DISCLAIMER: This story contains details about domestic abuse.
Amber Heard told jurors on Thursday that a campaign of harassment waged against her by ex-husband Johnny Depp left her humiliated and scared for her life due to multiple death threats, and said she just wanted “Johnny leave me alone”.
Heard was the final witness in Depp’s six-week libel lawsuit against his ex-wife. With cameras in the courtroom, millions of people watched the trial, and interest seemed to grow as the weeks went by and Depp and Heard testified about the ugly details of their relationship.
Online and at the courthouse, Depp fans overwhelmingly dominated the narrative, with people lining up overnight to get one of the few seats in the courtroom and wave to Depp as he walks in and out . Heard was booed by onlookers on the street as she walked in and out of the courthouse.
“The harassment and humiliation, the campaign against me that echoes 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, holding back his tears. “Maybe it’s easy to forget that I’m a human being.”
During cross-examination, Depp’s lawyer, Camille Vasquez, told Heard that “your lies have been exposed to the world” and asked her about people who contradicted parts of her accounts.
“I know how many people will come out of the woodwork 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 violence.” Lawyers for Depp say the actor was defamed by the article even though he never mentioned his name.
Heard said she hoped the trial would give her voice back and said 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 took enough of my voice,” she said. “I have the right to tell my story.”
Depp denied ever hitting Heard and said she was the aggressor in the relationship. Heard has testified to more than a dozen separate instances of physical abuse she says she suffered at the hands of Depp.
The hand surgeon testifies
The last witness for Depp’s team on Thursday morning was hand surgeon Richard Gilbert, who said he believed Depp’s middle finger injury could have happened as Depp described it.
The fingertip 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 bottle of alcohol.
Jurors will hear oral arguments on Friday.
Support is available for anyone who has been abused or assaulted. You can access crisis lines and local support services through the Canadian Association for the Elimination of Violence Database. The Canadian Women’s Foundation Help signal is a silent one-handed gesture to use during a video call to indicate that you are at risk of violence in the home. If you are in immediate danger or fear for your safety or the safety of those around you, please call 911.