a certain way you learned to talk to Amber to try and keep things calm. You would pacify her, just go along with all her conversations, whatever, we would placate her all the time to keep things calm, that is what we did.”

“Were you telling Ms Heard not to voice any concerns about her significant other’s drug concerns?” Mr Rottenborn asked.

“No, she was much more confrontational, always confrontational, and I was trying to say that all these things could be confrontational and to take it down a notch.”

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