As Johnny Depp’s time on the witness stand ground into a fourth full day Monday, it appeared the grueling testimony was beginning to weigh on the “Pirates” star, whose calm and often light demeanor of last week gave way Monday to a more grim and pained witness.
The Fairfax, Virginia, court proceedings opened Monday with more cross-examination as lawyers for Heard played audio of fights recorded at various points during their marriage. While the heated conversations played in the courtroom, with varying levels of intoxication and agitation evident at times from both parties, Depp visibly winced, putting his hand to his mouth, while Heard looked to be on the verge of tears.
In one recording, Depp could be heard defending his tendency to walk away from their conflicts: “If I don’t walk away, it’s just going to be a bloodbath,” he says. “Just like it was on the island.”
With testimony intensifying, Depp became irritable at times, sassing back to Heard’s lawyers when he was interrupted by a question in the middle of an answer.
“I was talking, is that OK?” he said. When the attorney suggested he was the one directing the conversation, Depp replied, “As long as you’re happy, sir.”
Depp also objected to the characterization of a photo of him slumped in a chair as showing him “passed out.”
“That’s a very specific term,” Depp said, a skeptical look on his face. “‘Passed out’? ‘Sleeping’ would be another [way of saying it].”
At one point, attorneys for Heard used one of Depp’s own text messages to challenge his continuing claim that the tip of his finger was sliced off when his now-ex-wife threw a liquor bottle at him during an argument.
Heard lawyer J. Benjamin Rottenborn read text messages from Depp to his personal physician, in which he said “I cut the tip of my finger off.” Visibly annoyed, Depp said “it’s just the way it was worded,” and suggested he would never do something to jeopardize his guitar playing, “the only thing that’s given me peace” over the decades.
Rottenborn continued to question Depp in a rapid-fire fashion. Rottenborn questioned Depp’s claim that the op-ed article Heard wrote in The Washington Post in which he was indirectly referred to as a “wife-beater” had derailed his career and read a number of media headlines mentioning Depp’s struggle with addiction, financial woes and that he was tanking his career.
“These are all hit pieces,” Depp said, at times talking over Rottenborn’s monologue of scathing press clips. “This is a pathetic attempt. These are drags. … this is all heresay — your favorite word!”
Depp is suing Heard for $50 million claiming she libeled him in the 2018 op-ed piece in the Washington Post. Heard filed a $100 million counterclaim for defamation for Depp’s attorney calling her a “liar.”
Heard is also expected to take the stand in the coming days.
Jenyne Donaldson contributed to this report.