Amber Heard testifies that Johnny Depp tried to strangle her on honeymoon

Emotional and tumultuous trial is now in its fifth week

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Amber Heard returned to the stand on Monday during the defamation trial brought against her by ex-husband Johnny Depp, saying that the actor attacked her on their honeymoon.

The Aquaman star said that Depp would become more violent when he was drinking, which he began doing the last night the couple were celebrating their wedding vows on the Orient Express.

When Heard brought up his drinking to him, “Johnny slapped me across the face and held me up by the car hold my neck and pushed me up against the wall of the car”, she said.

The Pirates of the Caribbean star is suing Heard for libel and demanding $50 million in damages over an op-ed she wrote for The Washington Post about surviving domestic abuse.

Depp's lawyers say he was defamed by the 2018 article even though it never mentioned his name. He lost a separate libel case in London in November 2020 that he brought against The Sun for calling him a “wife-beater”.

The emotional and tumultuous trial is now in its fifth week.

On the Orient Express, the couple was lodged in a small sleeper car where Depp slammed her up against the walls, Heard said.

“He was squeezing my neck against the railway car for what felt like a very long time and every time he kind of would pull me away from the side of the car, he slammed me up again against the wall,” Heard said.

“I remember looking down at him and trying to get his arms off of my neck.”

Heard said that Depp then took off his shirt and wrapped it around her neck as if to strangle her.

Depp, during his four days on the witness box, denied ever striking Heard and claimed that she was the one who was frequently violent.

“That's how I woke up the next morning,” Heard said. “I woke up with it still around my neck and a giant knot on the back of my head.”

In her previous evidence, Heard said that she loved Depp and that when he wasn’t under the influence of drugs or alcohol, they had a loving relationship.

While on the stand, she said that Depp also promised to “get clean” and seek counselling, but that did not last and that, at times, he became so intoxicated that he began hallucinating.

“He was communicating with people and sounds and voices that weren't there,” Heard said.

“I know because I was sometimes in the room and sometimes on the phone with him and he would tell me I had a conversation with him that I did not have. He would comment on somebody being in the room behind me that wasn't there. It was terrifying.”

Depp and Heard met in 2009 on the set of The Rum Diary and were married in February 2015.

Heard filed for divorce from Depp 16 months later because she feared for her life.

“I had to leave him,” the 36-year-old actress Heard told the jury at the trial. “I knew I wouldn't survive if I didn't.

“Johnny would always say the only way out of [the marriage] was death.

“At the time, [filing for divorce] felt like the hardest thing I've ever had to do.

“I had worked so hard to try to make this relationship work.

“It was hard because I loved Johnny so much. I loved him so much.”

Heard has countersued, demanding $100m and claiming she suffered “rampant physical violence and abuse” at Depp's hands.

It was also revealed in Heard’s evidence that she had vowed to give her entire $7m divorce settlement to two charities, the American Civil Liberties Union and Children’s Hospital of Los Angeles, where Heard was a volunteer — though she admitted she has yet to follow through. Heard also said that her former boyfriend, Elon Musk, had donated $100,000 to each on her behalf.

Mr Musk and Heard began dating for a few months after her divorce after they met at the Met Gala in 2015, which he attended with his mother.

“I want to move on with my life. I have a baby. I want to move on,” Heard said.

“I want to move on. I want Johnny to move on, too, I want him to leave me alone.”

Depp’s lawyers began grilling Heard late in the day and she will return to the box tomorrow.

Judge Penney Azcarate has scheduled closing arguments in the case for May 27, after which it will go to the jury.

Updated: May 17, 2022, 12:45 PM
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