‘I Was Worried for Her’: Johnny Depp and Amber Heard’s Former Friend Testifies

“When the physical abuse was more evident, I was worried for her physical safety,” said Raquel Pennington, who was called by Heard’s team as a witness.
​Amber Heard and Johnny Depp in a Virginia court Thursday IN THE TRIAL OVER WHETHER Heard DEFAMED HER EX-HUSBAND DEPP.
Amber Heard and Johnny Depp in a Virginia court Thursday IN THE TRIAL OVER WHETHER Heard DEFAMED HER EX-HUSBAND DEPP. Photos by Kevin Lamarque/Pool Photo via AP

A former close friend of Amber Heard and Johnny Depp said she was concerned for Heard’s “physical safety” toward the end of her relationship with Depp, a Virginia courtroom heard Wednesday.

“In the beginning, I wasn’t worried,” Raquel Pennington said. “Towards the end, when the physical abuse was more evident, I was worried for her physical safety.”

“I was worried that when he turned, he might accidentally do something that was worse than he ever intended,” Pennington added, in reference to Depp’s alleged mood changes.


Pennington even lived in one of Depp’s penthouses. She said she took some of the images of Heard’s bruised and swollen face, and scalp with chunks of hair missing. 

“She often had to cover bruises and injuries on her face with makeup,” Pennington said in her pre-recorded testimony. She testified that she saw Heard applying the cover-up makeup.  

Pennington’s testimony is part of the $50 million defamation suit filed against Heard by Depp in response to a 2018 Washington Post op-ed that Heard wrote about her experiences with domestic assault. The piece didn’t name Depp, but the Oscar-nominated actor maintains it’s “plainly” about him and that it cost him his career. Heard is countersuing Depp for $100 million in damages. 

Both actors have taken to the stand to recount harrowing experiences during their time together. Both allege the other was abusive, while maintaining their own innocence. 

After Heard’s cross-examination ended Wednesday, Heard’s legal team started to bring in new witnesses to testify, including Pennington.

Pennington also spoke about an incident in May 2016 when she walked in on a fight between Heard and Depp after Heard had texted “come over.” When Pennington arrived, she said she could hear Heard calling “Help me.” 

Pennington testified that she went up to Depp as he was yelling, put her hands on his chest, and said “Stop, just stop.” 


“He hit my hands away, so I went straight over to Amber,” Pennington said, adding she put her body over Heard because “it was the thing to do.” She said she saw Depp smashing things while yelling. She also said that she logged a large, orange, ceramic ashtray nearby, and was planning on using it to hit Depp if he got closer.  She said Depp’s team came in to try and get Depp to leave.

Pennington also denied previous allegations, made by one of Depp’s lawyers, that the event was staged.   

The jury also heard the pre-recorded testimony from writer iO Tillett Wright. He said that at Depp and Heard’s wedding, Depp told him he could punch Heard “in the face.” 

“I was walking with Johnny and congratulating him that they pulled it off and that they did it,” Wright said. “And he said: ‘We’re married now. I can punch her in the face and nobody can do anything about it.’”

Wright said he never saw Depp hit Heard, but he had called 911 after he heard what sounded like a violence encounter between Depp and Heard over the phone. Wright testified that Heard had called him after Depp found poop on the bed. Heard told him Depp was accusing them of pooping in the bed, he said.

"I heard like a [punches hand] noise and then the phone dropped and he said to her, 'Oh, you think I hit you? You think I fucking hit you? What if I peel your fucking hair back?'” said Wright. “Then I heard the phone drop again and then I heard her scream."

Wright, who was in New York at the time, said he called Pennington and then 911.

Wright also testified that Depp had told him that he was often jealous, which resulted in “rage activities” and “a lot of drinking.” 

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