Johnny Depp on the stand in Fairfax, Virginia, Thursday, in the TRIAL OVER WHETHER AMBER HEARD DEFAMED him. Photo by Jim Lo Scalzo/Pool Photo via AP
Violent text messages sent by Johnny Depp while he was still with Amber Heard—including one where he wrote, “I will fuck her burnt corpse afterwards to make sure she is dead”—were brought up by Heard’s legal team during Depp’s cross-examination on Thursday. The Oscar-nominated actor is in court this week trying to disprove his ex-wife’s allegations that he physically and sexually abused her while they were together.
During the cross-exam, Depp acknowledged at times violent text messages that he sent to Heard and other friends, including actor Paul Bettany, while he was still in a relationship with Heard.In 2013, Depp texted Bettany, “Lets burn Amber!!!” said Heard’s lawyer, J. Benjamin Rottenborn. He then wrote, “Let’s drown her before we burn her!!!”Heard’s attorney then said, “You said, ‘I will fuck her her (sic) burnt corpse afterwards to make sure she is dead’… and you wrote that about the woman who would later become your wife.”Depp replied, “Yes, I did.” Then in 2015, Depp texted someone with the contact name “sis”—possibly Heard’s sister, concluded an exchange between Depp and Rottenborn. In the text, Depp wrote, “I’m alright. Though, I never ever want to lay eyes on that filthy whore Amber.”“When you called Amber that ‘filthy whore’, she was your wife at the time, correct?” Heard’s lawyer said. Depp said yes.Another text written by Depp from 2014 said, “I’ll smack the ugly cunt around before I let her in.”When Rottenborn asked if he’d read the texts correctly, Depp said, “You did, sir.” Many of the texts reveal a man battling with substance abuse. Depp references heavy use of drugs—powders and pills—and alcohol. During the multi-day testimony, references to the “monster” come up repeatedly as a metaphor for Depp’s reliance on substances. Depp originally said the term was used to appease Heard, but several text messages reveal he used the metaphor when talking to others, too—not just Heard. According to Depp, he had tried most drugs by age 15.
“They’ve always been a medicine for me. A numbing agent,” Depp said Thursday. The court heard that in December 2014, he wrote to Heard saying he “let it get too far.” “We/I tend to do that,” Depp wrote. “I don't want to be conditioned to continue that behaviour. Therefore I'll put in heavy work with drink. I'm sorry for being less… I’m a fucking savage. I’ve got to lose that… Know that you are right I am well aware that I should have been bigger than the moment, and that it'll never again manifest in negative experiences. It can be done.” In a text to his security detail, Depp said he and Heard were “perfect” and all he had to do was “send the monster away and lock him up.” The shocking revelations come amid another contentious battle in court for Heard and Depp over their tumultuous marriage. Depp launched a defamation suit against Heard for $50 million in response to a 2018 Washington Post op-ed that Heard wrote about her experiences with sexual assault—and the backlash she said she received for speaking out against it. While Heard didn’t name Depp in her piece, Depp’s team maintains it was “plainly” about him, and that it cost him a lot of work. "When the allegations were made, when the allegations were rapidly circling the globe, telling people that I was a drunken, cocaine-fueled menace who beat women, suddenly in my 50s, it's over," Depp said earlier this week.
Heard has since filed a counterclaim for $100 million in damages, which the jury will also consider.In his three days on the stand, Depp has repeatedly denied that he abused the Aquaman star, and accused Heard of being violent herself. He’s gone deep into his childhood with an abusive mother and talked a lot about Pirates of the Caribbean, and how the mega successful franchise changed his life. He also recounted his relationship with Heard, and how it changed over time. During the trial, Heard’s legal team publicly accused Depp for the first time of sexually assaulting the actress. They said he allegedly went on a bender in Australia in 2016, became physically violent, and then penetrated Heard with an alcohol bottle. A spokesperson for Depp denied the allegations, calling them “fabricated.” The couple married in 2015, and settled their divorce in August 2016.This isn’t Depp’s first court case of the sort. Depp also sued UK-based News Group Newspapers and the Sun’s executive editor, Dan Wootton, for libel after the paper referred to Depp as a “wife-beater.” Depp lost the case in 2020 after a UK court ruled that the tabloids’ claims were “substantially true.” Heard is expected to testify during the trial, which will last about six weeks and is currently in its second week. Follow Anya Zoledziowski on Twitter.