Johnny Depp says ex-wife Heard beat him, cost him ‘everything’

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April 20 (Reuters) – Actor Johnny Depp, giving evidence in a defamation case against his ex-wife Amber Heard, said on Wednesday it was she who became violent in their relationship and that her false accusations cost him ” nothing less than everything”.

During a second day on the witness stand in a Virginia courtroom, Depp said the couple had frequent arguments, including “degrading name-calling” and “bullying” by Heard.

“It felt like pure hate towards me,” Depp said. “If I stayed to argue, eventually, I was sure it would escalate into violence, and often it did.”

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The ‘Pirates of the Caribbean’ star, 58, is suing Heard, 35, for $50 million after accusing him of abuse.

Depp said it was Heard who “hit” with a slap or a push. During an argument, Heard threw a bottle of vodka into Depp’s hand, cutting the top of his right middle finger and exposing a bone, he said.

The actor said he felt like he was suffering from some kind of depression and started writing on the wall with blood from the wound. He said he wrote reminders of “lies” Heard had told him.

“She needs violence. She comes out of nowhere,” Depp said.

In a similar court case in Britain, Heard denied throwing a bottle and cutting off Depp’s finger. She said she only threw objects to escape as he beat her and she once hit her because she was afraid he would push her sister down a flight of stairs.

On Wednesday, Depp described an incident in which he said Heard punched him repeatedly. The actor said he put his arms around her to calm her down and their foreheads touched.

According to Depp, Heard accused him of “cutting off her head” and breaking her nose, returning minutes later with a bloodstained handkerchief. Depp said he later retrieved the handkerchief and discovered the red stain was from the nail polish.

The actor said he would retreat from heated arguments, sometimes locking himself in a bedroom or bathroom, and never hit Heard. “My main objective was to retreat,” he said.

Depp accused Heard, also an actor, of defaming him when she wrote a December 2018 opinion piece in The Washington Post about being a survivor of domestic violence.

The article never mentioned Depp by name, but Depp’s attorney, Benjamin Chew, told jurors it was clear Heard was referring to the Hollywood leading man. Read more

Depp said Heard’s allegations cost him “nothing less than everything”. A new “Pirates” movie has been put on hold, and Depp has been dropped from the “Fantastic Beasts” film franchise, a “Harry Potter” spin-off.

“When the allegations were made, they quickly went around the world, telling people that I was a drunken, cocaine-fueled menace who hit women – suddenly in my 50s – it’s over,” a- he declared.

“I lost then,” he added. “No matter what the outcome of this trial, I will wear this for the rest of my life.”

Lawyers for Heard, who just began their cross-examination of Depp on Wednesday evening, argued that she had spoken the truth and that her opinion was protected by free speech under the First Amendment to the US Constitution. In opening arguments, Heard’s attorneys said Depp physically and sexually assaulted her while she was using drugs and alcohol.

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

Less than two years ago, Depp lost a libel case against The Sun, a British tabloid that called him a “wife beater”. A High Court judge in London ruled that he assaulted Heard on several occasions.

Depp’s attorneys said they filed the US case in Fairfax County, outside the nation’s capital, because The Washington Post is printed at a facility there. The Washington Post is not accused in this case.

Depp and Heard, known for their roles in “Aquaman” and “Justice League,” were married for about two years. Their divorce was finalized in 2017.

Heard filed her own libel suit against Depp, claiming he defamed her by calling her a liar. Heard’s counterclaim, seeking $100 million, will be decided at trial.

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Reporting by Lisa Richwine in Los Angeles and Tyler Clifford in New York; Editing by Lisa Shumaker and Will Dunham

Our standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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