Amber Heard claims Johnny Depp 'penetrated her with alcohol bottle in hostage situation'

12 April 2022, 23:45 | Updated: 13 April 2022, 08:23

Actor Johnny Depp and Amber Heard at Fairfax County Courthouse.
Actor Johnny Depp and Amber Heard at Fairfax County Courthouse. Picture: Alamy

By Sophie Barnett

Amber Heard's attorneys have claimed Johnny Depp penetrated her with an alcohol bottle in a heated three-day "hostage situation" in 2015, as the multi-million pound defamation lawsuit got under way in the US state of Virginia.

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Mr Depp claims a 2018 article written by Heard in The Washington Post – in which she spoke about domestic violence towards women – implied Mr Depp, her former husband, was an abuser.

The article was published in 2018, with the title: ‘I spoke up against sexual violence — and faced our culture’s wrath. That has to change’.

It did not mention Mr Depp by name.

His lawyers have said that this ‘falsely implies’ that the 35-year-old was subjected to abuse during their marriage, with the actor seeking $50million (£39m) in damages.

Elaine Bredehoft, representing Ms Heard, detailed a number of alleged abusive incidents triggered by "crushing" drug and alcohol problems.

These included a "drug binge" with his "good friend" Marilyn Manson and a "blackout" in Australia, which Ms Heard had previously described as a "three-day hostage situation".

Ms Bredehoft told the jury: "He has her jammed up against the bar. He has hurled bottles and bottles at her. He has dragged her across the floor on the broken bottles. He has punched her. He has kicked her. He has told her he's going to fu**ing kill her, and he fu**ing hates her. He's pounding at her, pounding at her. And then, he penetrates her with a liquor bottle."

As she spoke Mr Depp shook his head as if to say: "No."

Mr Depp's lawyers argued that the allegations by Ms Heard were false and the actress was "preparing to give the performance of a lifetime" during the proceedings.

Camille Vasquez, representing Mr Depp, said the actor would "go to his grave knowing that whatever he does there will always be people who believe he abused a woman".

"Ms Heard took on the role of a lifetime, she couldn't back down," she said.

"She has been living and breathing this lie for years now.

"She is preparing to give the performance of a lifetime in this trial."

In a statement, Mr Depp's spokesman said: "These fictitious claims were never made at the onset of Amber's allegations in 2016, and only advantageously surfaced years later once she was sued for defamation after noting in her op-ed that she was a victim of 'sexual violence.

"Words are key in a defamation case and conveniently, this allegation only came after that. This follows a pattern of her elaborate, erroneous claims which have continued to change and evolve over time for the purpose of Hollywood shock value of which Amber has mastered and used to exploit a serious social movement."

Lawyers on behalf of the Aquaman actress said Mr Depp had sought to "destroy" her and that the situation was "disturbing, but not surprising".

Benjamin Rottenborn, representing Ms Heard, said the actor had brought the suit "rather than take responsibility for his own actions" and planned to turn the trial into a "soap opera".

"He wanted to make her life hard, he wanted to ruin her life.

"He was an obsessed ex-husband, hellbent on his career was in free-fall and her career was talking off."

Mr Rottenborn continued: "It's quite ironic that a piece that briefly discussed Amber moving on from Johnny the vehicle that he used to keep her from moving on, rather than take responsibility for his own actions."

Scores of people, mostly fans of Mr Depp, crowded into the courtroom on Tuesday as the case was officially opened, where both actors are attending the trial in person and are due to give evidence.

Mr Depp wore a dark blue suit and black shirt with a cream tie, while Ms Heard wore a grey blazer and wore her hair in a low bun.

The case is being brought in Virginia rather than in California, where the actors live, because The Washington Post's online editions are published through servers located in Fairfax County.

Other high-profile celebrities are listed as witnesses in the trial, including actors James Franco and Paul Bettany, and Tesla founder Elon Musk.

Johnny Depp and Amber Heard leave court on first day of case