Actor Amber Heard alleged on Monday that she would “resort to reactively hitting” her now ex-husband Johnny Depp in response to the abuse she says she experienced at his hands.
Heard took the stand for a third day as part of the tumultuous defamation trial between her and Depp. During her testimony Monday, Heard responded to an audio recording from September 2015 where Depp audibly says, “You punched me in the face.”
“I didn’t punch you,” Heard responds. “I hit you. I did not punch you. I did not fucking deck you.”
During the conversation, Depp repeatedly says Heard punched him and explains that he removed himself from the situation, while Heard makes the distinction between a “punch” and a “hit.” When the recording was replayed for Heard in court on Monday, the Aquaman star said that their conversation was about the “disparity between Johnny and I in our physical fights.”
“He would proactively punch me, and I would have to resort to reactively hitting him,” Heard told the court. “I am talking about the difference between a punch, which Johnny did often, and having to hit him in my defence.”
It was one of several altercations between the former couple that have been recounted in court. Depp launched a $50 million defamation suit against Heard in response to a 2018 Washington Post op-ed that Heard wrote about her experiences with domestic abuse. 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 counter-suing Depp for $100 million in damages. A UK court has also previously decided that Depp likely did assault Heard.
Monday marks the third day of Heard’s testimony. She has made several allegations against the Pirates of the Caribbean actor, including that Depp had performed a “cavity search” on her and penetrated her with an alcohol bottle.
Depp took the stand earlier in the trial, where he denied allegations of abuse and instead said Heard abused him. He previously told the jury about a 2015 incident during which he says Heard severed one of his fingers after she threw a bottle at him.
Depp’s legal team has also alleged that Heard’s struggles with mental health affected the relationship. But on Monday, Heard briefly denied mental health-related allegations that have circled the trial.
“I’ve never had an eating disorder,” she said. “I’ve never been diagnosed with bipolar disorder.”
Heard also spoke of altercations that allegedly took place towards the end of their relationship. She said Depp punched her, pulled her hair, shoved her, and then regularly threatened to bring his friends and staff in to “back him up.”
“Almost all of our fights he’d call his friends or staff to back him up,” Heard said. That was what I had to agree to over and over again just to hope we could have a convo at some point in a more therapeutic sense.”
“That was his MO,” she added.
During another altercation, on Heard’s birthday in April 2016, Heard said Depp stormed out after a big argument. She said he had pointed to her body and face and said, “No one would ever love me … Because all of this was going to go away and no one would ever love me.”
Heard has also repeatedly referenced how Depp’s substance use—and jealousy—affected their relationship. Heard told the jury that Depp would use substances, lash out, and then apologize. She said he’d then promised to abstain from drinking and using drugs, and their relationship would improve until the cycle started over again. Heard maintains that Depp would often try to control her career and become rageful if he got jealous.
Heard’s cross-examination is expected to start this week.