Johnny Depp is a “remarkable man” when he is “clean and sober” but the “other side of him was a monster”, Amber Heard has told the High Court.
In her fourth day in the witness box in her ex-husband’s libel case against The Sun newspaper, the Aquaman actress said she had been “so in love” with Depp and had “always held out hope” that he would get clean.
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The court has heard that in a series of text messages to her mother Paige in March 2013, Heard, 34, described Depp, 57, as “violent and crazy” and said: “I’m heartbroken that this is who I love.”
Depp is suing the tabloid’s publisher, News Group Newspapers, and its executive editor Dan Wootton over an April 2018 article that labelled him a “wife beater”.
On Thursday Heard was questioned by Sasha Wass, representing NGN, who read out text messages the actress sent her mother on 22 and 23 March 2013.
In her first witness statement, Heard claimed that in March 2013, Depp hit her with the back of his hand, which caused her blood to hit the wall, after an argument about a painting by her ex-partner Tasya van Ree which was hanging in her house in Los Angeles. He denies this.
Wass told the court that in one text to her mother, Heard wrote: “It’s terrible, mum. I don’t know what to do.”
Another read: “He’s nuts, mum. Violent and crazy. I’m heartbroken that this is who I love.”
In a third, she wrote: “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.”
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.
“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.”
As she read out the messages, Wass told the court Heard’s mother had suggested she informed her father, to which the actress replied: “I can’t tell dad.”
Heard explained to the court: “I felt safe to tell my mother, but I didn’t know how my dad would react. I had never been in this situation before and I didn’t know if he would react violently… to Johnny.
“I didn’t want to make it worse.”
Heard’s sister told the court she “felt sick” when she learned the actress was going to marry Depp.
Whitney Henriquez said she “begged” Heard not to go through with the marriage, telling her “him [Depp] putting a ring on her finger was not going to stop him hitting her”.
In a written witness statement, Henriquez said when she first met Depp he seemed “very sweet” and she was “surprised how much I liked him”.
The pair became close, “like brother and sister”, she claimed, with Depp calling her “sis”.
But Henriquez also said her sister’s relationship with the actor was “tumultuous from the start”.
Her statement said: “I wasn’t aware of violence at the beginning, but I do remember Amber talking about them having big fights and being concerned for my sister.
“Amber told me that they would (verbally) fight – sometimes for days on end – and then go days without speaking to each other.”
Henriquez said there were “other things that also worried me”, claiming Depp did not like Heard working and both actors would tell her about fights which began over her taking film roles.
She claimed Depp would “get upset” about outfits Heard wanted to wear to events and alleged he made her change into a “less revealing” dress for the Art of Elysium gala in 2014.
She alleged Depp was “incredibly jealous and possessive and was threatened by her former partners and co-stars, both men and women”.
Her statement said: “I was with them in Brazil in September 2015 when they had a huge fight because she and I were leaving early so she could do a screen test for Aquaman.
“I remember his assistant, Nathan Holmes, and I joking about the fact we hoped she didn’t get the role because Johnny would go crazy when he saw a picture of Jason Momoa, her co-star.”
Henriquez alleged Depp was “verbally abusive, even when he was sober”.
Her statement said: “He could insult her and say he loved her in the same sentence, with equal amounts of passion. I remember him often saying ‘f****** ugly c***, you fat whore… but god I f****** love you” – and things like this.”
Henriquez alleged she was often asked to intervene when the couple were fighting, earning her the nickname “the marriage counsellor”.
She claimed she “began to notice signs of physical abuse, like bruises or cuts or burns on her [Heard’s] arm” and this was “early on”.
She alleged she first asked her sister about it in mid-2013, and Heard “always had an excuse”.
The statement said: “I didn’t challenge her about it initially.
“We all fell in love with Johnny and he was like a brother to me.
“I didn’t want to believe that this person I loved was hurting someone else I loved.
“Later, when she was more open about it – and after she left him – she apologised to me for not being honest when I confronted her, and explained she was trying to protect him.”
Henriquez’s statement later says: “Over time, I tried to intervene, telling her she had to leave.
“When they got engaged in September 2013, I felt sick about it when she called to tell me.
“I told her it was a bad idea, begged her not to go through with it and said that she should end it because it wasn’t going to get better.
“I asked her, ‘why are you putting up with this?’ and told her that him putting a ring on her finger was not going to stop him hitting her.”
Henriquez claimed she confronted Depp for the first time in 2014.
Her statement said: “I remember saying to him, ‘why did you f****** have to hit her?’.
“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’.
“He blamed her for it, saying things like, ‘I just love her so much but this is what she does to me’ and never really took responsibility for it.”
Henriquez claimed she became estranged from Heard for a period around 2015, after Depp accused her of “selling stories to the media”.
In her statement, she said: “Amber believed him and was devastated. I was upset that she believed Johnny over me, and there was a long period in 2015 when I was estranged from Amber and Johnny because of this.
“At some point in January 2016, I sought reconciliation because I was really worried about Amber and did not want to be cut off from her. I knew I had done nothing wrong and I was angry at Johnny, but I apologised just so I could be around to keep an eye on her.”
Depp denies being violent towards Heard.
The blockbuster case, the biggest English libel trial of the 21st century, is due to finish next week with closing submissions from both sides’ legal teams on Monday and Tuesday.
Picture: Aaron Chown/PA Wire