Somehow, the details of Amber Heard and Johnny Depp’s split grow more disturbing and bizarre with each successive update. The divorce filing didn’t shock people as much as a picture of a bruised Heard, which landed with allegations of physical abuse on Depp’s behalf. Friends of the couple (and the internet) swiftly took sides. Some said they witnessed ugliness, and others defended Depp, including comedian Doug Stanhope, who claims Heard “blackmailed” and “manipulated” her husband for a payout. Still others allege that Depp descended into drug and alcohol abuse with the implication that this fueled violent outbursts. Depp’s daughter also spoke out to unequivocally deny that her father could be anything but gentle.
There are numerous updates to this story, so let’s dive right in. The last report alleged how Depp’s fall 2015 injury — a broken hand requiring surgery that disrupted Pirates of the Caribbean 5 production — was a result of Depp slamming his hand into a wall during an argument with his wife. Depp’s security guards have come forward with a denial that one of the alleged incidents involved any violence. Their story claims that Heard “set up” Depp by screaming when he was nowhere near her. Meanwhile, Depp’s attorney, Laura Wasser, has emphasized that Heard never filed a police report on May 21 (when the alleged cell-phone throwing incident occurred). Heard’s rep issued a statement to Just Jared, which stressed how Heard tried to keep the matter under wraps for privacy reasons:
“From the beginning it has been Amber’s desire to keep this matter as private as possible, even though LAPD officers responded to a 911 call made by a third party. The LAPD officers viewed not only the disarray that Johnny had caused in the apartment but also the physical injuries to Amber’s face … We took the high road. Unfortunately, Johnny’s team immediately went to the press and began viciously attacking Amber’s character. Amber is simply a victim of domestic violence, and none of her actions are motivated by money. Amber is a brave and financially independent woman who is showing the courage of her convictions by doing the right thing against Johnny’s relentless army of lawyers and surrogates … Amber is the victim. Amber is a hero.”
The timing of the statement makes sense after the money-grubbing rumors that have been swirling, and those who have never been in a domestic violence scenario may not understand that victims often protect their abusers. Given that Heard and Depp are both high-profile folks, she was also surely motivated by privacy issues. However, some alleged texts involving Heard have leaked, so there goes some more privacy.
Entertainment Tonight exclusively published screencaps of a presumed texting session between Heard and Depp’s assistant, Stephen Deuters. They discuss a May 2014 incident when Depp allegedly lashed out at his then-fiancée. Deuters apologizes on his boss’ behalf: “He was appalled. When I told him he kicked you, he cried. It was disgusting. And he knows it … He knows that he has done wrong. He wants to get better now.” Heard responds, “I’m sad that he doesn’t have a better way to really know the severity of his actions yesterday. Unfortunately for me, I remember in full detail everything that happened.” These texts hint at substance abuse and a possible blackout scenario, and Heard texts about how “he’s done this many times before” at regular intervals before Deuters replies, “He’s a little lost boy.” (The authenticity of these texts hasn’t been confirmed by Heard or Deuters.)
As if that story wasn’t disturbing enough, Page Six published an account from one of Heard’s friends, who witnessed the reported aftermath of a December 2015 attack and repeats a suffocation allegation from Heard:
“I got to her apartment to find her with a cut and bruised lip, a swollen eye and a chunk of hair missing from the top of her head. This incident really stuck with me because she confided in me that day that she feared for her life after an intoxicated Johnny tried to suffocate her with a pillow … I have personally witnessed the aftermath of Johnny Depp’s violent and abusive behavior towards her on many occasions.”
That’s simply horrifying to read in such vivid detail, along with the claim that Heard “feared for her life.” Things get even worse in this week’s issue of People, where several photos submitted as court evidence appear in the magazine. Here’s the cover shot of Heard with a busted lip.