Johnny Depp: 'I took drugs to numb myself to wraiths of my childhood'

19 April 2022, 23:33 | Updated: 20 April 2022, 15:38

Mr Depp spoke during a US trial
Mr Depp spoke during a US trial. Picture: Getty

By Will Taylor

Johnny Depp consumed drugs and alcohol to numb himself to "the wraiths from my youth" rather than for parties, the star has told a trial.

The Pirates of the Caribbean actor is suing his former partner Amber Heard for libel over a 2018 article in The Washington Post, which his lawyers claim falsely implies he physically and sexually abused her.

He has faced claims about his substance use while he and actress Ms Heard were together, with the latter's lawyers saying during the case in Virginia that they triggered violent episodes.

Mr Depp, giving evidence on Tuesday, told the US trial that his drug-taking began aged 11, when he took his mother's nerve pills to "escape feeling so much".

"(It's) a pretty young age to do that, I can't say that I'm proud of admitting to that but I have to say that I knew not what else to do," he said.

"I've never used (the word) party in my life, I've never taken any substance for a party.

"I have taken these substances over the years, on and off, to numb myself of the ghosts, the wraiths that were still with me from my youth."

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"It was essentially self-medication, one of those get-me-out-of-here moments, where what you want to escape from is your own brain, your own head."

He added: "The characterisation of my 'substance abuse' that's been delivered by Ms Heard is grossly embellished and, I'm sorry to say, but a lot of it is just plainly false.

"I am not some maniac that needs to be high or loaded all the time."

Mr Depp also said he was "ashamed and embarrassed" by texts that contained abuse directed at Ms Heard, saying in the "heat of the moment" he went to "dark places".

The actor said he had initially thought his relationship with Ms Heard had been "too good to be true".

"She was attentive, she was loving, she was smart, she was kind, she was funny, she was understanding and we had many things in common," he told the court.

"For that year or year and a half it was amazing, there were a couple of things that stuck in my head that I noticed that I thought might be a little bit of a dilemma at some point."

He said he endured emotional and physical abuse by his parents during his childhood but said it allowed him to learn lessons about parenting.

Mr Depp also told the trial he was "obsessed with truth" and "did not deserve" to have the "heinous and disturbing" allegations levelled against him.

"It was a complete shock... it just didn't need to go in that direction as nothing of the kind had ever happened," he said.

"(In) the relationship there were arguments and things of that nature, but never did I myself reach the point of striking Ms Heard in any way, nor have I ever struck any woman in my life."

He added: "It's been six years of trying times, very strange when one day you're Cinderella, so to speak, and then in 0.6 seconds you're Quasimodo.

"I didn't deserve that, nor did my children, nor did the people who have believed in me all these years.

"I pride myself on honesty... on truth. Truth is the only thing I'm interested in.

"Lies will get you nowhere, and lies build upon lies... I'm obsessed with the truth so today is the first opportunity that I've been able to speak about this case in full."

The case continues.