WARNING: This story contains details of intimate partner violence.
Amber Heard told jurors Thursday that a campaign of harassment waged against her by ex-husband Johnny Depp has left her humiliated and fearful for her life due to multiple death threats, saying she just wants “Johnny to leave me alone.”
Heard was the last witness in Depp’s six-week libel trial against his ex-wife. With cameras in the courtroom, millions of people have followed the trial, and interest seemed to gather momentum as the weeks went by and both Depp and Heard testified about the ugly details of their relationship.
Online and in court, Depp fans have overwhelmingly dominated the narrative, with people lining up overnight to get one of the few seats in the courtroom and greet Depp as he walks in and out. Heard has been booed by onlookers on the street as she walks in and out of the courthouse.
“The harassment and the humiliation, the campaign against me that is repeated every day on social media, and now in front of the cameras in the showroom, every day I have to relive the trauma,” Heard said as she struggled to hold back tears “Maybe it’s easy to forget that I’m a human being.”
Under cross-examination, Depp’s lawyer, Camille Vasquez, told Heard that “his lies have been exposed to the world” and asked about people who contradicted parts of his accounts.
“I know how many people will come out of nowhere to support Johnny,” Heard replied.
Depp is suing Heard for defamation in Fairfax County Circuit Court over a December 2018 op-ed she wrote in The Washington Post describing herself as “a public figure representing domestic abuse.” Depp’s lawyers say the article defamed the actor even though she never mentioned his name.
Heard said she hopes the lawsuit will allow her to regain her voice, saying she had a “right as an American” to publish an article describing her experiences and how they relate to the national debate on domestic violence.
“Johnny has taken enough of my voice,” he said. “I have the right to tell my story.”
Depp has denied hitting Heard and says she was the abuser in the relationship. Heard has testified about more than a dozen separate cases of physical abuse that she says she suffered at the hands of Depp.
Hand surgeon testifies
The last witness on Depp’s side on Thursday morning was hand surgeon Richard Gilbert, who said he believes the injury that occurred to Depp’s middle finger could have occurred as Depp describes it.
The tip of the finger was severed during a fight the couple had in Australia.
Depp says it happened when Heard threw a large bottle of vodka at him. Heard says Depp did it to himself in a drug-fueled rage one night when he also sexually assaulted her with a liquor bottle.
Jurors will hear closing arguments on Friday.
Support is available to anyone who has been abused or assaulted. You can access crisis lines and local support services through Canadian Partnership to End Violence Database. The Canadian Women’s Foundation help sign is a silent one-handed gesture to use on a video call to indicate that you are at risk of domestic violence. If you are in immediate danger or fear for your safety or the safety of those around you, call 911.