Explaining his violent and macabre text messages on his ex-wife Amber Heardactor Johnny Depp testified on Monday that they were not evidence of any physical or emotional abuse. They were simply a reference to the beloved British comedy film: Monty Python and the Holy Grail.
The text exchange took place before Depp and Heard got married, but after their romance was kindled on the set of The rum journal.
On June 11, 2013, Depp and fellow actor Paul Bettany engaged in a crude thought experiment involving medieval means to determine if Heard is a witch.
“Let’s Burn Amber!!!” Depp writes.
Bettany, a Briton, believes the ‘more English course of action’ would be the drowning test.
“Let’s drown it before we burn it!!! Depp replied. “I’ll fuck her burnt corpse afterwards to make sure she’s dead…”
Depp and Heard would marry in February 2015, just under two years later. They divorced in January 2017. Depp is suing his ex-wife over a 2018 op-ed in The Washington Postwho he claims defamed him with allegations of abuse.
During cross-examination last week in Fairfax County, Va., Heard’s attorney J. Benjamin Rottenborn confronted Depp about the “burning” exchange, which he considered a horrible way to refer to Depp’s girlfriend at the time.
“You wrote this about the woman who would later become your wife,” Rottenborn remarked.
“Yeah, I did,” Depp replied at the time.
Depp testified during the redirect on Monday that he and Bettany, who has a “dry, obtuse, abstract sense of humor,” met while filming a movie. They bonded over situations, however “difficult or unpleasant”, using humor, he said.
“In context, it’s important to know that none of this was ever meant to be real, and the language used, which I – yes, I’m ashamed of, is to be spread around the world like buttermilk. peanut,” he testified. “For example, the text that talks about burning Mrs Heard is straight from Monty Python in the sketch about burning witches and then drowning them. It’s a movie we all watched when we were ten. It’s just irreverent, abstract humor. This is what we were referring to in these texts.
Heard’s attorneys said at trial that Depp subjected their client to extreme physical and sexual abuse. In one incident, Depp allegedly started a three-day period in Australia by taking eight to 10 ecstasy tablets.
“He pinned her against the bar”, Heard’s lawyer Elaine Charlson Bredehoft said in court. “He threw bottles and bottles at her. He dragged her on the floor over the broken bottles. He hit her. He hit her. He told her he was gonna fucking kill her, and he fucking hates her. He hits her, hits her. And then, he penetrates her with a bottle of alcohol.
At the center of the libel suit is an editorial written by Heard in the Washington Post in 2018, at the height of the #MeToo movement. This was two years after she filed for divorce from Depp and obtained a restraining order against him. Although she was oblique about her claims in the article and did not name her ex-husband, Depp sued her for $50 million for defamation, arguing that it made him an outcast.
“So strange when one day you’re Cinderellaso to speak, then in 0.6 seconds you are Quasimodo“, he said during his examination in chief on Tuesday.
Mutual recriminations punctuated the trial. Depp maintained that it was Heard who was the real assailant, not him. He admitted to using substances, including abusing the painkiller Roxicodone, but maintained that it was not for the “party effect”, but to self-medicate his experiences with trauma. Depp and his sister Christi Dembrowski both testified that their mother was violent and their conflict-averse father, in Dembrowski’s words, “never reacted”.
Depp’s lawyer is trying to show that their client has indeed internalized this dynamic. The actor testified that he had, in a sense, formed a relationship with his mother when he met with Heard.
“I know that sounds perverse, obtuse,” he said.
Depp testified Monday that Heard viewed Bettany as a threat that distracted Depp’s attention from her. He recounted an incident in which she and Bettany had “a debate over lunch.” She got rude, speaking over Bettany when he tried to make a point.
“She got mean and she got loud,” he said.
Bettany’s 18-year-old son tried to join the discussion with his personal knowledge gained from studying the subject at school, but Heard “put down” the young man until he burst into sobs and walks away, Depp testified.
Jurors saw Depp’s texts, in which he often uses colorful and vulgar language similar to what was in the “burning” message to Bettany. Thanking the nurse Debbie Lloydwho helped him heal his lost finger, he compared trying to adequately thank her to a “monkey trying to kiss a soccer ball”.
“It’s just impossible,” he wrote.
Other texts presented at the trial included terms such as “silly cow” and “ugly pussy”.
FOR THE IDIOT COW!! Depp now explains this text which was shown in cross-examination. #JohnnyDepp says it’s between him and Vanessa (the mother of his kids) calling it more “abstract humor” and it’s not referring to #AmberHeard. @LawCrimeNetwork pic.twitter.com/wixx94b64i
— Cathy Russon (@cathyrusson) April 25, 2022
Depp said during direct examination last week that his texts were the literary flourishes of a man steeped in the arts, influenced by a gonzo journalist and friend. Hunter S. Thompsonpoet Allen Ginsbergsongwriter Van Morrison and director by Stanley Kubrick A ClOrange ockwork.
Depp on Monday denied cutting his finger.
“There’s no reason in the world for me to literally cut my finger off to waste this great opportunity I was given at age 12 to learn to play the guitar,” he said.
Other evidence presented at trial included an audio in which Heard taunted Depp as a “fucking baby”. She seemed to admit to hitting him.
“You did not receive any blows. You got hit,” Heard tells him on the recording. “I’m sorry to hit you like that, but I didn’t hit you. I didn’t fuck you. I fucking hit you. I don’t know what my actual hand movement was. But you are fine. I didn’t hurt you. I didn’t hit you. I hit you.
Public responses to the defamation allegations have been as controversial as the allegations. The parties portray the other side as the bad guy in all of this, but the marriage counselor Laurel Andersonwho worked with the couple when they went to therapy in 2015, said the husband and wife both abused each other.
“He was well controlled, I think for almost – I don’t know – 20, 30 years,” Anderson said of Depp. “And both of them were victims of abuse in their homes. But I thought it had been well controlled for decades. And then with Ms. Heard it was triggered. And they went into what I considered to be mutual abuse.
Adam Klasfeld contributed to this report.
[Screenshot via the Law&Crime Network]
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