Amber Heard tells of Depp's 'threats to kill her' as she gives evidence in libel trial

20 July 2020, 11:10

Amber Heard began her evidence today
Amber Heard began her evidence today. Picture: PA

By Asher McShane

Actress Amber Heard told the High Court today that Johnny Depp threatened to kill her 'many times' as she gave evidence at the High Court as part of a blockbuster libel case against The Sun.

She accused the actor, 57, of hitting her and of having an affair with a co-star. Depp denies ever being abusive. She said Depp threatened to kill her "many times", especially later in their relationship.

She also alleged the Pirates Of The Caribbean star was "very good at manipulating people" and would blame his actions on a "self-created third party" he called the "monster".

In a written witness statement submitted to the court, Ms Heard, 34, accused Mr Depp of subjecting her to verbal and physical abuse - including screaming, swearing, issuing threats, punching, slapping, kicking, head-butting and choking her, as well as "extremely controlling and intimidating behaviour".

She alleged: "Some incidents were so severe that I was afraid he was going to kill me, either intentionally or just by losing control and going too far.

Wearing a cream blouse and dark pencil skirt, with her long hair braided to one side of her head, Ms Heard affirmed her oath before being taken to her witness statements in the trial bundle by Sasha Wass QC, for the Sun's publisher News Group Newspapers (NGN).

Johnny Depp is suing the Sun's publisher over an article that labelled him a 'wife beater'
Johnny Depp is suing the Sun's publisher over an article that labelled him a 'wife beater'. Picture: PA

Ms Heard also claimed Mr Depp "lives in a state of weaponised victimhood".

The statement says: "To hear him talk about his childhood or past relationships, he is always the victim. He functions off zero accountability to anyone and thrives off others who provide him with that.

"No-one really gives him direct or honest feedback.

"It is very rare to see anyone - professionals, doctors, lawyers, film executives - say no to him. I tried to, but it didn't go down well."

Ms Heard also said she thought she could "fix Johnny", saying: "I thought he could get better and that he would, and I wanted that so badly right to the end.

"After violent episodes, his team would try to convince me to stay with him or to come back, often telling me he was sorry and would get clean for me.

"I think I stayed not only because I had hope of him getting clean and things changing, but also because of the responsibility I felt, being told I was the one to motivate him and help him to get clean."

Ms Heard is facing questioning over 14 allegations of domestic violence - all denied by Mr Depp - which The Sun's publisher, News Group Newspapers (NGN) relies on in defence of the April 2018 article.

The court has so far heard nine days of evidence about Mr Depp's Hollywood lifestyle, his use of drink and drugs and his attitudes towards women, as well as his and Ms Heard's volatile relationship - described by Mr Depp as "a crime scene waiting to happen".

Mr Depp is suing the Sun's publisher News Group Newspapers and Dan Wootton over the publication of an article on April 27 2018 with the headline: "Gone Potty: How can JK Rowling be 'genuinely happy' casting wife beater Johnny Depp in the new Fantastic Beasts film?"

His lawyers say the article bore the meaning there was "overwhelming evidence" Mr Depp assaulted Ms Heard on a number of occasions and left her "in fear for her life".

NGN is defending the article as true, and says Mr Depp was "controlling and verbally and physically abusive towards Ms Heard, particularly when he was under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs".