On the fourth and final day of the cross-examination of Johnny Depp in his defamation case against former wife Amber Heard, jurors were presented with audio recording in which the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise actor appeared to warn Heard of violence if their arguments escalated.
“The next move, if I don’t walk away… it’s going to be a bloodbath, like it was on the island,” Depp said on the recording played in court.
The 58-year-old actor could also be discerned shouting “Shut up, fat a**” after Heard told him to “put your cigarettes out on someone else! You f***ing have consequences for your actions!”
But in other exchanges in the Alexandria, Virginia, courtroom on Monday, Depp wrote to his former wife’s mother describing himself as a “poor old junkie” who depended on his wife and her family.
“What you do need to know [is] that your daughter has risen far above the nightmarish task of taking care of this poor old junkie. Never a second has gone by that she didn’t look out for me, to have her eyes on me to make sure that I was OK,” he wrote, the court heard.
“She has the strength of a thousand men,” Depp added in the note.
The exchange came close to the end of Heard’s attorneys’ opportunity, with Depp on the witness stand, to paint the actor as a violent domestic abuser whose behavior was integral to dependencies on drugs and alcohol.
The actor has described the accusations of substance abuse as “grossly embellished” and argued it was Heard who escalated their fights to violence.
Under questioning from his own lawyers, Depp was asked how he felt about the article Heard wrote for the Washington Post describing herself as a “public figure representing domestic abuse” two years after she’d been granted a restraining order against him for throwing a cell phone.
“At that point it had been a good two solid years since the allegations had been planted firmly on my back,” Depp testified. “I couldn’t believe it… it was clear that, the more hit pieces came out on me, it was clear that Ms Heard’s righteous chase against me was continuing.”
“Something had to be done,” he said, referring to bringing the defamation complaint in Virginia. “I couldn’t take it anymore.”
Depp said he felt he had no opportunity to address the allegations against him, and by then Disney had dropped him from the Pirates of the Caribbean film franchise. “It hurt, like somebody hit me in the head with a two-by-four. Even if I tried to do an interview to explain myself, it turned into a hit piece.”
But Heard’s attorney, Ben Rottenborn, showed Depp negative news articles he said would show that the actor’s bad press preceded the 2018 Washington Post article at the center of the case.
“I’ve been in the racket of Hollywood since 1984 … of course people write negative stories,” Depp countered.
Depp also explained that his texts to Paul Bettany in which he’d suggested drowning and burning his wife were references to a Monty Python sketch. The actor told the jury that when he used the term “monster” it was his term de él to describe himself when he’d relapsed out of addiction recovery, or failed to attain sobriety.
In his arguments with Heard, he said that when the tenor of the exchanges was reduced to scream obscenities, “the monster was just, for me, was a guy who’s dumb enough to take part in arguments that would ultimately went nowhere.”
For both plaintiff and defendant, much of the legal trail has been about establishing probability that their account makes the alleged defamation seem more feasible or unlikely.
Much of what has been heard is not directly relevant to the alleged libel but offered as background that could ultimately decide the fate and the reputations of the parties. The case continues.
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism