Johnny Depp’s trial against his ex-wife Amber Heard has been filled with explosive and sometimes bizarre testimony about the couple’s toxic relationship.
Depp is suing Heard for $50 million, claiming she defamed him in a 2018 Washington Post opinion piece, costing him a lucrative role in the “Pirates of the Caribbean” franchise. Although Heard didn’t name Depp in the article, the “Aquaman” star described herself as a “public figure representing domestic violence.”
During the three-week libel trial dueling, Depp’s legal team called more than a dozen witnesses who testified about drugs, alcohol, fighting, money and tainted careers.
Here are eight moments that captivated the courtroom this week.
1. Depp’s severed fingertip
Dr David Kipper, a private addictions specialist who provided personalized services and traveled the world with the Depp, testified that Depp “lost part of a finger” after a violent fight with Heard while filming the fifth film “Pirates of the Caribbean” in Australia.
Kipper described the March 2015 incident in a pre-recorded deposition played in court, explaining that Depp had texted him to say his fingertip had been severed. Kipper said he made a house call to check on Depp, who was “consistent” but the house was a mess and there appeared to be “blood on the wall”.
Depp’s former house manager Ben King told the court he found Depp’s missing fingertip in a bloody paper towel near the bar. He put it on ice and then gave it to Kipper and Depp’s head of security, Jerry Judge, to take to the hospital in hopes it could be put back together. King said Kipper “rummaged through a trash can” in the kitchen for the missing figure, before finding it himself.
2. Mattress Poop: Retaliation or Prank?
Depp told the court that as his relationship with Heard unraveled, he wanted to get her stuff back to their Los Angeles penthouse. He said he let his security guards know he planned to enter the building, but received a message from them saying it was not the right time. Depp said he wanted to know why, when he was told he had to wait because there was “human faeces” on his side of his bed and Heard’s. The actor added that he was sent a photo of the feces as proof. “It was so out there, it was so bizarre and so grotesque that I could only laugh,” Depp said.
Depp said that when confronted, Heard tried to blame what he called “fecal delivery” on their yorkies. But he said it was clearly human excrement.
Depp’s bodyguard, Starling Jenkins, told the court he told Heard about “the surprise she left in the boss’ bed before she left the apartment.” Jenkins said Heard called pooping on Depp’s bed “an awful prank gone wrong.”
3. A talent agent warned Depp about the bad press
Depp’s former CAA agent Christian Carino appeared to be done with discussing his former client’s issues, but told the court the actor had become unemployable in Hollywood following Heard’s abuse allegations.
Carino, a longtime agent who previously represented Depp, said he warned the actor’s managers that his legal disputes were becoming a “distraction” for the ‘Pirates of the Caribbean’ star’s career. “The general public doesn’t want to hear that the people they look up to are in dispute,” Carino said in a videotaped deposition recorded Jan. 19, 2021.
Carino said nonstop coverage, including when Depp lost his case against the Sun in 2020 has affected the actor’s off-screen reputation. At one point, Carino said he began having discussions with “Pirates” producer Jerry Bruckheimer about removing Depp from a planned sixth film in the lucrative Disney franchise.
4. Angry doorman vapes and drives while testifying, shocking judge
Alejandro Romero, a front desk worker at Depp and Heard’s LA Penthouse building, made it clear he didn’t want to be part of the deal. He said he didn’t remember a lot about the couple’s time together and he didn’t want that either. “You sent me the papers to revise, and I didn’t even want to see them again because it’s been so long. It’s like I don’t want to deal with this anymore,” Romero said in a pre-recorded video deposition.
The doorman was seated in the driver’s seat of a vehicle in the video. At one point, he drank a soda, vaped, then left for lunch. “I’m so stressed about it, I don’t want to deal with it anymore. I’m tired, I don’t want to deal with this court case, everyone is in trouble and I don’t want to deal with this anymore,” he said.
After dismissing the jury for lunch, Judge Penney Azcarate looked shocked and said she had seen a lot, but “it was a first”. Heard’s attorney, Elaine Bredehoft, agreed, calling it “the most bizarre deposition.” Bredehoft said, “When he started driving…” Azcarate replied, “Yes, it did.”
5. Depp defends himself against Heard abuse allegations
Depp, who said he waited six years to tell his story, spent four days on the stand defending himself against Heard’s allegations, which he called it “odious and disturbing”.
He told the court that the ‘Aquaman’ actress’ accusations were “not based on any kind of truth” and “I want to clear my name”.
Depp claimed Heard would verbally decimate me or send me into a free fall or depression,” and allegedly attacked him by slapping him, shoving him, throwing remote controls at his head, and throwing wine in his face. The ‘Pirates’ star said, “In her frustration, rage and anger, she would strike.”
6. A psychologist diagnosed Heard with borderline personality disorder.
Depp’s lawyers asked Dr. Shannon Curry, a clinical and forensic psychologist, to provide a psychological evaluation of Heard, whom the psychologist met and spoke with twice. Curry, who also reviewed the records, told the courtroom that she had assessed Heard to have borderline personality disorder, defined by the Mayo Clinic as a mental disorder that impacts how a person thinks or feels about themselves and others, causing self-image issues, difficulties in managing their emotions, behavior and relationships.
Heard was also rated by Curry as having histrionic personality disorder, which is characterized by a pattern of excessive attention-seeking behaviors, usually beginning in early childhood, including inappropriate seduction and excessive desire for approval. , according to the Mayo Clinic.
Curry insisted that Heard did not suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder from his relationship with Depp, as Heard said. “Ms. Heard did not have PTSD and there were also quite significant indications that she grossly exaggerated the symptoms of PTSD when questioned about them,” Curry told the court.
7. Heard begs Depp not to cut himself on audio recording
Johnny Depp was heard in a series of audio recordings throwing up, ranting and arguing with his ex-wife, Amber Heard. In one recording, Heard begs Depp to “put the knife down!” as she apparently tries to talk him out of harming himself. The July 2016 incident was recorded two months after they filed for divorce, according to Depp’s testimony.
Heard told Depp, “Please don’t cut yourself, please don’t. You will hurt yourself. Heard also told Depp that the knife was too dull to cut the skin.
8. Heard’s op-ed could have been timed to capitalize on the “Aquaman” ad
Heard 2018 editorial in the Washington Post on gender-based violence sparked her current legal battle with ex-husband Depp, and it was revealed that the piece was set to coincide with the release of her movie “Aquaman.”
Terence Dougherty, General Counsel and COO of the ACLU, said in a pre-recorded deposition that the actress worked directly with the human rights organization on what the editorial would say, where it would be published and when it would be published.
“Putting out editorials on topics like this is the kind of thing that’s the ACLU’s bread and butter,” Dougherty explained.