LONDON — Amber Heard dismissed accusations Tuesday that she fabricated allegations of domestic violence against ex-husband Johnny Depp, and told a British court that the first time she struck him after years of abuse was to defend her sister from being thrown down the stairs.
Taking to the witness box for a second day during Depp's libel case against a British tabloid at the High Court in London, the actress faced a barrage of questions over alleged incidents that are central to The Sun's labeling of Depp in an April 2018 article as a "wife beater."
She also admitted striking Depp for the first time in March 2015, after years of alleged abuse, to defend her sister, Whitney. When asked whether she had punched Depp "with a closed fist," Heard conceded she had struck him after he had hit both of them.
"He was about to push her down the stairs and the moment before that happened, I remembered information I had heard that he pushed a former girlfriend — I believe it was Kate Moss — down the stairs." she said. Depp dated the top model in the 1990s.
"I will never forget this incident," she said. "It was the first time after all these years."
Depp's counsel, Eleanor Laws, wondered why Heard had not mentioned the Moss allegation previously.
"I've not had the liberty of time or space or energy even to list every thought that crossed my mind," Heard said.
Depp, 57, is suing The Sun's publisher, News Group Newspapers, and the paper's executive editor, Dan Wootton, over the article. The Hollywood star strongly denies abusing Heard, and claimed in court that she had been violent to him. He was present to hear Heard's testimony.
His lawyer sought to show inconsistencies in Heard's allegations, accusing her of weaving a "web of lies" and "making this up as you go along."
Heard, 34, insisted through the day that she was being truthful.
"I can just tell you after everything I had been through; I had been strangled, punched, sexually assaulted, among other things," she said.
Laws made much of a series of video clips from an elevator at the couple's Los Angeles apartment building that she claimed showed no evidence of any injuries on Heard's face after an incident on May 21, 2016, which ended up with police arriving on the scene. Laws also wondered why others in the building did not notice injuries in the days after.
The actress has alleged that Depp threw a phone at her "like he was a baseball pitcher," hitting her on the right cheek and eye. She said she wears makeup when leaving home that could have camouflaged signs of an injury.
Heard also denied she had an "illicit relationship" with anyone during her time with Depp, specifically with either Tesla CEO Elon Musk or actor James Franco. "Not that that matters much," Heard said.
Laws read out text messages on May 22, 2016, in which Heard allegedly tells Musk she is going to obtain a restraining order against Depp, and the billionaire offers to "arrange 24/7 security." Musk allegedly said the offer would stand, "even if you never wanted to see me again ... anyway, sorry for being an idiot. The radio silence hurts a lot. It only matters because I really like you."
Depp and Heard met on the set of the comedy "The Rum Diary," released in 2011. They married in Los Angeles in February 2015. Heard filed for divorce the following year, and it was finalized in 2017.
In the first nine days of testimony at the High Court, judge Andrew Nicol heard from Depp and from several current or former employees who backed his version of events. In his testimony, Depp said he was the one being abused by Heard and that she had a history of being violent against him.
Via audio recordings of the couple discussing various incidents played in court, Depp's lawyer sought to show that Heard admitted she had been violent against Depp. Heard said any contact was purely self-defense.
"I knew better than to fight with him about the details of the fight, and what he perceived as injuries to him," she said. "My job was to say sorry and get him on track, and move on to bigger things."
Heard denied the allegation made in court in the first week of the trial that she, or one of her friends, defecated on the couple's bed the morning after her 30th birthday party in April 2016.
"That's absolutely disgusting," Heard said. "I can't imagine what kind of human being would have a sense of humour like that, other than Johnny, but I don't think that's funny, I think it's horrific."
Heard suggested the feces came from one of their Yorkshire Terriers, Pistol and Boo, but that Boo had had issues ever since he had allegedly eaten some of Depp's marijuana as a puppy, or as she phrased it "since the weed."
In written testimony released to the court, Heard said that at various times during their relationship she endured "punching, slapping, kicking, head-butting and choking." She said some incidents were "so severe" she was "afraid he was going to kill me, either intentionally or just by losing control and going too far." She said he blamed his actions on "a self-created third party" that he referred to as "the monster."
Heard's testimony is expected to last for four days, through Thursday.