‘A Hell of My Own Doing’: Johnny Depp Repeatedly Apologized for Substance Use

The court heard a slew of texts Depp sent during the years he was with ex-wife Amber Heard. “I'm admittedly too fucked in the head to spray my rage at the one I love,” Depp wrote in one.
Anya Zoledziowski
Toronto, CA
Actor Johnny Depp testifies in the courtroom at the Fairfax County Circuit Court in Fairfax, Va., Thursday, April 21, 2022.
Johnny Depp testifies in the courtroom at the Fairfax County Circuit Court in Fairfax, Va., Thursday.  (Photo by Jim Lo Scalzo/Pool Photo via AP)

Texts and emails read out during Thursday’s cross-examination of Johnny Depp centered on Depp’s long battles with substance abuse and how they may have affected his relationship with his now ex-wife Amber Heard. 

Heard’s lawyer pointed to a text written by Depp to actor Paul Bettany after a night out in 2014. Depp wrote that the night before he got onto a private flight from Boston to Los Angeles, he had consumed half a bottle of whisky, “1,000 Red Bull and vodkas,” and pills, and then two bottles of champagne on the flight, and said he hadn’t eaten anything for days.

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In the text, Depp said he was “in a fucking blackout, screaming obscenities and insulting any fuck who got near. I'm admittedly too fucked in the head to spray my rage at the one I love.”

Heard’s legal team maintains that Depp blacked out on the chartered flight to L.A. They say Depp assaulted Heard and passed out on the floor of the plane’s washroom. 

Depp denies assault allegations and previously said he only drank one glass of champagne while on the flight. He also previously said he took two oxycodone pills and locked himself in the bathroom, so he could get away from Heard. Following the flight, Depp sent an apologetic email to Heard, which Heard’s lawyer read out loud in court: “Once again, I find myself in a place of shame and regret. Of course I am sorry. I really don't know why or what happened, but I will never do it again. I want to get better for you and for me. I must… I can’t live like that again and I know you can't either. I must get better and I will. For us both starting today. I love you again. I’m so sorry, so sorry.”

“Did I read that right?” Heard’s attorney asked.

“You did,” Depp said. 

Earlier in Depp’s testimony, he said his substance abuse issues have been “grossly embellished.” 

“The characterization of ‘substance abuse’ that’s been delivered by Ms. Heard is grossly embellished and I’m sorry to say but a lot of it is—it’s just plainly false,” Depp said earlier this week. “I think that it was an easy target for her to hit because once you’ve trusted somebody for a certain amount of years, and you’ve told them all the secrets of your life, that information and of course can be used against you.”

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Depp has maintained that Heard was the one who abused him. 

But many of the texts reveal a man battling with substance abuse. Depp references heavy use of drugs 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 her. 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.  

In a text to a friend following another alleged stint, Depp said, “I, of course, pounded and displayed ugly colors to Amber on a recent journey. I am an insane person and not so fair-headed after too much of the drink.”

“Pills fine. Booze, my capacity is too large and I won't stop. Ugly and sad. Oh, how I love it,” he wrote. 

The court heard that in December 2014, he wrote to Heard saying he “let it get too far.”  

In another exchange between Depp and his former security guard, the late Jerry Judge, Depp wrote, “We’ve been perfect. All I had to do was send the monster away and lock him up. We’ve been happier than ever.”

Heard’s lawyer also spoke about how Heard supported Depp while he sought sobriety; Depp sent messages to her and her family that showed his gratitude.

“Thank you so much for getting me fucking clean, baby,” Depp told Heard.

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In a 2014 text to Heard’s mom, Paige, Depp wrote, “It was a hell of my own doing and your little girl walked through with me step by step. I know you're already proud of her, but if you saw her in action, amazing.” 

The third day of Depp’s testimony also included at times violent text messages, including one where he said, “lets burn Amber!!!” 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. 

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. 

Heard has since filed a counterclaim for $100 million in damages, which the jury will also consider. She is expected to testify during the trial, which will last about six weeks and is currently in its second week. 

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