NOTE: This article contains details and descriptions that are graphic and disturbing. Please read at your own discretion.
Amber Heard took the stand for the first time on Wednesday to deliver her testimony against ex-husband Johnny Depp, who is accusing her of ruining his reputation and career with false accusations of domestic violence.
Her testimony has been highly anticipated, as jurors and viewers around the world have watched for the last three weeks as the A-list couple try to prove the other was the more toxic person in the relationship.
In the legal battle between the two stars, both Heard, 36, and Depp, 58, claim to be victims of violence. The initial court case began when Depp filed a $50-million defamation lawsuit over a Washington Post op-ed penned by Heard in late 2018 about domestic abuse.
Heard did not mention Depp by name in the article, but the actor alleges his reputation and career were still “devastated” as a result.
Heard began her testimony following the cross-examination of Dr. Dawn Hughes, a forensic psychologist.
As she took the stand, Heard told the jury this trial process has been “incredibly painful” and “the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do.”
She discussed how she met her ex-husband Depp while auditioning for The Rum Diary in 2008, a film in which the actors co-starred. She testified the pair bonded over books, poetry and old blues music.
On Tuesday, after Depp’s legal team finished questioning their witnesses, Heard’s lawyers asked the judge to dismiss the lawsuit, arguing that Depp had failed to make his case as a matter of law and that no reasonable jury could find in his favour.
Judge Penney Azcarate said the standard for dismissing a case at this point in the trial is exceedingly high, and that the case should be allowed to move forward if Depp has provided even a “scintilla” of evidence backing up his claims; she then dismissed the motion.
Heard’s lawyers then began questioning Dr. Hughes. Among her chief testimony, Dr. Hughes said she diagnosed Heard with PTSD after 29 hours of interviews. (The forensic psychologist brought by Depp said the opposite, that Heard did not have PTSD.)
Dr. Hughes again disputed testimony from Depp’s forensic psychologist, who had claimed Heard suffered from borderline and histrionic personality disorders. Dr. Hughes told the jury Heard does not have any form of personality disorder.
In stark contrast to Depp’s own testimony, Dr. Hughes also testified Heard endured many sexual assaults at the hands of Depp, including being forced to perform oral sex and having Depp penetrate her with a liquor bottle.
Earlier in the trial, Depp testified he never physically abused Heard or any other woman. He’s maintained that Heard was an instigator in the relationship, who would push him to become embroiled in profane arguments. He also said that Heard punched, kicked and threw objects at him over the course of their relationship.
Depp’s testimony included reference to his former opioid addiction, though he maintains he is not and has never been an addict (apart from Roxicodone). Several heated audio and video recordings of the couple arguing were played in court.
A now infamous trip to Australia where Depp severed the tip of his finger has also been at the centre of the trial. Depp has alleged he lost the digit when Heard threw a vodka bottle at his hand, though her lawyers deny this, claiming he wounded himself in a drunken rage.
Heard is countersuing Depp for $100-million.
— With files from The Associated Press