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Amber Heard took the stand for the first time on Wednesday to deliver her testimony against ex-husband Johnny Depp, who is accusing her of ruining his reputation and career with false accusations of domestic violence.
Her testimony has been highly anticipated, as jurors and viewers around the world have watched for the last three weeks as the A-list couple try to prove the other was the more toxic person in the relationship.
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In the legal battle between the two stars, both Heard, 36, and Depp, 58, claim to be victims of violence. The initial court case began when Depp filed a $ 50-million defamation lawsuit over a Washington Post op-ed penned by Heard in late 2018 about domestic abuse.
Heard did not mention Depp by name in the article, but the actor alleges his reputation and career were still “devastated” as a result.
Heard began her testimony following the cross-examination of Dr. Dawn Hughes, a forensic psychologist.
As she took the stand, Heard told the jury this trial process has been “incredibly painful” and “the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do.”
She discussed how she met her ex-husband Depp while auditioning for The Rum Diary in 2008, a film in which the actors co-starred. She testified the pair bonded over books, poetry and old blues music.
Heard told the court she and Depp fell in love during The Rum Diary press tour. “It felt like a dream,” she said, despite the fact the couple had to see each other in secret, as the press did not know yet of Depp’s split from the mother of his children, Vanessa Paradis. “It was absolute magic.”
When asked about how her relationship with Depp evolved in 2012, Heard said the actor would disappear at times. She also said Depp started drinking heavily, criticized her clothing, and insisted she halt her acting career.
“And then there would be a blow up,” Heard testified, claiming Depp would destroy property, like tables and glasses, and punch walls.
She continued, claiming the first time Depp hit her was when she asked about a faded tattoo on his forearm that read ‘Wino Forever’. She told the court that Depp was drinking wine, and possibly making cocaine. Heard testified that she laughed about his tattoo and in response Depp slapped her across the face.
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“I laughed because I didn’t know what else to do. I thought ‘this must be a joke,’ “she said.
Heard testified Depp slapped her again. “I just stared at him. I didn’t say anything, I didn’t react. I didn’t move or freak out or defend myself, ”she said. “I just stared at him because I didn’t know what else to do. And he slapped me one more time. Hard. ”
She said Depp then sank to his knees and began to cry, begging for forgiveness.
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When asked why she stayed with Depp, Heard replied, “I believed there was a line he wouldn’t cross again, and that was it.”
On Tuesday, after Depp’s legal team finished questioning their witnesses, Heard’s lawyers asked the judge to dismiss the lawsuit, arguing that Depp had failed to make his case as a matter of law and that no reasonable jury could find in his favor.
Judge Penney Azcarate said the standard for dismissing a case at this point in the trial is exceedingly high, and that the case should be allowed to move forward if Depp has provided even a “scintilla” of evidence backing up his claims; she then dismissed the motion.
Heard’s lawyers then began questioning Dr. Hughes. Among her chief testimony, Dr. Hughes said she was diagnosed Heard with PTSD after 29 hours of interviews. (The forensic psychologist brought by Depp said the opposite, that Heard did not have PTSD.)
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Dr. Hughes again disputed testimony from Depp’s forensic psychologist, who had claimed Heard suffered from borderline and histrionic personality disorders. Dr. Hughes told the jury Heard does not have any form of personality disorder.
In stark contrast to Depp’s own testimony, Dr. Hughes also testified Heard endured many sexual assaults at the hands of Depp, including being forced to perform oral sex and having Depp penetrate her with a liquor bottle.
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Earlier in the trial, Depp testified he never physically abused Heard or any other woman. He’s maintained that Heard was an instigator in the relationship, who would push him to become embroiled in profane arguments. He also said that Heard punched, kicked and threw objects at him over the course of their relationship.
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Depp’s testimony included reference to his former opioid addiction, although he maintains he is not and has never been an addict (apart from Roxicodone). Several heated audio and video recordings of the couple arguing were played in court.
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A now infamous trip to Australia where Depp severed the tip of his finger has also been at the center of the trial. Depp has alleged he lost the digit when Heard threw a vodka bottle at his hand, though his lawyers deny this, claiming he wounded himself in a drunken rage.
Heard is countersuing Depp for $ 100-million.
– With files from The Associated Press
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