Actors Johnny Depp and Amber Heard are in a contentious defamation trial in a Virginia court, with proceedings set to resume on Monday.
Depp is suing Heard, his ex-wife, for $50 million over a 2018 op-ed she wrote for The Washington Post in which she described herself as a “public figure representing domestic abuse.” Though Depp was not named in the article, he claims it cost him lucrative acting roles.
Both Heard and Depp, who met in 2009 and were married from 2015-2016, accuse the other of acts of physical violence during their relationship. They have both denied the other’s claims.
The former couple settled their divorce in August 2016, releasing a joint statement which read in part, “Our relationship was intensely passionate and at times volatile, but always bound by love.”
The trial, which started on April 11, is set to last six weeks. Heard has not yet testified.
Depp began his testimony on April 19, and he is expected to continue being cross-examined by Heard’s attorney on Monday.
Here’s some of what came up during his testimony so far.
Heard alleged in 2016 that Depp was “verbally and physically abusive” to her, according to a complaint she filed that year, alleging Depp bruised her face after throwing a phone at her in their Los Angeles home.
Depp denied the allegation and was not charged with any crime.
Depp testified Tuesday that the couple frequently argued but said, “Never did I myself reach the point of striking Ms. Heard in any way nor have I ever struck any woman in my life.”
Audio recordings of some of their heated exchanges have been played in court, including one in which Heard discussed striking Depp.
“You didn’t get punched; you got hit. I’m sorry I hit you like this, but I did not punch you,” Heard purportedly said.
Laurel Anderson, a clinical psychologist who worked with Depp and Heard in 2015 as their marriage counselor, testified in a video played in court on April 14 that Heard told her she “fought back” after Depp would become physical. Anderson said the former couple “engaged in what I saw as mutual abuse.”
Depp has also claimed he physically defended himself at times, speaking about one incident in which Heard said her nose was injured. Depp said in court that his head connected with Heard’s forehead while he was trying to “restrain” Heard.
“There was not an intentional head butt,” the actor said.
A severed finger
Depp testified that his finger was severed by shattered glass in 2015 after Heard allegedly threw a bottle of vodka at him. He sought medical care but said in court that he told others at the time that he injured his finger by slamming it in a door.
“I didn’t want to disclose that it had been Ms. Heard that had thrown a vodka bottle at me and then took my finger off,” he said during his testimony. “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.”
Depp said he has had multiple surgeries to repair the finger and contracted Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) during recovery. MRSA causes staph infections that are resistant to some antibiotics and often are difficult to treat.
Dr. David Kipper, who has treated Depp, corroborated portions of Depp’s story in a deposition played in court this week.
Heard’s lawyers have referenced statements Depp made to ER doctors at the time to argue that Depp cut off his own finger. Depp denies this.
Depp was also asked about his actions following his injury, including when he used his injured finger to write on the walls with a mixture of his blood and paint. Depp confirmed in court that he had done so.
Heard’s attorney Ben Rottenborn introduced several text messages Depp sent to friends and staff members as evidence on Thursday, one of which referenced Heard’s “rotting corpse.”
Depp testified he was “embarrassed” by the messages read in court and said he uses “dark humor” at times to express himself.
Other text messages were shared in which Depp discussed his drug use and alcohol use with friends like actor Paul Bettany and musician Marilyn Manson.
‘Pirates of the Caribbean’
As Depp’s lawsuit focuses on the damage that has been done to his once lucrative career, some conversation was focused on “Pirates of the Caribbean,” the popular franchise that Depp led for five films over 15 years.
Rottenborn, Heard’s lawyer, argued that Depp was aware he was “likely out” of the sixth film or that Disney would drop or shrink his role in it, prior to the publication of Heard’s op-ed. Depp denied this.
“I would be a real simpleton to not think that there was an effect on my career based on Ms. Heard’s words, whether they mentioned my name or not,” Depp said on the stand.
Depp sheepishly admitted in his testimony that he has not seen the first film in the “Pirates” franchise. He said, however, “I believed in the character wholeheartedly.”
However, when asked by Rottenborn, “If Disney came to you with $300 million and a million alpacas, nothing on this Earth would get you to go back and work with Disney on a ‘Pirates of the Caribbean’ film, correct?”
“That is true, Mr. Rottenborn,” Depp replied.
Depp added on his career: “One day you’re Cinderella so to speak and then in zero point six seconds you’re Quasimodo. I didn’t deserve that and nor did my children, nor did the people who had believed in me all these years.”