Johnny Depp says former wife Amber Heard 'has a need for violence'

Actor claims Heard bullied him, at one point throwing bottle that severed the tip of his finger

Actor Johnny Depp, testifying in a defamation case against his former wife Amber Heard, said on Wednesday that she became violent when their relationship soured, at one point throwing a vodka bottle that severed the tip of his finger.

The couple had frequent arguments that included "demeaning name calling" and "bullying" by her, Depp said.

"It seemed like pure hatred for me," he said. "If I stayed to argue, eventually, I was sure it was going to escalate into violence, and oftentimes it did."

Asked to describe the violence, Depp said Heard would "strike out" with a slap or shove, and recalled times she threw a TV remote at his head or a glass of wine in his face.

He said that during one argument, he threw a vodka bottle that crashed into the wall.

Heard then grabbed a larger vodka bottle with a handle and threw it at Depp's hand, cutting the top of his right middle finger, he said.

Jurors were shown a photo of the injury, which was surgically repaired.

"She has a need for conflict. She has a need for violence," Depp said. "It erupts out of nowhere."

In a similar legal case in the UK, Heard denied throwing a bottle and severing his finger.

She said she threw things only to escape when Depp was beating her, and once punched him because she feared he would push her sister down a flight of stairs.

Depp said he would remove himself from the situation, sometimes locking himself in a bedroom or bathroom, and never struck Heard.

"In all of these situations, my main goal was to retreat," he said.

Actress Amber Heard listens to her former husband Johnny Depp, as a picture of an injury to his face is on a screen, during his defamation trial against her in Fairfax, Virginia. AFP

Depp has accused actress Heard of defaming him when she wrote a December 2018 opinion piece in The Washington Post about being a survivor of domestic abuse.

Lawyers for Heard have said she told the truth and that her opinion was protected as free speech under the US Constitution's First Amendment.

In opening arguments, they said Depp physically and sexually assaulted her while abusing drugs and alcohol.

A state court judge in Fairfax County, Virginia, is overseeing the trial, which is in its second week and is expected to last six weeks.

Heard's counter-claim, seeking $100m in damages, will be decided as part of the trial.

Updated: April 20, 2022, 8:48 PM
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