'It changed my life': Tearful Amber Heard recalls first time Johnny Depp 'slapped her'

4 May 2022, 23:10 | Updated: 5 May 2022, 15:01

Amber Heard testifies about the first time she says her ex-husband, actor Johnny Depp, hit her.
Amber Heard testifies about the first time she says her ex-husband, actor Johnny Depp, hit her. Picture: Getty

By Emma Soteriou

Amber Heard has recalled the 'life-changing' moment Johnny Depp "slapped her across the face" for the first time.

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The Aquaman star said she had not known how to react following the alleged incident

It came as she took to the stand for the first time in the US defamation trial brought against her by her former partner.

Mr Depp is suing Ms Heard for libel over a 2018 article she wrote in The Washington Post, which his lawyers say falsely implies he physically and sexually abused her while they were together.

The early days of the couple's relationship were "a beautiful and strange time" and Ms Heard fell "head over heels in love" with Mr Depp, the Fairfax County District Court heard on Wednesday.

But Ms Heard said that during an incident in 2013 the actor had slapped her three times after she had laughed about one of his tattoos.

Read more: Johnny Depp proudly shows lawyer his doodles during heated $100m Amber Heard trial

Read more: 'Let's drown her before we burn her': Court hears shocking Johnny Depp texts about Amber Heard

Amber Heard departing the Fairfax County Courthouse earlier in the week.
Amber Heard departing the Fairfax County Courthouse earlier in the week. Picture: Alamy

"[It was] seemingly so stupid and insignificant I will never forget it, it changed my life," Ms Heard said.

"He slapped me across the face, and I laughed because I didn't know what else to do.

"I thought this must be a joke... I didn't know what was going on. I didn't want this to be the reality."

She continued: "I know you don't come back from that, I'm not dumb, you can't hit a woman, you can't hit a man, you can't hit anyone.

"I knew it was wrong and I knew that I had to leave him and that broke my heart because I didn't want to leave him... the best thing that ever happened to me.

"I wish I could sit here and say I stood up and I walked out of that house and I drew a line and I stood up for myself.

"I was just looking at the dirty carpet trying to will myself to get up, to walk out of the door."

Ms Heard said Mr Depp had then started crying and got on his knees to apologise and told her he had "put the monster away".

"[He said] I've done it before, I'll do it again, it's done," she said.

"I sat in my car and I felt like I sat there forever... just trying to will myself to have the strength to know what I should do in this moment because I was heartbroken."

Johnny Depp leaving the courthouse on Monday.
Johnny Depp leaving the courthouse on Monday. Picture: Alamy

Ms Heard added that in the following days Mr Depp apologised "profusely", telling her "I'd rather cut my hand off than lay it on you."

"He had that way of talking like poetry," she said.

Asked if she had stayed in the relationship following the incident, she replied: "Yeah I did, I believed there was a line, he wouldn't cross it again and that was it."

The court previously heard evidence from forensic psychologist Dr Dawn Hughes, who said Ms Heard had endured multiple acts of violence and sexual abuse at the hands of Mr Depp.

Dr Hughes said that the alleged acts of sexual violence, which she graphically detailed to the court, were often a result of the actor's "drug-fuelled rage".

The court has already listened to four days of evidence from Mr Depp, who said he was "obsessed with the truth" and claimed that it was he that was the victim of domestic abuse.

The trial continues.