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Amber Heard: I ‘Stand by Every Word’ of Testimony in Defamation Trial

Almost two weeks after losing a high-profile defamation trial, Amber Heard said in a television interview on Tuesday that she had told the truth on the stand about her accusations of abuse against her ex-husband, Johnny Depp. She also took issue with the judge’s handling of evidence that she said helps prove her account of the relationship.

Ms. Heard told NBC’s “Today” show that she will “stand by every word” of her testimony to her “dying day.” She alleged repeated physical abuse by Mr. Depp, as well as several instances of sexual abuse, all of which Mr. Depp denied.

In her first public interview since the jury verdict in Fairfax, Va., Ms. Heard acknowledged that she was responsible for “horrible, regrettable” behavior toward Mr. Depp, including demeaning insults that were aired in court, but maintained that any physical violence on her part was in response to his own. Mr. Depp testified that Ms. Heard was violent toward him, and not the other way around.

“I behaved in horrible — almost unrecognizable to myself — ways,” Ms. Heard said. “It was very, very toxic. We were awful to each other.”

But, she asserted, “I’ve always told the truth.”

Ms. Heard, 36, lost the defamation case that Mr. Depp filed against her, alleging that she had “devastated” his career after The Washington Post published an op-ed in which she called herself a “public figure representing domestic abuse.” The article did not mention Mr. Depp by name, but he and his lawyers argued that it was clearly referring to a time in 2016 in which Ms. Heard told a court that Mr. Depp was physically abusive toward her.

The $10.35 million award to Mr. Depp was offset by a $2 million award for Ms. Heard. The jury found that Mr. Depp had defamed Ms. Heard in one instance, when a lawyer who had previously represented him during the defamation proceedings made a statement to a British tabloid accusing her of damaging the couple’s penthouse and blaming it on Mr. Depp.

A lawyer for Ms. Heard, Elaine Charlson Bredehoft, has said she plans to appeal the verdict.

The six-week trial turned into an internet obsession fueled by courtroom sound bites made accessible by a pair of cameras filming the proceedings for livestreams and television broadcasts. Ms. Heard was on the receiving end of much of the online vitriol, with Depp fans mocking her testimony and calling her a liar.

“Even if you think that I’m lying, you still couldn’t tell me — look me in the eye and tell me — that you think on social media there’s been a fair representation,” Ms. Heard said in the NBC interview, more of which will air later this week. She added that she had “never felt more removed from my own humanity.”

In the days after the verdict, Ms. Heard’s legal team has argued that it would have been impossible for the jury, which was unsequestered, to completely shield themselves from the social media bias against their client.

Ms. Heard said there had been “really important pieces of evidence” that a judge kept out of the Virginia trial, some of which were allowed in a separate trial in London. In that case, Mr. Depp sued when The Sun newspaper called him a “wife beater” in a headline. Mr. Depp lost that case, and the British judge was persuaded that Mr. Depp had physically abused Ms. Heard repeatedly throughout their relationship.

For example, a series of text messages from Mr. Depp’s former personal assistant, Stephen Deuters, was admitted in the British trial but not the U.S. one. In one of the messages, which are from 2014, Mr. Deuters wrote to Ms. Heard that Mr. Depp had cried when Mr. Deuters told him that Mr. Depp had “kicked” Ms. Heard. He had been referring to an incident on a private plane in which, Ms. Heard has testified, Mr. Depp kicked her in the back before passing out in the bathroom while intoxicated. In the London trial, Mr. Deuters denied that Mr. Depp had kicked Ms. Heard, saying he wrote that text message to mollify her.

The judge in Virginia also denied the admission of a psychotherapist’s notes, from 2015, in which the psychotherapist documented that Ms. Heard texted him, “Johnny did a number on me tonight” and asked for help. In that incident, Ms. Heard testified, Mr. Depp head-butted her and tore out clumps of her hair — which Mr. Depp denied. The British judge cited those notes in his decision.

In an interview with “Today” last week, a lawyer for Mr. Depp, Benjamin Chew, said the evidence that should have been admitted was admitted and that “the judge was very fair to both sides.” Camille Vasquez, another lawyer for Mr. Depp, took issue with the suggestion that the jury had been influenced by social media, saying that they had reminded them every evening of the trial to avoid any media about the case.

Asked on the “Today” show whether Mr. Depp had a better legal team than she did, Ms. Heard replied, “His lawyers did certainly a better job of distracting the jury from the real issues.”



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