Content warning: Mentions of sexual assault, domestic violence, and drug and alcohol abuse.
It’s day two of Amber Heard’s testimony in the contentious Depp v. Heard defamation trial, and against all odds, the allegations the former couple are waging against one another have managed to become all the more difficult to stomach.
For the first time since the court convened three weeks ago in Fairfax, Virginia, Heard is telling her version of the pair’s volatile arguments, including Depp’s allegedly severe dependencies on drugs and alcohol and abuse of her—both physical and sexual—in graphic detail.
So far, Heard has described fights that culminated in Depp slapping his then-wife across the face after she allegedly laughed at his tattoo (“It changed my life,” she said of the 2013 incident), allegedly kicking her in the back on a private flight over an alleged friendship with James Franco (“I felt so embarrassed that he could kick me to the ground in front of people, and more embarrassing, I didn’t know what to do about it”), and allegedly breaking her nose after the Met Gala for flirting with a woman in front of him (“We were struggling, he’s bigger than me. He hit me, I remember my nose being swollen, red. I made a remark to my friend of how bad.”).
Heard also recalled a particular incident in 2013 in which Depp allegedly threatened to kill her after Heard informed Depp’s two children of his issues with addiction while the pair was vacationing in the Bahamas. “He slams me up by my neck and holds me there for a second and tells me that he could fucking kill me and that I was an embarrassment,” she told the court.
Dr. Dawn Hughes, the first witness to be called by Heard’s defense team, has corroborated many of the actress’s claims—even describing how Heard suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) as a result of her marriage to Depp and his alleged abuse. Hughes, who specializes in “interpersonal violence abuse,” surmised that because Heard was raised in an abusive household, she was susceptible to the predation of the same toxic patterns she witnessed as a child.
Perhaps most disturbingly, though, Hughes discussed a number of occasions in which Depp allegedly sexually assaulted Heard. “When Mr. Depp was drunk or high, he threw her on the bed, ripped off her nightgown and tried to have sex with her,” said Hughes, directly referring to instances Heard had described to her in therapy. “There were times when he forced her to give him oral sex when he was angry at her.”
At one point, both Hughes and Heard detailed the same horrifying instance where Depp allegedly performed what they referred to as a “cavity search,” wherein Depp digitally penetrated Heard without her consent while looking for cocaine he accused her of hiding from him.
“He rips my dress...he’s grabbing my breasts, he’s touching my thighs, he rips my underwear off,” Heard recalled. “He then proceeds to do a cavity search. He said he was looking for his drugs, his cocaine.” Heard said she didn’t know what to do, so she “just stood there.”
Heard also addressed the notorious alleged rape with a liquor bottle that her team mentioned in its opening statements. She testified that following another altercation in Australia in 2015—the same one that resulted in Depp severing his finger and proceeding to paint the rented home with his own blood. Heard told the court that he repeatedly penetrated her with the liquor bottle until she bled. “I’m looking in his eyes, I don’t see him anymore,” she said of the incident, through apparent tears. “It wasn’t him. It was black. I’ve never been so scared in my life. I was trying to get through to Johnny and I couldn’t see him at all.”
Depp was prone to jealousy, she testified, recalling that he didn’t want her to work and was concerned with what her roles entailed—namely, sex scenes. “Every time I got a script, it was what kind of, you know, how I was dressing? Did I have a sex scene?”
The actor’s addictions to drugs and alcohol and the affect those had on their relationship were bolstered by more photographs of an apparently “blacked out” Depp, amid drug and alcohol paraphernalia around their home. “Johnny on speed is very different from Johnny on opiates. Johnny on opiates is very different from adderall and cocaine Johnny, which is very different from quaaludes Johnny, but I had to get good at paying attention to the different versions of him,” she testified.
Meanwhile, earlier that same day, Michael Spindler, a forensic accountant, testified on Depp’s behalf that he lost approximately $40 million in earnings after Heard’s Washington Post op-ed—a piece revealed to be written mostly by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) in court last week. Depp clearly filed the lawsuit in a move to restore his reputation, and Heard, in turn, has recently fired her entire public relations team due to bad headlines.
Speaking of reputations, Depp’s might’ve suffered in certain studio city circles, but it appears never to have been better on TikTok and Twitter—two platforms that seem indisputably pro-Depp lately. Even despite Heard’s testimony, tags like #johnnydepp and #justiceforjohnnydepp have already amassed 11 billion and 6 billion views on TikTok, and the comments section of any trial coverage concludes the same.
Frankly, I feel like it’s okay—normal, even!—if you’d rather just see this trial conclude without taking any particular pro-Depp or pro-Heard stance. Contrary to how it’s been treated by spectators—online and in-person—this isn’t a sporting event. That said: If you operate under the guise of “believing survivors” and feel inclined to believe Depp’s version of events over Heard’s, you might just want to sit with that for a moment.