Actor Johnny Depp Takes the Stand, Says Ex-Wife's Abuse Claims Are 'Heinous'
On the witness stand, actor Johnny Depp said he never struck his ex-wife Amber Heard.
Actor Johnny Depp took the witness stand on Tuesday for the first time in his defamation suit against ex-wife Amber Heard, saying her claims of physical and sexual abuse were "heinous" and false.
“My goal is the truth because it killed me that all these people I had met over the years ... that these people would think that I was a fraud,” he told jurors in a Virginia court.
He flatly denied ever striking Heard, saying her allegations were “not based in any species of truth.”
“Nothing of the kind ever happened,” Depp said. "Never did I myself reach the point of striking Ms. Heard in any way. Nor have I ever struck any woman in my life."
The abuse allegations, he testified, have destroyed his acting career.
"it's been six years of trying times. It's very strange when one day you're Cinderella, so to speak, and then in 0.6 seconds you're Quasimodo," said the "Pirates of the Caribbean" star.
Depp has filed a $50 million defamation lawsuit against his former wife, claiming she libeled him in a 2018 op-ed piece for The Washington Post about domestic violence. In the article, she said she was a "public figure representing domestic abuse."
She never mentioned Depp by name, but the actor and his lawyers say the article was a clear reference to accusations Heard made in 2016 when the couple divorced. She sought a restraining order against him, and Depp denied her allegations.
On the witness stand, Depp described a violent upbringing that included beatings by his mother, who hit him with high-heeled shoes and a telephone, he said. When he became a father, he vowed to never repeat that cycle, he said.
The actor's friends, family and employees have testified so far that Heard was the aggressor in their relationship, and physically assaulted him several times. Heard's former personal assistant testified that an enraged Heard once spit in her face.
Depp also testified that he had battled substance abuse for much of his life, and had taken his mother's prescription pills as a child to escape her abuse.
But, he said, he had detoxed from pain medication and experienced long periods of sobriety in his life.
"The characterization of my 'substance abuse' that's been delivered by Ms. Heard is grossly embellished," he testified. "And I'm sorry to say, but a lot of it is just plainly false. I think that it was an easy target for her to hit. Because once you've trusted somebody for a certain amount of years, and you've told them all the secrets of your life, that information can of course be used against you."
The couple divorced in 2016, after 15 months of marriage. Depp's testimony will stretch into Wednesday, with Heard taking the stand later in the trial.
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