Amber Heard Defends Op Ed At Center Of Defamation Case, Says That She Still Loves Johnny Depp And Has “No Bad Feelings Or Ill Will” Toward Him — Update

By Ted Johnson, Dominic Patten

(AP Photo/Craig Hudson, File)

UPDATE: Amber Heard said that even after a humiliating trial jury’s verdict largely in favor of Johnny Depp, she has “no bad feelings or will will” toward her ex husband.

In another excerpt of her interview with NBC News’ Savannah Guthrie, Heard said that she still loves Depp.

“I love him. I love him with all my heart. And I tried my best to make a deeply broken relationship work. And I couldn’t. I have no bad feelings or will will towards him at all. I know that might be hard to understand  or it might be really easy to understand. If you have just ever loved anyone, it should be easy.”

She also denied that her Washington Post op ed, at the center of Depp’s $50 million defamation case, she meant for the piece to stir things up with Depp again.

Guthrie asked Heard why she decided to write the piece, in which she identified herself as a public figure representing domestic abuse. Even though the op ed, published in December, 2018, did not mention Depp by name, he claimed that the connection was there to her claims that he physically assaulted her, which he denied.

“Life had seemingly moved on and you decide to write an op ed, why did you do that?”

“Because the op ed wasn’t about my relationship with Johnny,” Heard said.

“But it alluded to him. Is that mistakable?” Guthrie asked.

“You know, what the op ed was about was me lending my voice to a bigger cultural conversation that we were having at the time,” she said.

Depp won a $10.4 million judgment after a six-week trial, which captured the public’s attention as it revealed every aspect of their relationship. The jury also awarded Heard $2 million for one of her counterclaims.

Guthrie asked her whether she worried that the op ed would “stir things up” again after the couple had announced a divorce settlement in 2017.

“I obviously knew, it was important for me not to make it about him or do anything like defame. I had lawyers, teams of lawyers, review all the drafts of this,” she said.

Guthrie asked, “You wrote this op ed. It was the height of MeToo. Legions of powerful men being cancelled. Losing their jobs. Did you want that to happen to Johnny Depp?”

“Of course not,” Heard said. “It wasn’t about him.”

Heard obtained a restraining order against Depp in May, 2016, following an argument days earlier in which she said that he struck her with a phone, leaving her faced bruised. Depp denied those claims.

A key aspect of Depp’s case was the testimony of police officers, who went to the couple’s downtown Los Angeles penthouse on the night of the argument, May 21, 2016, but said that they did not see any injuries on Heard. She also declined to file charges.

“Why didn’t I cooperate with the police? As I have testified before, and I will stand by until my dying day, I didn’t want to cooperate with them. I didn’t want this to be out. I didn’t want this to be known. … I didn’t want to get him in trouble. If it was a hoax I could have done that.”

Guthrie asked, “But five days later you went to court and it came out.”

“Five days later I made a decision to stand up for myself and protect myself. You can’t get a restraining order in private, which of course I didn’t understand the night when the cops were called,” she said.

She also denied she or her team tipped off TMZ to her court appearance.

Perhaps the most contentious point of the excerpt came when Guthrie asked Heard about her promise to donate $7 million of her divorce settlement to charity.

“It was revealed at the trial that you hadn’t done so yet. However [the Depp legal team] played a tape where you say on the air that you have donated it. Do you think that raised questions as to your credibility with the jury?”

“I made a pledge, and that pledge is made over time by its nature and …”

“You say, ‘I donated.’ You know that everybody thinks that you donated it, not that you pledged it. So for the jurors sitting there, do you think they felt like that was you getting caught in a lie?”

Heard answered, “I don’t know, because I feel like so much of the trial was meant to cast aspersions on who I am as a human, my credibility, to call me a liar in every way he can.” She said that she still plans to honor the pledge, Guthrie said.

As for her future, Heard said, “I get to be a mom. Full time. I’m not having to juggle calls with lawyers.” Her daughter, Oonagh Paige Heard, was born last year. The actress said that if she tells her daughter about what she went through during the trial, she would say, “No matter what, it will mean something. I did the right thing. I did everything I could to stand up for myself and the truth.”

PREVIOUSLY: Amber Heard defended her side during her ex-husband Johnny Depp’s six-week defamation trial, telling NBC News’ Savannah Guthrie that “to my dying day” she would “stand by every word in my testimony.”

In her first interview since a jury largely sided with Depp, Heard also delved into potentially damaging evidence that could have swayed the jury.

She also suggested that jurors could have seen the blizzard of social media messages against her, telling Guthrie, “I think the vast majority of this trial was played out on social media. I think that this trial is an example of that gone haywire, gone amok. And the jury is not immune to that.”

Guthrie said, “Do you think the jury saw it?”

“How could they not? I think even the most well intentioned juror, it would have been impossible to avoid this.”

Parts of the interview are airing on Today on Tuesday and Wednesday and on a special Dateline on Friday, with Peacock streaming part of it starting on Thursday. The jury in the Fairfax County, VA trial awarded Depp $15 million in damages, finding Heard liable for a defamation after she published a Washington Post op ed that identified herself as a “public figure representing domestic abuse.” The judge reduced the damages to $10.4 million. The jury also sided with Heard in one of her counterclaims, awarding her $2 million.

Heard said that “every single day I passed for three, four, sometimes six blocks, city blocks, lined with people holding signs saying, ‘Burn the witch.’ ‘Death to Amber.’ After three and a half weeks, I took the stand and saw just a courtroom packed full of Jack Sparrow fans who were vocal, energized.”

The actress said that Depp’s lawyers “did certainly a better job of distracting the jury from the real issues.” Her lawyers plan to appeal the verdict.

“I would not blame the average person for looking at this and how it’s been covered and not think that it is Hollywood brats at their worst,” Heard said. “But what people don’t understand is it’s actually much bigger than that. This is not only about our First Amendment right to speak.”

She said that the First Amendment protects “not just the freedom to speak, it’s the freedom to speak truth to power. ”

“But truth was the word. That was the issue,” Guthrie said.

“And that’s all I spoke. And I spoke it to power, and I paid the price,” Heard said.

Guthrie went through aspects of what was presented in court, including an audio transcript in which she said, “I did start a physical fight. I can’t promise you I won’t get physical again.”

Depp’s lawyers spent much of the trial trying to undermine her credibility. Heard said that she struck Depp in defense.”I never had to instigate it. I responded to it.”

Heard said, “I know much has been made of these audio tapes. They were first leaked online after being edited. What you hear in those clips are not evidence of what was happening, with evidence of the negotiation, of how to talk about that.”

“As I testified on the stand about this, that when your life is at risk, not only will you take the blame for things that you shouldn’t take the blame for,” Heard said. “When you’re in an abusive dynamic, psychologically, emotionally and physically, you don’t have the resources that, say, you or I do, with the luxury of saying, ‘Hey, this is black and white, because it’s anything but when you are living in it.”

Guthrie asked Heard about other audio, “where you’re taunting him and saying, ‘I’ll tell the world, Johnny Depp, I, a man, the victim of domestic violence.'”

Heard said that those clips “are not representative of” two and three hour recordings.

“Could your side have just put the whole three hours in there?”

“I’m not a lawyer,” Heard said. “As I testified to, I was talking in those recordings as a person in an extreme among of emotional, psychological and physical distress.”

Guthrie said, “He said that he never hit you. …Is that a lie?”

“Yes it is,” Heard responded.

Asked about the witnesses who backed up Depp’s testimony, Heard said, “I’ve seen firsthand how people will follow rank and support a person they depend on.”

Heard acknowledged that she did “say horrible, regrettable things throughout my relationship. I behaved in horrible, almost unrecognizable to myself ways. I have so much regret. I freely and openly and voluntarily talked about what I did. I talked about the horrible language. I talked about being pushed to the extent where I didn’t even know the difference between right and wrong.

“I will always continue to feel like I was a part of this, like I was the other half of this relationship because I was, and it was ugly, and could be very beautiful. And it could be very, very toxic. We were awful to each other, and I made a lot of mistakes. A lot of mistakes. But I’ve always told the truth.”

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