On Wednesday, Amber Heard took the stand for her third day of testimony as part of her ex-husband Johnny Depp’s libel suit against UK tabloid The Sun.
Depp is suing for $50 million, claiming the newspaper did irreversible damage to his career prospects by publishing a piece that describes him as a “wife beater.”
The trial has doubled as an opportunity for Heard to tell her side of the story before a captive global audience.
However, thus far, the efforts of both the actress and The Sun’s attorneys to depict Depp as a mercilessly abusive monster seem to be backfiring.
Right or wrong, there seems to be a prevailing pro-Depp sentiment on social media these days, and evidence introduced by The Sun that was supposed to damage Depp’s reputation seems to have only improved his standing with the general public.
The tabloid’s attorneys branded Depp as a drug addict, but he defied their efforts by leaning into the characterization:
He admitted to struggling with substance abuse issues, but claims that even at the height of his intoxication, he was never abusive toward Heard.
The Sun’s attorneys doubled down and presented the court with a photo of a passed-out Depp with a spilled ice cream container in his lap, and many viewed this as needlessly shaming an addict for issues he’s already admitted to.
Those developments came on the heels of an audio recording in which Heard admitted to hitting Depp during an altercation.
For those reasons, Heard’s testimony in the final days of the trial has been viewed by some as a last-ditch effort.
And on Wednesday she shared one of her most devastating abuse allegations to date, claiming that Depp held her “hostage” for a three days while filming a Pirates of the Caribbean film in Australia.
“The best way I can describe what happened in Australia is that it was like a three-day hostage situation,” Heard told the London courtroom, adding that Depp “had already been using and had a bag of drugs.”
“I was in a remote house, at least twenty minutes from help; where I could not leave; was trapped and isolated with a violent person suffering from manic depression, bipolar disorder and a pattern of repeated, drug-induced psychosis and violence, who was on a multiple day drug and alcohol binge,” she continued.
“Over the course of those three days, there were extreme acts of psychological, physical, emotional and other forms of violence. It is the worst thing I have ever been through,” the actress added.
“I was left with an injured lip and nose and cuts on my arms.”
Heard claims she and Depp were fighting over his drinking, contradicting his previous claim that she became upset because he asked her to sign a postnuptial agreement.
“He had given up the drinking for a while. It was on a list of: if this happens, I leave. He was taunting me to take [the bottle] and would revoke it when I reached,” she said.
“I got the bottle a second time and I smashed it on the floor between Johnny and me,” Heard added.
“I think it snapped something in him. He started picking up bottles and was using them like grenades or bombs, throwing them one after the other in my direction,”
Attorneys for Depp claim Heard’s claims are countered by such evidence as a photo that was taken after the alleged abuse in which she’s smiling alongside the actor and showing no evidence of the facial injuries she claims to have suffered.
They also point to the fact that Heard’s sister, Whitney Henriquez, moved into a penthouse owned by Depp in 2014, well after she would have known about the alleged abuse within Amber’s marriage.
Neither of those items serves as concrete evidence that The Sun was incorrect in its characterization of Depp, but either might be enough to net the actor a substantial payday from the newspaper’s parent company.
Of course, in the UK, as in the US, judges have greater discretion in civil cases than in criminal charges, and the plaintiffs are obligated only to provide a “preponderance of evidence” of Depp’s guilt, and not prove it beyond a reasonable doubt.
We’ll continue update you on this developing story as more information becomes available.
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