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Amber Heard says she ‘responded’ to violence but ‘never had to instigate it’

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Amber Heard has denied Johnny Depp’s claim that she instigated violence, in a new interview following their high-profile legal battle.

During the trial – which took place over six weeks and saw Depp sue Heard, his ex-wife, for libel – Depp’s legal team alleged that Heard had committed domestic abuse, and that she instigated physical violence.

Asked about these claims during an interview with NBC’s Savannah Guthrie, Heard said: “I never had to instigate it, I responded to it.

“When you’re living in violence and it becomes normal, as I testified to, you have to adapt, you adopt strategies to cope with it, and if it meant, as I testified to, if it meant the difference between a broken nose or a sore cheek, I would do it.”

After she was asked about the witnesses at the trial who claimed to have seen Heard instigate violence, she told Guthrie: “I’m less interested in sitting here and re-litigating it with you. I am not here to call any of his witnesses any names. I’m not here to do that, I’m here to talk about it from what it felt like for me as a person who sat there.”

Depp had sued Heard for $50m (£39.8m) over a Washington Post op-ed titled: “I spoke up against sexual violence – and faced our culture’s wrath. That has to change.”

The article did not mention Depp by name, but the his lawyers argued that it falsely implied he physically and sexually abused Heard during their relationship.

Heard countersued for $100m (£80.9m), accusing Depp of orchestrating a “smear campaign” against her and describing his lawsuit as a continuation of “abuse and harassment”.

Johnny Depp and Amber Heard (Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)
Johnny Depp and Amber Heard (Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

On Wednesday 1 June, the jury shared their verdicts. The jury found that Heard defamed Depp on all three counts and awarded him $10m (£8m) in compensatory damages and $5m (£4m) in punitive damages. Heard was awarded $2m (£1.6m) in compensatory damages, but no punitive damages.

In the new television interview, Heard claimed that she had attempted to avoid the high-profile trial, telling Guthrie: “I didn’t want this to be a thing. I didn’t want it to be a trial. I didn’t want it to be a part of the public record but when someone sues you, you don’t really have a choice.”

Heard spoke about how the presence and behaviour of “Captain Jack Sparrow fans” outside the courthouse had made her feel “removed from my own humanity”.

Amber Heard in court during the trial (AP)
Amber Heard in court during the trial (AP)

She also responded to Depp’s lawyer’s claim that she had been “acting” in court, and that her testimony had constituted the “performance of a lifetime”.

In her answer, she alluded to the Tim Burton film Edward Scissorhands, in which Depp famously starred.

In a statement provided to NBC after the interview, a spokesperson for Depp said: “It’s unfortunate that while Johnny is looking to move forward with his life, the defendant and her team are back to repeating, reimagining and re-litigating matters that have already been decided by the court and a verdict that was unequivocally decided by a jury in Johnny’s favour.”

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If you or someone you know is experiencing domestic abuse, you can call the 24-hour National Domestic Abuse Helpline, run by Refuge, on 0808 2000 247, or visit their website here.

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