Johnny Depp vs. Amber Heard: Day Three Begins with a Bang as Heard's Former Assistant Testifies

Johnny Depp vs. Amber Heard: Day Three Begins with a Bang as Heard’s Former Assistant Testifies

April 14, 2022, FAIRFAX COUNTY, VA  — The 50-million-dollar defamation lawsuit between actors Johnny Depp and Amber Heard is now underway in Fairfax County, Virginia in Depp vs Heard. Each accused the other side of lies, defamation and abuse. The case stems from a December, 2018 opinion piece that Amber wrote that was published in the Washington Post.

You can find every single document stemming from all of their legal disputes, from their divorce to the defamation case, all compiled and labeled here. You can find the documents from the UK case there as well.

The trial could last at least six weeks, with over 100 witnesses who may testify, and both Depp and Heard may take the stand as well. Depp met Heard during the shooting of the film “The Rum Diaries” in 2009. The former co-stars began dating each other in 2012 and were married three years later.

Around the time of Heard’s blockbuster film Aquaman’s release in May of 2016, police were called to the couple’s Los Angeles home responding to an alleged domestic dispute. The Los Angeles Police Department concluded that there was no evidence of a crime. A few days after that, Amber Heard filed for divorce and a restraining order, having accused Depp of “repeated” domestic violence. Depp’s representatives denied these allegations, but Heard was granted a temporary restraining order.

The bitter feud between the two played out in the public, with both parties slinging accusations at each other. Before the hearing on the restraining order, the couple ended their divorce, settled for a reported 7 million dollars. Heard dropped the restraining order, and she and Depp released a joint statement claiming that: “Our relationship was intensely passionate and at times volatile, but always bound by love. Neither party has made false accusations for financial gain. There was never any intent of physical or emotional harm.”

Then in 2018, Heard published the op-ed in the Washington Post, alleging domestic violence, which Depp claimed was defamatory and caused him harm to his career. Heard claimed that Depp repeatedly abused her.

The trial began with opening statements and testimony from Depp’s sister Christi Dembrowski. The next day Christi Dembrowski continued her testimony and we also heard from Isaac Baruch and Brandon Patterson. Linked are my prior two articles on the trial.

Today’s Proceedings

The trial began this morning at 10 a.m. Ms. Heard entered the court room dressed in an all black suit with her hair tied in braids pinned up on her head, Depp in a dark black suit with a dark blue tie.

First Witness: Kate James

Today began with testimony from Amber Heard’s former long-time personal assistant, a woman named Kate James. Miss James testified that she ran all of Amber’s personal affairs and worked with her very closely, seeing her almost daily for years. She managed her calendar and liaised with movie sets and others to make sure Amber was prepared. Miss James testified that during this time, she never saw anything that would indicate there was violence or abuse from Mr. Depp. She claimed that Ms. Heard was abusive towards her and would scream and yell abuse at her. She also felt that she was not paid well for the amount of work that she did.

At one point, Miss James described an event where she said Ms. Heard flew into a “blind rage” screaming and shouting. She described Ms. Heard having times where she seemed insecure about the relationship she had with Mr. Depp, walking around NYC crying. She described Ms. Heard as being very emotionally dysregulated.

She claimed that Amber didn’t like to be away from Johnny and that it would make her feel insecure. Miss James described her first impression of Depp as very “quiet, peaceful and almost shy,” as well as being like a “southern gentleman.” She says she never saw him lose his cool, or scream at anyone, or break anything, always pretty passive.

Miss James’ son Max was four years old when she first started working for Amber. She says Depp was very kind to her son, whenever they were in each other’s presence. She said he taught him how to play guitar, he would bring him little gifts after trips; he surprised him when he had make-up done for a film and said, “do you know who I am?” Max was surprised and laughed.

Miss James said she believed that Ms. Heard’s insecurities caused confusion in the relationship and that perhaps the age difference was an issue because they had different interests. She said Amber didn’t like her talking to Mr. Depp. In the three years she worked for Heard, she never saw the two argue. She never saw any physical violence. She never saw either of them being physically aggressive with one another. She said she never saw any property damage at either’s residences.

She said Heard was regularly verbally abusive toward her, but she never saw Heard physically abuse anyone. She said she would scream at her over the phone, sometimes in person. She would get incoherent barrages of texts from Heard at 2 a.m. and that she felt she just wanted someone to lash out at. She said Heard treated her sister awfully, like a “kick the dog” type of relationship. She said Amber’s mother told her that she was terrified of Amber.

Miss James said the abuse from Amber was so random and frequent that you never knew when it was going to come. When they were negotiating a raise of her salary, she said Amber flew into a rage, got four inches from her face and was screaming and spitting in her face. She said a handyman witnessed this event. She says she witnessed Ms. Heard drink alcohol, but doesn’t recall how often. She said Ms. Heard often appeared intoxicated while she worked for her. She claimed Amber took prescription drugs like Provigil (for sleep disorders) and Accutane (to treat acne). Miss James said she witnessed what she thought were side effects from the medications, like going into a “manic state.” She said Heard told her she had taken illegal drugs like mushrooms, ecstasy and cocaine.

Miss James said she often appeared disoriented, partying with friends, lots of dancing and this led her to believe she was intoxicated; when she was intoxicated she became more belligerent and abusive. Miss James said she wrote a witness statement for the UK case, for which she provided a witness statement, and understood she was under oath.

The witness statement:

You can read the full Kate James statement above.

Heard’s lawyers tried to put words into her mouth, according to Miss James. Heard’s lawyers asked many leading questions, and tried to make her appear biased, by asking about her obvious disdain for Amber and contempt for her. Miss James claimed she dislikes Amber for good cause and that she has no reason to lie and nothing to gain.

Second Witness: Dr. Laurel Anderson

The second witness to testify today was a video deposition from Dr. Laurel Anderson, a marriage counselor and clinical psychologist, licensed to practice in Los Angeles. She has been practicing for almost 40 years. She practices psychotherapy — an evaluation of an individual’s problems, conceptualization of what is going on, then performs an intervention that leads to change. She does this for couples as well. She had been treating Heard and Depp in couple’s therapy.

Here are my reporter’s notes of Dr. Anderson’s testimony:
On or about October 1, 2015, Johnny Depp and Amber Heard came in for couple counseling for three and a half hours. For the first session, Depp and Heard did not come in together, Dr, Anderson thinks. The next session, October 6, 2015, with Amber alone for background intake, was a two and one-third hour session. The next day, October 7, 2015 Mr. Depp for three and a half. The first three session were in person with her. On October 14, 2015 the couple came in together for three hours. On October 21, 2015 there was a couple session wherein one of them walked out for two hours. On October 24 Ms. Heard was there, did a phone session for one and a half hours.

There was four couple sessions in total. Dr. Anderson says she believes Mr. Depp had trouble having a voice during the sessions, and that Amber had a “jack hammer” style of speech and was very amped up and Depp had trouble talking at a similar pace. In their dialogue, he was cut off a lot. He was really overwhelmed and he couldn’t keep up with her rapid fire way of talking. Heard told her that Depp had abused her. She has photos from Amber claiming abuse. She said she never witnessed abuse between the two.

Depp had been well controlled for almost 20 or 30 years, and then with Heard he was triggered and they engage in mutual abuse. Sometimes Heard led the abuse on more than one occasion because abandonment was her worst nightmare. Depp might have initiated it on some occasions but she’s not sure of that.

It was a point of pride to Heard to get physical, her father had beaten her and she wasn’t going to be disrespected. The second was what she reported to Dr. Anderson which was if he was going to leave her to de-escalate from the fight, she would strike him to keep him there. She would rather be in a fight than have him leave. She says that Amber was the aggressor and would often initiate fights. Depp’s mother was in the ICU and he was high and upset – he was talking incoherently about wanting to be with another woman and she hit him. This is something Amber related on the phone. She had an entourage of people telling her what to do, one of whom being Rockey. “Will she had advantage if she leaves him but claims abuse?” That was something she asked the Doctor. Dr. Anderson says that at one point Amber came in and showed her injuries, but she didn’t witness the abuse. She believed the abuse was mutual.

Third Witness: Gina Deuters

The third witness to testify was Gina Deuters, a friend of Johnny Depp’s. She considers herself a makeup expert. She is speaking about Arnica cream, the same anti-bruising cream Heard’s lawyers mentioned earlier in the trial that Amber used. At a point, Amber’s lawyers asked Deuters if she had been following the proceedings and watching the trial, which she admitted that she had. The Judge dismissed Gina as a witness and asked jury to strike her testimony and disregard it.

Fourth Witness: Dr. David Kipper

The fourth witness to testify was Dr. David Kipper, who treated Johnny. Dr. Kipper testifies Depp was seeking treatment for substance abuse: Alcohol, opiates, stimulants. Dr. Kipper testifies Depp had mood swings that ranged from “good” to “bad.” Mr. Depp told Dr. Kipper there may be traces of cocaine in his toxicology report. Depp tested positive for cocaine and THC. Depp said “he never felt normal without his drugs.”

Dr. Kipper reported that Depp texted to Kipper that he “shot a few negroes” in a bar on Sunset Boulevard. Dr. Kipper’s nurse once found Depp with bloody knuckles after hitting a wall, according to texts (?) — apparently a fight with Heard over taking his meds. Dr. Kipper said he never saw any violence between Depp and Heard but he did hear reports. He claimed that Amber Heard was left alone to administer Depp’s detox drugs in the Bahamas.

Dr Kipper said Depp had a history of self medicating, by using drugs. Dr. Kipper claims he never witnesses any domestic violence.

You can watch the full day’s proceedings here:

The trial will take a three-day weekend and resume on Monday morning, with Dr. Kipper on the stand to continue his testimony.

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