The trial of Johnny Depp vs. his ex-wife Amber Heard has been filled with explosive and at times bizarre testimony about the couple’s toxic relationship.
Depp is suing Heard for $50 million claiming she libeled him in a 2018 op-ed piece in The Washington Post, costing him a lucrative role in the “Pirates of the Caribbean” franchise. Although Heard didn’t name Depp in the article, the “Aquaman” star described herself as a “public figure representing domestic abuse.”
Over the course of three weeks in the dueling defamation trial, Depp’s legal team has called more than a dozen witnesses who have testified about drugs, booze, fights, money and tainted careers.
Here are eight moments that captivated the courtroom this week.
1. Depp’s severed fingertip
Dr. David Kipper, a private addiction specialist who offered personalized services and traveled the world with the Depp, testified that Depp “lost part of a finger” after a violent fight with Heard while in Australia shooting the fifth “Pirates of the Caribbean” film.
Kipper described the incident from March 2015 in a prerecorded deposition played in court, explaining that Depp texted him to say the tip of his fingertip had been severed. Kipper said he made a house call to check on Depp, who was “coherent,” but the house was a mess and there appeared to be “blood on the wall.”
Depp’s former house manager Ben King told the court he found Depp’s missing fingertip in a bloody paper towel near the bar. He put it on ice then gave it to Kipper and Depp’s head of security Jerry Judge, to take to the hospital in hopes that it could be re-attached. King said Kipper was “rummaging through a bin” in the kitchen looking for the missing digit, before he found it himself.
2. Mattress poop: Retaliation or practical joke?
Depp told the court that as his relationship with Heard unraveled, he wanted to collect his belongings from their Los Angeles penthouse. He said he let his security guards know he planned to go inside the building, but he received a message from them saying it wasn’t a good time. Depp said he wanted to know why, when he was told he should wait because there was “human fecal matter” on his side of his and Heard’s bed. The actor added that he was sent a picture of the feces as proof. “It was so outside, it was so bizarre and so grotesque that I could only laugh,” Depp said.
Depp said that when confronted, Heard tried to blame what he called the “fecal delivery” on their yorkies. But he said it was clearly human feces.
Depp’s bodyguard Starling Jenkins told the court he spoke to Heard about “the surprise she left in the boss’ bed prior to leaving the apartment.” Jenkins said Heard called pooping on Depp’s bed, “a horrible practical joke gone wrong.”
3. Talent agent warned Depp about bad press
Depp’s former CAA agent, Christian Carino, appeared to be through with discussing his former client’s issues but told the court the actor had become unemployable in Hollywood following Heard’s allegations of abuse.
Carino, a longtime agent who previously represented Depp, said he warned the actor’s handlers that his legal disputes were becoming a “distraction” for the “Pirates of the Caribbean” star’s career. “The general public doesn’t want to hear that people they look up to are in litigation,” Carino said in a videotaped deposition recorded on Jan. 19, 2021.
Carino said the nonstop coverage, including when Depp lost his case against the Sun in 2020, affected the actor’s offscreen reputation. At one point, Carino said he began to have discussions with “Pirates” producer Jerry Bruckheimer about Depp being dropped from a planned sixth film in the lucrative Disney franchise.
4. Angry doorman vapes and drives during testimony, shocking judge
Alejandro Romero, a front desk employee at Depp and Heard’s LA Penthouse building, made it clear he wanted no part of the case. He said he couldn’t remember much about the couple’s time together nor did he want to. “You sent me the papers to review, and I didn’t even want to review it because it’s been so long. It’s like I just don’t want to deal with this anymore,” Romero said in a prerecorded video deposition.
The doorman was seated in the driver’s seat of a vehicle in the video. At one point, he drank a soda, vaped, and then drove off for lunch. “I’m so stressed out because of this, I just don’t want to deal with this anymore. I’m tired, I don’t want to deal with this court case, everybody’s got problems and I don’t want to deal with this anymore,” he said.
After dismissing the jury for lunch, Judge Penney Azcarate looked shocked and said she’d seen a lot of things, but “that was a first.” Heard’s attorney, Elaine Bredehoft, agreed, calling it “the most bizarre deposition.” Bredehoft said, “When he started driving…” Azcarate replied, “Yep, that did it.”
5. Depp defends himself against Heard’s abuse allegations
Depp, who said he waited six years to tell his story, spent four days on the stand defending himself against Heard’s allegations, which he called “heinous and disturbing.”
He told the court the “Aquaman” actress’ accusations were “not based in any species of truth” and “I want to clear my name.”
Depp claimed Heard would “verbally decimate me or send me into a tailspin or depression,” and allegedly attack him by slapping, shoving, throwing remotes at his head and throwing wine in his face. The “Pirates” star said, “in her frustration and rage and anger she would strike out.”
6. Psychologist diagnosed Heard with borderline personality disorder
Dr. Shannon Curry, a clinical and forensic psychologist, was asked by Depp’s lawyers to provide a psychological evaluation of Heard, whom the psychologist met with and talked to on two separate occasions. Curry, who also reviewed case files, told the courtroom that she had assessed Heard to have borderline personality disorder, defined by the Mayo Clinic as a mental disorder impacting the way a person thinks or feels about themselves and others causing self-image issues, difficulty managing emotions, behavior and relationships.
Heard was also assessed by Curry to have a histrionic personality disorder, which is characterized by a pattern of excessive attention-seeking behaviors, usually beginning in early childhood, including inappropriate seduction and excessive desire for approval, according to the Mayo Clinic.
Curry insisted Heard does not suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder from her relationship with Depp as Heard has said. “Ms. Heard did not have PTSD and there was also pretty significant indications that she was grossly exaggerating symptoms of PTSD when asked about them,” Curry told the court.
7. Heard begs Depp not to cut himself in audio recording
Johnny Depp was heard in a series of audio recordings vomiting, ranting and arguing with his former wife, Amber Heard. In one recording, Heard begs Depp to “put the knife down!” as she apparently tries to talk him out of harming himself. The July 2016 incident was recorded two months after they filed for divorce, according to Depp’s testimony.
Heard told Depp, “Please, don’t cut yourself, please don’t. You’re going to hurt yourself.” Heard also told Depp the knife was too dull to cut skin.
8. Heard’s op-ed might have been timed to capitalize on “Aquaman” publicity
Heard’s 2018 op-ed in The Washington Post on gender-based violence ignited her current legal battle with ex-husband Depp, and it was revealed the piece was timed to coincide with the release of her film “Aquaman.”
Terence Dougherty, general counsel and COO for the ACLU, said in a prerecorded deposition that the actress worked directly with the individual rights organization on what the op-ed would say, where it would be published and when it would be released.
“Placing op-eds about matters such as this is the kind of thing that is the bread and butter for the ACLU,” Dougherty explained.