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Johnny Depp testifies that Amber Heard was violent towards him


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Actor Johnny Depp, testifying on Wednesday in a $50million defamation case against his ex-wife Amber Heard, said it was she who turned violent when their relationship soured, hurling verbal insults that sometimes degenerated into a slap or a push.

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After detailing their first romance during his testimony on Tuesday, Depp returned to the witness box in a Virginia courtroom. The actor said Heard’s behavior had changed and included “degrading name-calling” and “bullying”.

“It felt like pure hate to me,” Depp said. “If I stayed to argue, eventually, I was sure it would escalate into violence, and often it did.”

Johnny Depp testifies that Amber Heard was violent towards him
Amber Heard arrives in the courtroom for the libel lawsuit against her at the Fairfax County Courthouse in Fairfax, Virginia on April 20, 2022. Photo by EVELYN HOCKSTEIN/POOL /AFP via Getty Images

Asked to describe the violence, Depp said Heard would “stand down.”

“It could start with a slap. It could start with a push. It could start by throwing a TV remote at my head. It could be throwing a glass of wine in my face,” Depp said.

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Depp added that he withdrew from the situation, sometimes locking himself in the bathroom, and never hit Heard.

The ‘Pirates of the Caribbean’ star, 58, is suing Heard, 35, for defamation after accusing him of abuse.

Depp accused Heard, also an actor, of defaming him when she wrote a December 2018 opinion piece in The Washington Post about being a survivor of domestic violence. He filed a $50 million lawsuit against Heard in 2018.

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The article never mentioned Depp by name, but Depp’s attorney, Benjamin Chew, told jurors a week ago it was clear Heard was referring to the leading man in Hollywood.

Heard’s lawyers argued that she spoke the truth and that her opinion was protected as free speech under the First Amendment to the US Constitution. In opening arguments, Heard’s attorneys said Depp physically and sexually assaulted her while she was using drugs and alcohol.

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A state court judge in Fairfax County, Va., is overseeing the trial, which is in its second week and is expected to last six weeks.

Less than two years ago, Depp lost a libel case against The Sun, a British tabloid that called him a “wife beater”. A High Court judge in London ruled that he repeatedly assaulted Heard and made him fear for his life.

In the US case, Depp and Heard both submitted long lists of potential witnesses they could call, including Heard’s former boyfriend and Tesla chief executive Elon Musk and actor James Franco.

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Depp’s attorneys said they filed the case in Fairfax County, a suburb of the US capital, because The Washington Post is printed there. The Washington Post is not accused in this case.

The United States is a difficult forum for libel plaintiffs, especially public figures like Depp, who must prove with clear and convincing evidence that Heard knowingly made false statements.

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Heard, known for her roles in “Aquaman” and “Justice League,” filed her own libel suit against Depp, claiming he defamed her by calling her a liar.

Heard’s counterclaim, seeking $100 million in damages, will be decided at trial.

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