Actor Amber Heard’s attorney spent a lot of time last week portraying her ex-husband Johnny Depp as a jealous and intoxicated abuser.
After Heard testified in a Virginia courthouse on Tuesday, her lawyers testified of people who were once close to Depp but far from his orbit. They included Depp’s former agent, actors Ellen Barkin and Heard’s sister.
The Attorney’s Goal: To undermine Depp’s defamation action against Heard. The lawsuit alleges that she misrepresented him as domestic violence and took away his lucrative film career, including the “Pirates of the Caribbean” film franchise.
Depp points to a 2018 Washington Post article in which Heard described himself as “a public figure representing domestic abuse.” Depp’s lawyers say Depp has defamed his name even though his name is not mentioned in the article.
The trial will be six weeks old when it resumes on Monday. Here are the testimonies of some witnesses called by Heard’s lawyers in an attempt to drill a hole into Depp’s case last week.
DEPP’s Hollywood Career
Depp blames Heard’s 2018 contribution for throwing his career into freefall. But Heard’s lawyers claim that only Depp can be held responsible for his star’s darkening in the Hollywood expanse.
Tracey Jacobs, who worked as the actor’s agent for nearly 30 years, said Depp “showed up late to set it up consistently on almost every film” during the last few years Depp worked with.
“I was very honest with him and said, ‘You have to stop doing this. This is hurting you.”
Years before firing her in 2016, Jacobs said Depp had become increasingly unprofessional and his drug and alcohol use increased.
She also said that Depp wore earpieces on the set of the movie so that lines from the script could be delivered to him.
“At first, I always got along so well with the staff, so I was loved by the staff. But the crew doesn’t like to sit and wait for hours and hours for the main character to appear,” Jacobs said.
“And it’s spread around town too,” Jacobs added. “It’s a small community that people are talking about. And that made people reluctant to use him.”
Heard’s lawyers also zeroed in on reported loss of Depp’s role in the sixth “Pirates of the Caribbean” film. And they played a video deposition of Tina Newman, head of production at Walt Disney Studios.
The lawyer asked her, “Do you know any decision makers within Disney who once said they wouldn’t cast Johnny Depp in ‘Pirates 6’ or any other role because of Amber Heard’s editorial?”
“no.” Newman said.
Alcohol and drug use in DEPP
Depp testified that Heard had never been beaten and is now a victim of abuse inflicted by his ex-wife. Heard’s lawyer countered that Depp couldn’t deny what happened because Depp abused her physically and sexually and she is often so drunk that she doesn’t even remember her.
The jury heard recorded testimony from the couple’s friend, iO Tillett Wright, in which Depp confessed that he hated alcohol.
“He wanted to quit drinking for Amber,” said Tillett Wright. “He did not enjoy getting drunk. He was no fun, he was tired, he was tired. He really, really resented having to get drunk.”
Tillett Wright said Depp’s personality turned mean and paranoid when he used alcohol or drugs.
Bruce Witkin, a musician who had been friends with Depp for nearly 40 years, testified that he tried to help Depp with his substance abuse.
“He said, ‘I’ll be fine. I’ll be fine,’ Witkin said, recalling the conversation. “Well, you’re not fine.”
Actor Ellen Barkin, who dated Depp for several months in the 1990s, made the statement while stating that Depp was “always drinking or smoking” or using other illegal drugs.
Was DEPP a jealous lover?
To hear Barkin speak – yes.
Barkin said Depp is in control, jealous and angry. She says that Depp often asks her, “Where are you going? Who are you with? What did you do last night?”
“There was one time I scratched my back and it made him very upset because he claimed it was because he had sex with someone other than me,” she added.
Witkin, a musician and former friend of Depp, said the actor showed signs of jealousy in a relationship that dates back to the 1980s, when Depp married Witkin’s brother-in-law.
“As a kid, he was jealous of Nick Cage, and he was jealous of Adam Ant because his sister-in-law knew,” Witkin said.
Witkin also said there were a few times when Depp had felt jealous of her relationship with French singer Vanessa Paradis, “it was absurd.”
“A lot of it was in his head, and it wasn’t,” Witkin said.
Depp’s jealousy of Heard came when she stopped filming or was “doing things that weren’t around to see what was going on”. “I think he’ll do the job himself.”
Testimony of Sister Hughes
Amber Heard’s sister Whitney Heard Enriques said she had witnessed Depp beat Heard firsthand. Depp testified that he never hit Heard.
Henriquez testified that the fight took place in March 2015, a month after Depp and Heard got married, when Heard found evidence that Depp had already had an extramarital affair.
Henriquez recalled that the drunken Depp accused Heard of forcing him into an extramarital affair.
At one point, she said she got caught between Heard and Heard as Depp and Heard went up the stairs to face Heard. Henriquez said she was slapped on her back and Heard was enraged and said Depp was hit “one”.
One of Depp’s bodyguards intervened, but “Johnny was already holding Amber’s hair with one hand and repeatedly hitting Amber in the face with the other,” said Henriquez.
Henriquez said it was the only time she personally witnessed physical assault. But she said she saw the aftermath of other fights, including Heard’s bruises.
However, Henriquez admitted in cross-examination that she sometimes sided with Depp in disputes, saying that she worked hard to keep the two together even after watching her sister physically assaulted.
“If my sister still wants to be with Johnny and I can help her in any way, I will support her,” she said.