Amber Heard's Sister Testifies in Johnny Depp Trial: There Were 'Signs of Physical Abuse… Early On'

Illustration for article titled Amber Heards Sister Testifies in Johnny Depp Trial: There Were Signs of Physical Abuse… Early On
Image: Stuart C. Wilson (Getty Images)

Week three of Johnny Depp’s libel trial in London’s High Court against News Group Newspapers, publisher of U.K. tabloid The Sun, has come to a close. Depp is suing News Group Newspapers for labeling him a “wife beater” in the press, which The Sun says was founded upon 14 credible allegations of abuse by Amber Heard.

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As anticipated, actor and Depp’s ex-wife Amber Heard took the witness stand once more on Thursday, when she told the court that in March 2013, Depp struck her with the back of his heavy hand with such force that her blood hit the wall. Heard testified that the fight was over a painting hung in Heard’s house, done by her ex-partner Tasya van Ree, Deadline reports. Depp denied hitting her on day two of this trial.

The Sun’s lawyer, Sasha Wass, also read texts aloud, sent from Heard to her mother, around the time of the “painting incident.” “It’s terrible, mum. I don’t know what to do,” one read. “He’s nuts, mum. Violent and crazy. I’m heartbroken that this is who I love.

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“I feel like I’m on a very fast train that’s about to explode, but I don’t want to jump off and leave my love behind. So I stay on the train, even though I know it’s about to explode,” other texts read. “I can’t tell dad.”

Heard told the court, “I was so in love with Johnny at that time. We had had a wonderful year together where he was sober and clean and that is how I got to know him. And Johnny, when he was like that, (is) generous, loving, he is a remarkable man when he is like that,” she said. “I loved him and I didn’t want to lose that… the other side of him was a monster, but I always held out hope that he would get clean and sober.”

According to The Guardian, Heard’s sister Whitney Henriquez also testified. “He really didn’t like her working and this got worse the longer they were together… Johnny was incredibly jealous and possessive,” she told the court, adding that she began to notice “signs of physical abuse, like bruises or cuts or burns on her arm—and this was early on.” Henriquez described these signs as such:

“She always had an excuse: she had bumped into this or that, or she had a mark on her arm from burning herself while cooking or using her curling iron for her hair. I saw that her face was swollen and she had a mark under her eye. I had my suspicions before, but it was clear to me that she had been hit. She admitted to me that he had hit her, but at that time she was constantly … blaming herself: she said that she must have done something to annoy him or antagonize him.”

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Henriquez said she confronted Depp about it Heard’s injuries, who either denied her accusations or came up with justifications for his actions: “Sometimes he would flat-out deny it or downplay it by saying: ‘No, I just pushed her, I didn’t hit her’ Other times, he would acknowledge that he had hit her but would try to justify it by claiming she hit him first, or ‘she called me a pussy, and would say: ‘Sis, I just lost control,’” she said.

In a written statement provided to the court, Henriquez said she “felt sick” when she learned her sister and Johnny Depp were to be married in 2013, adding she told Heard “putting a ring on her finger was not going to stop him hitting her,” according to The Hollywood Reporter.

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On Friday, Johnny Depp’s lawyer David Sherborne revealed to the court that he had received video evidence of Heard attacking her sister, sent from an “anonymous source,” hours after Henriquez testified in court. Sherborne argued that Depp’s lawyers possess “material which we say demonstrates [Henriquez] was lying yesterday,” adding that, “We were contacted to explain that Amber Heard had a history of violence attacking people and this video of her sister Whitney was taken shortly after Amber Heard had attacked her, and Whitney was filmed with people commenting on the bruises on her face and body,” The Guardian reports.

Sherborne claims the video is relevant because it calls into question the integrity of Henriquez’s testimony, and how that relates to “the stair incident” of March 2015—the only instance in which Heard told the court she hit Johnny to protect her sister. Heard said she believed Depp was going to push Henriquez down the stairs like he “pushed a former girlfriend, I think it was Kate Moss, down the stairs,” she told the court on Tuesday. On Thursday, Henriquez denied Heard had ever hit her.

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Also on Friday, Heard’s acting coach Kristina Sexton testified via video call, saying that Heard told her Depp would rather “destroy” Heard than file for divorce, Page Six reports. Sexton said Heard was “embarrassed” but “had to leave him.” Sexton also provided a written statement in reference to the alleged “three-day hostage situation” in Australia in March 2015, writing, “[Heard] told me that he had broken the bottle and cut himself with the bottle that he had broken.”

Senior Writer, Jezebel. My debut book, LARGER THAN LIFE: A History of Boy Bands, is out now.

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DISCUSSION

mortal-dictata
Mortal Dictata

This trial has now gone from your standard farce to full TMZ shitshow.

Yesterday Heard’s sister on the stand and some actual material discrepancies were present as she suddenly wanted to shift a set of dates of incidents around. They were only minor (a period of two weeks in March 2013 IIRC) and could be understood as it was claimed to be wrongly labeling fights over similar objects (namely photos) but it is notable nonetheless as to why this is happening now all of a sudden and not when they put together the witness statement which does give the appearance of embellishment and at least twisting the truth if not outright lying, a problem with several witnesses in this trial, especially given the complete absence of any neutral voice and how much of it is indirect (i.e. “wasn’t in the room”).

Now though that actual credible route to doubting a key witness’s claims from Depp’s team’s perspective they pulled some fucking courtroom drama twist of an anonymous video being received overnight that proves Heard abused her sister, which in fact is a 36 second set of stitched together clips of a more than decade old reality TV show of women repeatedly pushing the sister about a supposed fight.

When you’re having to trust something so manufactured as reality tv for compelling evidence of abuse it’s pretty fucking desperate let alone that if you took it just straight up face value has them already having said the sister started some kind of dispute (which the sister in court has claimed was verbal only) and despite footage of one woman “examining” the sister you can’t see anything of detail because of how poor quality it is.

This is meant to be a trial about how much evidence you need to discuss allegations of domestic violence in an article and stopping them from gossiping about Depp’s private life but it’s just a fucking joke being played out as a testing ground for a US lawsuit between two people who clearly hate each other and indulgently played up for fucking twitter and the papers have had their best celebrity gossip story in years during a fairly news-empty period entertainment wise.