A former personal assistant to Amber Heard said she never saw the actress suffer physical abuse at the hands of her then-husband Johnny Depp – but she says Heard once spat in her face when he asked for a higher salary.
Heard became very angry, sent incoherent text messages at 4 a.m. and was frequently drunk and on drugs, Kate James testified in a video deposition that played in court Thursday during the trial for Depp’s libel suit against Heard.
Depp, on the other hand, is very calm, almost shy, “like a total Southern man,” James said.
The Pirates of the Caribbean actor accused Heard of indirectly defaming him in a 2018 opinion piece he wrote for The Washington Post.
Heard described himself in the article as a “public figure representing domestic violence”.
The work does not mention Depp’s name. But his lawyer argued that it was a clear reference to the restraining order Heard requested in May 2016, right after Depp told him he wanted a divorce.
Depp has denied abusing Heard, but Heard’s lawyers say evidence will prove that he did. The actor’s denials, they argue, are less credible because he drank and used drugs so often that he passed out and failed to remember anything he did.
Video testimony from James offers a reverse view: Depp is a peaceful person, he says, while Heard is often drunk and verbally abusive, including to his own mother and sister.
“His poor little brother is being treated like a dog you kick, basically,” said James.
James, who worked for Heard from 2012 to 2015, said he was paid “very badly.” He said he was hired on a starting salary of $25 an hour and his duties ranged from picking up Heard’s dry laundry to talking to Hollywood actress agents.
James said he was also tasked with taking two copies of any magazine featuring Heard and keeping them in the garage to prevent Depp from seeing it. Heard went “blind rage” when James failed to place the magazine in the garage, James said.
Regarding his time with Heard and Depp, James said Heard was a “very dramatic person” who was very insecure in relationships. Heard often called James to cry and complain about Depp, he said.
“I remember one time he called me when he was alone in New York City, and he was crying and walking down the street,” James said. She said she told Heard to go inside: “I was worried the paparazzi would take her picture.”
Some depositions focus on the text messages Depp sent to James after he and Heard separated. Depp’s text reads: “Come to the purple place and we’ll fix his flabby ass nice and good.”
A lawyer asked if the “purple spot” meant grape and if “he” meant Heard. James said he didn’t want to speculate.
“This is how he writes,” James said of Depp. “It’s very random and you don’t question it. … He wrote in a very abstract way.”
The attorney also presented a video deposition of Laurel Anderson, a couples therapist who worked with Heard and Depp in 2015, when they were 29 and 52 years old, respectively.
Anderson said the two experienced childhood abuse. As a couple, they engaged in “harassing each other,” he testified.
Heard’s father beat him, Anderson said, adding, “It would be an honor for him if he felt unappreciated to start a fight.”
Heard also would rather fight with Depp than see him off, and “would attack him to keep him there,” Anderson said.
The therapist recalled a time when Heard told him that Depp was “boosting,” as he put it, on a lot of drugs.
“And he slapped her because she was incoherent and talked about being with other women,” Anderson said. He noted that Depp’s mother was in the hospital at the time.
Anderson said Depp told him Heard “gives as good as he gets”. She also said that in at least one session where she saw Heard alone, the actress told her that Depp hit her. He said Heard showed the bruises, both in photos and in person.
Anderson said Heard also told him that Depp at one point allegedly said, “No one likes you. You get fame from me. I am falling in love with you. You’re a whore.”
Anderson also said that Heard’s “hammer chattering style” and Depp’s chopping habit overwhelmed him.
Heard “want to get divorced” but also didn’t, and was still thinking about what to do, Anderson said. “He loves her. She loves him. He’s not stupid. He knows that what they are doing is unhealthy.”
Both Depp and Heard are expected to testify at the Fairfax County Circuit Court trial, which is scheduled for six weeks, along with actors Paul Bettany and James Franco and tech entrepreneur Elon Musk.
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