Today, just hours before it was reported that Amber Heard’s role was recast in the Aquaman sequel (a Heard spokesperson has since disputed the news a rumor), Today aired part one of Savannah Guthrie’s exclusive sit-down interview with the actress, wherein she doubled down on all of her abuse claims against ex-husband, Johnny Depp.
“To my dying day [I] will stand by every word of my testimony,” Heard told Guthrie of the former couple’s highly-publicized defamation trial, which was prompted by Heard’s now-infamous Washington Post op-ed and culminated in a ruling that both parties defamed each other to some degree. Depp was awarded $15 million—which a judge reduced to a total of $10.4 million—in compensatory and punitive damages, while Heard was awarded $2 million in compensatory damages.
The second part of the interview is set to air tomorrow, and in its entirety on a Dateline special this Friday. However, if the first installment is any indication of how the remainder of the interview will transpire, frankly, I’m perplexed.
Firstly, it can’t be overstated that after several months of Today’s coverage, Guthrie only just admitted—and quite cavalierly—that her husband conducted pre-trial “consulting work” for Depp’s team at the start of an interview with the actor’s legal counsel last week. “A quick disclosure, my husband has done consulting work for the Depp legal team, but not in connection with this interview,” Guthrie said before a swift segue.
Guthrie also recently interviewed Heard’s attorney, Elaine Bredehoft, and notably did not disclose the fact that her husband had aided the opposing counsel.
Still, she managed to secure the coveted post-trial interview with Heard, in which she grilled the actress about who instigated the couple’s fights and leaned on Heard to explain the damning audio recordings wherein she admits to abusing her ex-husband. “I am looking at a transcript that says...he says, ‘You start physical fights,’ and you say, ‘I did start a physical fight. I can’t promise you I won’t get physical again,’” Guthrie read, before adding, “This is in black and white. I understand context. But you’re testifying, and you’re telling me today, ‘I never started a physical fight,’ and here you are on tape saying you did.”
Consistent with weeks of trial testimony, Heard reiterated her the claim that she acted in self-defense, only becoming physical with Depp once he had. She even likened the audio clips—particularly the one in which she tells Depp she hit him—to “evidence of a negotiation of how to talk about that to your abuser.”
“As I testified on the stand about this, is that when your life is at risk, not only will you take the blame for things that you shouldn’t take the blame for—but when you’re in an abusive dynamic, psychologically, emotionally and physically, you don’t have the resources that, say, you or I do, with the luxury of saying, ‘Hey, this is black and white,’” Heard said. “Because it’s anything but, when you’re living in it.”
In another impassioned exchange, Guthrie attempts to explain the Constitution to Heard, saying, “The First Amendment protects free speech, but it doesn’t protect lies that amount to defamation. And that was the issue with the case.”
Heard responded that she merely “spoke truth to power,” to which Guthrie quickly replied, “But truth is the word. And that was the issue.”
“And that’s all I spoke. I spoke it to power, and I paid the price,” the actress concluded.
Other notable clips of the interview include Heard saying she didn’t blame the jury for siding with Depp, as he is “a fantastic actor” and “beloved character.” She also noted the sizable impact social media had on the legal proceedings. It’s previously been reported that scores of pro-Depp accounts across platforms—namely, Twitter and TikTok—significantly vilified Heard, and even biased bots played a role.
As a viewer, it’s impossible not to wonder how Guthrie—despite her personal ties to the case—was able to interview Heard, and why Heard even agreed to the televised sit-down with this particular journalist at all. A Heard spokesperson recently told People that Depp’s legal team “blanketed the media for days” in the wake of the verdict, doing multiple television interviews and issuing statements, as did Depp on social media.
“Ms. Heard simply intended to respond to what they aggressively did last week; she did so by expressing her thoughts and feelings, much of which she was not allowed to do on the witness stand,” the spokesperson said.
Speaking of Depp, the actor recently joined TikTok, announced a forthcoming album and, while on tour in the U.K. with close friend and musician, Jeff Beck, has found himself at the center of mobs of adoring fans. Meanwhile, he’s due back in court this July—with none other than now-famous Camille Vasquez representing him—thanks to an assault-related lawsuit from 2018. In court documents, a location manager on a film Depp starred in, alleges the actor punched him twice in the rib cage and inflicted “emotional distress” through verbal attacks.
It’s been noted that Heard is hardly innocent, and there is, in fact, credible evidence to support that she’s lied in the past. However, given she’s currently publicly doubling down—repeatedly standing by allegations that weren’t even detailed in the op-ed at the center of it all—if she’s being untruthful now, she’s either a certified sociopath, the bravest liar on earth apart from every U.S. lawmaker or, the least plausible in the minds of a startling majority of the internet, maybe telling the truth.