Actor Johnny Depp took the stand in a Fairfax, Virginia court on Tuesday in his defamation case against his ex-wife Amber Heard.
In his roughly three-hour testimony, which will continue Wednesday, the Oscar-nominated star spoke in detail about Heard’s allegations of domestic abuse, his history with substance abuse and their relationship.
“My goal is the truth,” Depp said early in his remarks.
Depp, known for his work in the “Pirates of the Caribbean” franchise, is suing Heard for $50 million in a Fairfax County, Virginia court over a 2018 Washington Post op-ed in which she wrote about her experience with domestic abuse.
Depp was not referred to by name in Heard’s piece.
In the years prior to its publishing, Heard had alleged Depp bruised her face after throwing a phone at her in their Los Angeles home. Depp denied the allegation and was not charged with any crime.
Depp acknowledged in his testimony that he and Heard had arguments during their relationship but 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.”
He also described his parents’ tumultuous relationship and the verbal and physical abuse he and his siblings experienced by their mother. He also alleged that his first experience with taking controlled substances occurred when he was roughly 11 years old and would take his mother’s prescription pills “to escape the chaotic nature of what we were living through.”
Depp claims Heard’s op-ed led to financial losses for him, including being dropped from future “Pirates of the Caribbean” films after he led the franchise for 15 years.
“One day you’re Cinderella so to speak and then in zero point six seconds you’re Quasimodo,” Depp said of how his career turned after he was accused of abuse. “I didn’t deserve that and nor did my children, nor did the people who had believed in me all these years.”
Depp sheepishly admitted in his testimony that he has not seen the first film in the “Pirates” franchise. He said, however, “I believed in the character wholeheartedly.”
‘She was too good to be true’
The trial began last week, and Depp said Tuesday that his testimony was the “first opportunity I’ve had to speak about this case in full.”
Depp and Amber met on the set of “The Rum Diary” in 2009, married in 2015 and went on to be embroiled in a contentious split for months, with charges of bad behavior levied by both sides.
In his testimony, Depp spoke about the beginning of his relationship with Heard, saying “from what I recall, what I remember, she was too good to be true.”
“She was attentive, she was loving, she was smart, she was kind, she was funny, she was understanding. We had many things in common,” he said.
Depp said Heard was “wonderful” for some time between a year and a year and a half. He also described growing close to Heard’s family.
“Then things just started to change – or things started to reveal themselves, is a better way to put it.”
The couple settled their divorce in August 2016, releasing a joint statement which read in part, “Our relationship was intensely passionate and at times volatile, but always bound by love.”
Heard had been unsuccessful in her attempts to get the suit dismissed. She filed a $100 million defamation countersuit against Depp in 2020, which is ongoing.
A prior case
In 2020, Depp lost a case in the UK against News Group Newspapers and Dan Wootton, executive editor of The Sun, over an article that claimed Depp was violent toward Heard while they were together. The UK’s High Court ruled in the publisher’s favor.
Lawyers for the newspaper group argued in court filings that Depp “beat his wife Amber Heard, causing her to suffer significant injury, and on occasion leading to her fearing for her life,” citing evidence, including photos, audio recordings and Depp’s own text messages.
During the trial, Depp said the tabloid’s claims that he was violent toward Heard were “completely untrue.”
Judge Andrew Nicol said in his judgment that the paper’s claims had been shown to be “substantially true.”
Heard posted a note in advance of the current defamation trial on her verified social media accounts, writing “I never named [Depp], rather I wrote about the price women pay for speaking against men in power. I continue to pay that price, but hopefully when this case concludes, I can move on and so can Johnny.”
“I have always maintained a love for Johnny and it brings me great pain to have to live out the details of our past life together in front of the world,” she wrote. “At this time, I recognize the ongoing support I’ve been fortunate to receive throughout these years, and in these coming weeks I will be leaning on it more than ever.”
CNN’s Rob Picheta contributed to this report.