The case is a consequence of an op-ed piece that Heard wrote in 2018 in The Washington Post about her experiences as a domestic abuse survivor. The ongoing legal battle between Depp and Heard began when the latter filed for divorce in 2016 accusing Depp of domestic abuse. While the duo had reached a settlement on their divorce in 2017, Heard subsequently wrote the op-ed piece, which Depp claims defamed him and resulted in him losing several projects, including Pirates of the Caribbean.
Depp has been testifying on his own behalf since April 19 in the $50 million libel case he has filed against Heard.
Depp’s affirmative response to his lawyer Camille Vasquez’s question, on Monday, on whether or not he was a victim of domestic abuse, brought the actor’s four-day long testimony to an end.
Earlier, Heard’s team continued with his cross-examination and played an audio recording, in which the 58-year-old Depp addressed the heated arguments between the former couple, and said, “Walking away is necessary… Otherwise it’s just going to be a bloodbath…”
In addition to highlighting Depp’s issues with alcohol and substance abuse, which is what the defence lawyers contend lost him the projects, and not Heard’s allegations, they also argued that Depp was unsupportive of 35-year-old Heard’s acting career.
Lawyer Benjamin Rottenborn shared a text in which Heard informed Depp that she was in a meeting. Depp responded by text, saying, “‘No goddamn meetings. No movies. Why? Why did you deviate from our agreement? What species of meeting?”
In a separate text to Dr David Kipper, who was helping him with his substance abuse, Depp wrote, “Her [Heard’s] obsession with herself is far more important. She is so fucking ambitious. She’s so desperate for success and fame, that’s probably why I was acquired, mate.”
In the same message, Heard’s team pointed out that Depp had admitted to cutting off his own fingertip, contrary to his earlier accounts of Heard hurling a vodka bottle at him.
However, Depp said that it was just one of his figures of expression, and that it did not literally mean that he chopped off his own fingertip.
“Let’s burn Amber,” Depp wrote in one of the messages that were shared by her lawyers earlier, and added, “Let’s drown her before we burn her!!!”
“I will fuck her burnt corpse afterwards, to make sure she’s dead,” Depp further wrote.
The actor apologised for the language and said that he was ashamed of the same, but claimed that the texts were “irreverent and abstract humour.” He added that the usage of words like “burn” and “drown” were not intended to be taken literally.
To support their argument that Depp lost work because of his own behaviour, Heard’s legal team presented a series of headlines of negative media coverage on the actor, from 2014 to 2017, all of which came before Heard’s op-ed piece in 2018. One of the headlines mentioned that Depp was constantly late to the sets of a Pirates of the Caribbean film, due to heavy drinking – a major point of contention since the trial began.
Rottenborn further noted that despite the media attention that Depp got after Heard accused him of domestic abuse, Depp did not get the restraining order from 2016 lifted. Nor did he opt for a divorce trial where he could respond to Heard’s allegations.
“You chose not to clear your name at that time,” Rottenborn said, and pointed out that Depp also chose not to sue The Washington Post.
Rottenborn reiterated the defence’s point from the initial days of the trial about Depp signing a divorce settlement, and agreeing that Heard had not made any false allegations for financial gains.
After Depp vacated the witness stand, his former house manager Ben King also testified on Monday.
The trial will continue on Tuesday at the Fairfax County Courthouse in Virginia.