Depp v. Heard (Updated)

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Ever since they started dating in 2014, Johnny Depp and Amber Heard’s relationship has always been rocky. But now, in an all-too-public court preceding, casual viewers and fans of the couple realize the relationship was worse than ever imagined.

Depp and Heard famously married in 2015, though toxic relationship dynamics caused the two to split just a year later. In 2018, Heard published an op-ed article detailing her experience as a women speaking up against sexual violence. Though Depp was not named in the article, he claims it has painted a negative image of him in the film industry and cost him subsequent roles. Depp is now in the process of suing Heard for $50 million in a case of defamation.

The trial, which started on Apr. 11, is set to last for six weeks. Depp’s testimony ran from Apr. 19 to Apr. 26. Over that time, the public has gained a tremendous amount of insight into Depp and Heard’s relationship. As of right now, the ex-couple has accused each other of several instances of domestic violence that took place over the course of their relationship.

You didn’t get punched; you got hit. I’m sorry I hit you like this, but I did not punch you.”

— Amber Heard

Heard claims that Depp bruised her by throwing a phone in 2016. Depp denies the accusation stating, “never did I myself reach the point of striking Ms. Heard in any way nor have I ever struck any women in my life,” though he has claimed to have physically defended himself from Heard. Depp and Heard’s marriage counselor, Laurel Anderson, testified in court saying that the former couple “engaged in what I saw as mutual abuse.Audio recordings of disputes between the actors have been played during court, one of which presents Heard detailing an act of domestic violence she made against Depp.

“You didn’t get punched; you got hit. I’m sorry I hit you like this, but I did not punch you,” Heard allegedly said in the recordings.

One topic of focus during the trial is a claim made by Depp on how Heard severed his fingertip when she allegedly threw a bottle of vodka at him, causing him to undergo several surgeries and contract MRSA

I didn’t want to disclose that it had been Ms. Heard who had thrown a vodka bottle at me and taken my finger off,” Depp said. “I didn’t want to get her in trouble. I tried to just keep things as copacetic and easy as possible for everyone. I didn’t want to put her into that mix.

Dr. David Kipper, who treated Depp’s finger, confirms parts of Depp’s story. Heard’s lawyers have discussed statements made by Depp to the ER doctor at the time to argue that Depp cut his own finger, however Depp has denied these allegations.

Heard’s attorney, Ben Rottenborn, presented text messages from Depp to his friends and coworkers as evidence due to the mention of Heard’s “rotting corpse” along with other disturbing details. Depp countered by testifying how he uses “dark humor” to express himself. 

Though a serious ordeal, the internet has found humor in the case regarding Heard’s lawyers, particularly Rottenborn. Starring in YouTube videos, Instagram reels, and Tik Toks, Rottenborn has become almost as famous as his client. Rottenborn has proven to be another notorious figure in this bitter case.

With Depp’s testimony concluded and four weeks left in the trial, it seems Depp’s support only rises while Heard’s is quite the opposite. The final decision and eventual consequences will be made known to the public on May 24.

                                                                               

Update:

 

On Tuesday, May 3, Johnny Depp wrapped up his testimony. The day after, Amber Heard took the stand to defend herself against the allegations Depp discussed. Her testimony lasted for three hours and detailed her romance with Depp along with mention of domestic abuse she endured.

 “When I was around Johnny, I felt like the most beautiful person in the world,” Heard said.  

The description of love quickly changed when attorney Elain Bredhoft asked her if she remembered the first time Depp struck her. 

“I will never forget [the time he hit me],”  Heard said. “It changed my life.”

Heard reflected on the time she asked Depp about a tattoo on his arm, and he replied saying that it read “Wino.”

“I just laughed because I thought he was joking, and he slapped me across the face,” Heard said. “And I laughed. I laughed because I didn’t know what else to do. I thought this must be a joke. I didn’t know what was going on. I just stared at him.”

Testifying that he hit her twice more, Heard explained how she felt she should leave Depp, but was unable due to her love for him. She finished her account by claiming Depp cried on his knees saying, “I thought I put the monster away.” Heard mentions that the two resolved the dispute shortly after and that Depp promised he’d never hit her again.

“I believed there was a line he’d never cross again and that was it,” Heard said.

Heard continues her testimony with explanations of other instances of abuse, which Heard credited to alcohol, that appeared throughout the couple’s relationship. The most prominent of these incidents occured after a party in a desert lodging area made up of trailers. Depp allegedly accused Heard of hiding his drugs and performed a “cavity search” on her. 

A forensic scientist, Dawn Hughes, was the first witness to be called to the stand. During that time she explained how Heard has been diagnosed with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder due to the violence she experienced from Depp. 

“What the tests show is that there were high degrees of serious violence perpetrated by Mr. Depp toward Ms. Heard,” Hughes said. “There was violence more on the mild level perpetrated by Ms. Heard toward Mr. Deppp with one severe indicator which was the punching that she indicated to me. She was subjected to sexual violence where Mr. Depp, based on her report, was subjected to none.”

The audio recording of the “punch not hit” dispute, but was once again played in the court. Depp’s attorney, Wayne Denisson, asked Hughes if she believed the incident depicted Heard fighting back against Depp.

“In this instance, if true, if she said she hit him first, then that would not be reactive violence,” Hughes said.

Hughes’ testimony continued with Dennison pressing her on the claims of mild violence that the psychologist mentioned Heard committed. The attorney showed a photo of Depp’s partially severed finger and explained the context.

“That photograph doesn’t reflect a low level of violence, does it?” Dennison asked.

“That reflects a serious injury,” Hughes responded.

Viewers are skeptical of Heard’s accounts. Despite the conflicting testimonies between the actors, witness reports have poked some holes in Heard’s story. However, with only a week left in the trial, anything can happen.