FAIRFAX. Va. — Amber Heard’s whirlwind romance with Johnny Depp became a real-life horror film as the actor morphed into a Jekyll-and-Hyde “monster” — who beat and threatened to kill her when he abused drugs and alcohol, she testified Wednesday.
The harrowing details of the couple’s soured love story came when the “Aquaman” actress took the stand after more than three weeks of the jury in their bombshell defamation trial hearing from Depp’s side.
“He was the love of my life but he was also this other thing … And that other thing was awful,” Heard said in the Fairfax, Virginia, courtroom.
An “awful thing that would come out and take over and you couldn’t see the Johnny I loved underneath it,” she continued, saying Depp, 58, called his abusive self “the monster.”
Heard, 36, who grew emotional several times during her few hours of testimony, said she never knew which version of the “Pirates of the Caribbean” star she was going to get.
”Johnny on speed is very different from Johnny on opiates. Johnny on opiates is very different from Adderall and cocaine Johnny, which is very different from quaaludes Johnny, but I had to get good at paying attention to the different versions of him,” she testified.
Heard told the court that her relationship with Depp was intense from the start, but in the beginning, that was part of the appeal.
“When I was around Johnny, I felt like the most beautiful person in the world,” she said, appearing to choke back tears. “It made me feel seen. It made me feel like a million dollars.”
The turning point in their relationship came when Depp first slapped her in March 2013, she testified.
“I’ll never forget it. It changed my life,” she said. The couple had been sitting on the couch, when she asked him about a tattoo he had that she couldn’t make out.
Depp told her it said, “Wino,” prompting her to laugh. But he allegedly didn’t find it funny — and slapped her across the face, Heard testified.
“I laughed because I didn’t know what else to do. I thought this must be a joke,” she said.
She thought, “he would start laughing too to tell me it’s a joke” — but instead, she claimed, he screamed: “You think it’s so funny? You think it’s funny, bitch? You think you’re a funny bitch.”
Depp slapped her again before getting on his hands and knees, holding her hands and begging for forgiveness while sobbing.
“I will never do that again, I’m so sorry, baby … I thought I put the monster away,” Depp said, according to Heard’s testimony.
Earlier in the day Wednesday, the jury was played an audio recording where Heard asked Depp about his “monster” mode.
“Is the monster gone? Did you put him away?” Heard said.
As the “monster,” Depp would smash things, break furniture, throw cups at her, call her a “whore,” turning their relationship into “a never-ending fight,” she said.
Depp was a jealous partner, always accusing her of cheating with a “revolving door of accusations.” He once tried to use a BIC lighter to burn a painting an ex-lover of Heard had made, she said.
She became emotional while recounting one particularly harrowing encounter in May 2013, when Johnny Depp allegedly performed a non-consensual “cavity search” on her while looking for his drugs.
Heard said the moment began when an allegedly high Depp accused her of hiding his drugs.
Depp started patting her dress, before ripping both it and underwear off.
“Then he proceeds to do a cavity search,” Heard said with a whimper.
“He just shoved his fingers inside me,” she continued, adding that she “just stood there standing at the stupid light” as he twisted his fingers around inside her.
In another story from July 2013, Heard said her former husband threatened to kill her while the two were in the Bahamas in July of that year.
“He slams me up by my neck and holds me there for a second and tells me that he could f—ing kill me and that I was an embarrassment,” she said.
The couple had been on the island with Depp’s two kids, then in their early teens, going on a final trip on his yacht before he sold it to J.K. Rowling.
His daughter, Lily-Ross Depp, now 22, grew upset with her dad’s boozy behavior, Heard said, and Depp accused the actress of telling his kids about his addiction problems before he allegedly attacked her.
Despite the alleged abuse, Heard said held onto the hope he would get sober.
“What kept me in it was waiting for the other shoe to drop, the sobriety shoe,” she said.
But Depp didn’t stop. And his continued addiction to drugs and alcohol addiction, she said, left her trapped in a marriage with an abuser she loved too much to leave.
The actress, wearing a three-piece suit paired with a blue buttoned-down shirt with white stripes, said she was just 22 when the two first met in 2008 while auditioning for “The Rum Diary.”
Heard, who said she was a “no-name” actor was left spellbound after learning she and Depp shared many of the same interests, such as poetry.
“It was weird because he was twice my age and this world-famous actor,” said Heard.
The two played romantic interests in the film based on the life of Hunter S. Thompson, an idol of Depp’s, and when they had a kissing scene where, the “lines got blurred,” she said.
“It didn’t feel like a normal scene anymore … it felt more real,” Heard told the jury. “He grabbed my face and pulled me into him and really kissed me.”
The two fell in love a few years later on the movie’s press tour in 2011.
They began “secretly dating,” since it hadn’t yet been made public that Depp had split from his former partner, Vanessa Paradis, the mother of his children. At the beginning, he was generous, lavishing her with gifts and making grand, romantic gestures, she said.
Being with Depp before it all went to hell “felt like absolute magic,” she said.
“I felt like this man knew me, saw me, in a way so one else had.”
Depp is suing Heard for $50 million, claiming she defamed him in a 2018 op-ed in the Washington Post where she discussed being a victim of domestic violence. He denies all allegation of abuse against her.
While he was not named in the essay, Depp claims it clearly referenced him and ruined his career, damaged his reputation and cost him tens of millions of dollars.
Depp barely made eye contact with his ex-wife as she testified. He has already taken the stand, telling the jury his side over four days, including how he brought the lawsuit to “clear my name.”
Heard will continue her testimony Thursday.
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