UPDATE, 2:15 PM ET: Much of the afternoon of the the cross examination of Johnny Depp was devoted to the reading of graphic text messages, and the airing of audio and video of angry outbursts and confrontations with Amber Heard.
As one audio clip ran near the end of the day’s proceedings, Depp, on the witness stand, wiped his eyes with his hand before grabbing a tissue.
The audio was from July, 2016, after the couple filed for divorce and Heard sought a restraining order against him.
Depp looked down at a computer screen as the audio was played. “Where do you want the scar?” Depp says. Heard pleads with him, “Don’t cut your skin. Please do not cut your skin. Why would I do that. Please do not do that. Please don’t cut yourself.”
Heard’s attorneys unleashed a barrage of messages throughout the day to try to show that Depp used violent language in texts with his wife.
In one, read by Heard’s attorney Ben Rottenborn, Depp wrote, “The only reason we go for the throat is love.” Heard wrote back, “My throat is yours. You’re going to be the death of me, but I don’t care.” Depp wrote back, “I have other uses for your throat which do not include injury.”
In the witness stand, Depp asked, “I’m sorry, could you read that again.” Some in the courtroom laughed.
Another series of texts were shown from May 22, 2016, the day after Depp and Heard’s confrontation at their downtown Los Angeles penthouse that led to her claim that he struck her, leaving her to seek a restraining order.
“Sorry, I’m just leaving Amanda’s birthday now,” Heard wrote.
“Just let me know when you have a minute. And I’ll give you a call…Nothing I have to say to you should elicit anything but, a sense of ease…All my love and profound apologies…”
Heard’s attorneys also played a video that Heard took of Depp slamming his kitchen cupboard and breaking other objects. In it, he pours a tall glass of wine. “Have you drunk this whole thing this morning?” Heard asks, before he discovers that she had been recording with her phone, and he appears to throw it.
“Clearly I was having a bad time,” Depp told the court. He acknowledged that he “did assault a couple of cabinets, but I did not touch Miss Heard.”
He said that Heard had illegally recorded the video, and that it “the most interesting part” was that she was shown smiling at the end of it.
“One does stray from complete control over their emotions at times, and that is very normal primal thing to do,” Depp said.
Another audio clip was played where Depp is heard using the “C” word about Heard, followed by the sound of what appeared to be him throwing up.
Rottenborn appeared determined at points not just to play clips once, but multiple times.
In a text that Depp sent to Heard’s father, David, in late December, 2015, the actor wrote, “Yes, I fucked up and went too far in our fight.” Depp said that the text didn’t refer to a “physical fight.”
But Rottenborn tried to show that a confrontation earlier in the month did get physical. He played audio in which Depp tells heard that “I head butted you in the fucking forehead. That doesn’t break a nose.”
“I did say those words, but I was using the words that Miss Heard was using, but there was not an intentional head butt,” Depp said. “If you want to have a peaceful conversation with ms Heard, you might have to placate a little bit.”
PREVIOUSLY: Johnny Depp faced further harsh and messy revelations today about his alcohol and drugs use while under cross examination in the $50 million defamation trial against Amber Heard.
Not that the man who portrayed the soused Capt. Jack Sparrow for years was taking it lying down – even with what came across as a storm of incriminating documentation.
“No, I wasn’t drinking that heavily …it’s what you define as heavily,” Depp snapped back at defense attorney Ben Rottenborn at one point when pressed about his intake in the last years of his long term relationship with Vanessa Paradis, the mother of his now two grown children.
Subsequently, the lawyer read out testimony from Depp’s failed 2020 UK libel case against The Sun tabloid where the actor had said “I was abusing alcohol for sure” during the end of the Paradis relationship. After quipping “were you there?” to Rottenborn over his drinking, Depp softly admitted that the testimony from the other side of the Atlantic was what he said, seemingly a contradiction to his stance in this case that he is not a heavy drinker and has pretty much never had a problem with booze.
Also at one point, communications from Depp were read out in the Virginia courthouse slamming the “French extortionist” and “ex-c*nt” in reference to Paradis – putting down a blueprint from the defense of a pattern of such excessive language and intent on Depp’s part.
However, in a day that saw references to Keith Richards and Elton John, among others, Depp’s apparently wide spread drug use was the primary focus of the latter part of today’s proceedings in the high profile battle between the ex-couple.
As more photographs and texts messages were displayed in court, Depp sought again to stress his intake wasn’t about enjoyment, but trying to handle the blast radius from his dysfunctional childhood and cinematic workload. “It’s not like I took the pills to get high, I took the pills to get normal,” the ex-Pirates of the Caribbean star declared of his addiction to Oxycodone several years ago.
The extent of that addiction and other substances was made crystal clear in a text one of his nurses who had commented on 2015’s Black Mass. “I was high as a mother*cker when I made that film,” Depp told the nurse with a digital laugh.
Later in the morning, the literary-aspiring Depp tried to give his own spin on his communications, as he has repeatedly over the past three days and in past court filings, “When I write a test especially if I’m in a particularly impassioned place it’s a canvas, it’s a painting,” the actor proclaimed before being shut down by Rottenborn.
Destruction of property in rooms full of “hookers and animals” and “blood” were also brought up today in a methodical process that aimed to fray Depp’s assertions of his personality and conduct in his relationship to Heard and previously. A May 2013 trip out to near Palm Springs with Heard and others was also entered into the record. Depp punched up a bathroom on that visit after an argument with openly bisexual Heard about the attention another woman was giving her.
Following up on that incident, an unflattering July 11, 2013 text to Avengers actor Paul Bettany, who was mentioned at length earlier in the day, was read out. “I of course pounded and displayed ugly colors to Amber on a recent journey,” Depp told Bettany as the duo planned a future trip together. “Ugly and sad, Oh, how I love it,’ Depp added to his friend.
A 2014 attempt at Depp detoxing saw the actor take a much less flamboyant and aggressive approach to his text. “Thank you so much for getting me f*cking clean baby,” he wrote Heard. Another communication to Heard’s mother after the detox effort praised the actress and said it “was Amber and Amber only that got me through this.”
Still, joining the defense’s modulated drip on Depp’s overall character and behavior, the actor being sued for allegedly striking location manager Greg “Rocky” Brooks on the LA set of City of Lies in 2017 was noted before the seven-person jury too. Brooks took the litigious Depp to LA Superior Court in July 2018 and the case is still winding its way through the judicial process.
Speaking much more clearly and with less affectation than in previous days, Depp admitted in court Thursday that he believed in 2014 Heard was having an “affair” with James Franco, with whom she was making a movie. The actor bristled over low key lawyer Rottenoborn’s description of him being “in a blackout” for portions of a private jet flight from Boston to LA where Depp and Heard fought over Franco.
Though confronted by testimony from his UK libel trial that said otherwise, Depp refused to admit he was “very drunk on that flight” and could not blackout from his consumption of Oxycodone. Later, the actor rambled about “caving in” in his British testimony before being cut off for brevity by Rottenborn. Depp also was not impressed by Rottenborn challenging his assertion that he had “lied” about being sober for 18 months before traveling to Australia in 2015 to work on the troubled Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales.
Indicative of how sharp elbowed things may get going forward for the rest of Thursday, an insurance form taken out by the Walt Disney Company for Depp’s role in the tentpole flick was introduced into the record just before the lunch break. The February 11 2015 dated document asked if Depp was taking “illegal substances, whether prescribed by a physician or not” and the actor checked “no.” The defense is contending that Depp lied on the form.
The pressure on Depp, who first sued Heard in March 2019 over a late 2018 Washington Post op-ed on domestic abuse, and his legal team is clearly being felt. “Mr. Rottenborn’s aggressive and, coincidentally, ‘jack-hammer’ approach toward a man who has suffered extensively over the last six years proves that the mistreatment of Johnny goes well beyond Ms. Heard’s grievous behavior,” a source close to the Depp team told Deadline as the morning wrapped up. “Colorful texts, which Johnny has already apologized for, do not equate to physical actions and Mr. Rottenborn still has not been able to connect the two, nor will he ever be able to,” they added
Jack-hammered or not, Depp’s cross examination is likely to take up the rest of the day after the lunch break. The five-week long trial will go dark on Friday, as it does every week
PREVIOUSLY, 8:24 AM: Johnny Depp’s own threatening words about Amber Heard and his substance-abuse issues came back to haunt the actor today in the $50 million defamation trial.
As the one-time couple and Rum Diary co-stars battle over domestic-abuse claims by Heard against Depp, the defense team put the spotlight on a series of incendiary, profanity-filled texts from the former Pirates of the Caribbean star to fellow thespian and late-night pal Paul Bettany.
Public for years and brought up in various legal actions, the damning 2013 and 2014 exchanges between Depp and WandaVision star Bettany detail the former’s desire to “burning,” “drowning” and having sex with the “burnt corpse” of Heard.
Much more subdued than in the highly charged closing minutes of Wednesday’s testimony, a black-suited Depp was asked at length about his abusive childhood and his aspirations to meet the standards of a “Southern gentleman,” as defense attorney Ben Rottenborn termed it. Still, Depp’s frustration with the lawyer’s probing was evident. “I don’t feel like I am wasting anyone’s time, sir,” the actor piped up on one occasion as Rottenborn tried to cut short a long-winded reply.
Evoking the name of the Avengers alum, Rottenborn listed off the substances that Depp and Bettany were said to have ingested in their times together, including cocaine, Xanax and Adderall, as well as booze. The defense lawyer also used the line of questioning as a way to slip in a reference to Depp’s unsuccessful 2020 UK libel trial against The Sun tabloid for calling the actor a “wife-beater” in print. That British matter is only allowed to be introduced to the jury in very specific context.
Laying a very obvious foundation to counter Depp and his team’s assertion of the actor’s behavior during the relationship with Heard, Rottenborn also read out a May 30, 2014 text to Bettany that seemed to give credence to Heard’s accusations of abuse and her ex-husband’s consumption levels. “Drank all night before I picked Amber up to fly to LA this past Sunday. Ugly mate. No food for days. Powders. Half a bottle of whisky,” Depp wrote. “An angry aggro injun in a fucking blackout, screaming obscenities and insulting any f*ck who got near,” the actor continued.
“She didn’t like it when it was her perception that I was high on drugs and alcohol,” a contrite and sometimes sunglasses wearing Depp said when asked of Heard’s feelings about his intake and the effect it had on him.
Over two years after the couple divorced amidst restraining orders and a $7 million settlement from the actor, Depp sued Heard in March 2019 in Virginia over a late 2018 Washington Post op-ed she penned on domestic abuse. While the op-ed never mentioned Depp by name, as Rottenborn made a repeated point of in his initial cross examination on Wednesday, the actor proclaimed that the article cost the one-time blockbuster cost actor big bucks roles, a return to the Pirates franchise and “devastated” his career. “Ms. Heard is not a victim of domestic abuse, she is a perpetrator,” Depp’s spring 2019 suit also stated.
After failing to both get the matter moved to California and dismissed, the Aquaman star countersued her litigious ex-husband for $100 million in September 2020.
Which, after a series of postponements, brought all to the Fairfax County Courthouse and seven-person jury – where Bettany is set to be called as a witness at some point.
In another set of texts read out in court to Patti Smith during the making of 2015’s Black Mass, Depp spoke of “getting shitty” to Heard. A 2014 text to Heard herself saw Depp apologizing for a clearly bad encounter between the couple: “I’m a fucking savage, gotta to lose that …the Devil is all around.”
A 2015 text to a staffer who had complimented Depp on how good he thought the actor and Heard could be together saw the Edward Scissorhands stars respond with “all I had to do was send the monster away and lock him up.” In another 2015 correspondence to Dr. David Kipper, who testified via pre-recorded video earlier in the much delayed trial, Depp bragged about what a great “three months” he and Heard had after he “locked my monster child away.”
But clearly the self-described “monster,” who was mentioned in other texts to other acquaintances, was never that far away for Depp and Heard.
“I’ll smack the ugly c*nt around before I let her in,” another 2014 text from Depp to a friend read. In a further 2015 text to his older sister, Depp referred to his then wife as “that filthy whore” Having warned the packed courtroom that there would be some very strong language used, Rottenborn’s cross examination continued as Heard herself sat mere feet away from Depp and the various lawyers.
Bristling under the glare of the questioning and exhibits, many of which his own attorneys sought redactions on, Depp’s best counter was to exclaim “I have a particular way of using words, vocabulary in my vernacular.”
That remark didn’t seem to impress the jury and other onlookers, many of whom are self-declared Depp fans. However, Depp did get a laugh out of some in the courtroom at a later point when he responded “Isn’t Happy Hour anytime?” to a query about his drinking habits.
A 2012 text to Depp’s buddy Marilyn Manson on the “plants and the pills” made for more fodder of the actor’s issues with drugs. “They have always been a medicine for me, a numbing agent,” Depp reiterated on Thursday of his use of various substances. While the Hollywood Vampire guitarist has insisted that he never used drugs to “party,” the depiction in court today, along with s series of photographs of Depp with drugs in his vicinity offered a very different POV.
The trial will go dark tomorrow, as Judge Penny Azcarate has scheduled the five-week long proceedings to run Monday to Thursday. The whole shebang will pause from May 9-12 as the judge has a previously scheduled conference engagement.
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