“During the entirety of our relationship,” Amber Heard declared in court papers pleading for protection from the biggest movie star on the planet, “Johnny has been verbally and physically abusive to me.”
A judge temporarily granted Heard’s request for a domestic violence restraining order against Johnny Depp, her husband of 15 months, after the actress showed up in court wearing her evidence: A black eye she claims she incurred on May 21 when the Pirates of the Caribbean star allegedly hurled an iPhone at her face.
A shocking photo of an iPhone-shaped bruise on Heard’s right eye quickly circulated Friday as Heard’s allegations of domestic abuse added a dark twist to the couple’s already headline-dominating divorce. The judge granted several key items of Heard’s request, including the right to remain in the penthouse home they share in Los Angeles. But it’s Heard’s detailed claims that she suffered recurring domestic abuse at Depp’s hands that are most troubling.
The timing of the Depp-Heard uncoupling had the world puzzled earlier this week, but it all came into focus Friday. Depp’s mother Betty Sue Palmer died on Friday, May 20, after battling a long illness. Three days later on May 23, Heard filed for divorce citing irreconcilable differences and seeking $50,000 per month in spousal support from her The Rum Diary co-star, whom she married in February 2015. Hollywood onlookers whispered over Heard’s timing—seeking to end their marriage so soon after the death of his beloved mother, and just days before the worldwide release of his latest movie, Disney sequel Alice Through the Looking Glass.
But it’s what happened in between, according to Heard, that pushed her to file for divorce and request the restraining order asking the court to ensure Depp never come within 100 feet of her or her Yorkshire terrier, Pistol.
“I endured excessive emotional, verbal and physical abuse from Johnny, which has included angry, hostile, humiliating and threatening assaults to me whenever I questioned his authority or disagreed with him,” Heard stated in her request filed May 27 in Los Angeles Superior Court. Citing his long history with substance abuse, Heard described a frequently “paranoid” and hot-tempered Depp, 52, who she became increasingly frightened of over the course of their marriage.
“He has a short fuse,” she said. “He is often paranoid and his temper is exceptionally scary for me as it has proven many times to be physically dangerous and/or life-threatening to me. Johnny relationship [sic] with reality oscillates, depending on his interaction with alcohol and drugs. As Johnny’s paranoia, delusions and aggression increased throughout our relationship so has my awareness of his continued substance abuse. Because of this, I am extremely afraid of Johnny and for my safety.”
In a letter sent from Heard’s attorney to Depp’s legal team the day after she filed for divorce, her lawyers cited two more incidents of domestic abuse that allegedly transpired in the last six months alone. Asking the court to grant her protection from Depp, who has access to the penthouse condo home the two share in downtown Los Angeles, Heard also said there was a “severe incident” in December of 2015 “when I truly feared that my life was in danger.”
In it, they also issued a thinly veiled threat to Depp’s team, encouraging them to speedily grant Heard’s requests for spousal support, the condominium, her Range Rover, and $125,000 in her legal fees so that the split wouldn’t turn into a media firestorm—as it would have, the letter suggests, if they’d arranged for Depp to be “personally served” at his Alice 2 premiere.
Clearly, Depp’s camp—led by attorney to the stars Laura Wasser—didn’t play ball.
Heard’s restraining order filing goes into alarming detail describing two recent incidents, starting with the evening of April 21, 2016—Heard’s 30th birthday.
In her written statement to the court, Heard says she was celebrating her birthday at the three-unit condo home she and Depp share when he showed up drunk and high as everyone else was leaving. They argued over why he hadn’t been present at her party and a fight began.
According to Heard, Depp threw “a magnum size bottle of champagne at the wall and a wine glass on me and the floor—both of which shattered. Johnny then grabbed me by the shoulders and pushed me onto the bed, blocking the bedroom door. He then grabbed me by the hair and violently shoved me to the floor. Johnny was also screaming and threatening me, taunting me to stand up. After several minutes, Johnny stormed out of the condominium, but not before tossing aside and breaking nearly everything in his path.”
Heard said she and Depp didn’t see each other for a full month until last Saturday, May 21, when he came home again drunk and high around 7:15 p.m. Heard had company over this time. Friends Elizabeth Marz and neighbors Raquel Rose Pennington and Joshua Drew were present but apparently left as Heard tried to comfort her husband over the passing of his mother the day before.
“Suddenly, he began obsessing about something that was untrue and his demeanor changed dramatically. He became extremely angry,” Heard claims. Pennington was next door when Heard texted her around 8:06 p.m. for help.
“As Johnny continued to rant in an aggressive and incoherent manner, he then demanded we call our friend iO Tillet Wright to prove his paranoid and irrational accusations about some delusional idea he was having,” Heard continued in her filing.
Wright is a photographer, LGBT activist, and friend of Heard’s. The co-host of MTV’s Suspect became entangled in the couple’s tabloid drama last year in reports claiming that Depp found Heard and Wright’s friendship too close for comfort.
“As my call to iO went through on speaker phone, Johnny ripped the cell phone from my hand and began screaming profanities and insults at iO,” Heard’s statement continued. “I heard iO yell at me to get out of the house. Johnny then grabbed the cell phone, wound up him [sic] arm like a baseball pitcher and threw the cell phone at me striking my cheek and eye with great force.”
“Johnny charged at me, insisting on seeing my face. He taunted me, challenging whether or not the cell phone actually hit me. He then forcibly pulled back my hair as I attempted to stand up from the sofa. I then yelled out ‘Call 911’—hoping it would be heard by iO who was still on the phone. Johnny continued screaming at me, puling my hair, striking me and violently grabbing my face.”
At this point, Heard and Pennington both claim in separate statements, Pennington entered the condo with a spare key Heard had given her, distracting Depp. “When I opened the door, I saw Amber by the couch in the living room covering her head with her arms and hands, as Johnny was loudly screaming at her,” said Pennington.
Heard ran across the room and Pennington thrust herself between the couple as Depp charged his wife. “He then slapped away her arms that she had extended in a defensive manner and continued to yell obscenities at her,” Heard described.
As Pennington covered Heard with her own body, Depp “picked up the magnum size bottle of wine he had been drinking out of.” He started swinging it around “like a baseball bat,” according to Pennington, “to smash everything he could.”
Heard says Depp then repeatedly menaced her, ordering her to stand up: “He did this—about ten times—getting closer to me, louder and more threatening each time.” When Depp’s security staff including his longtime bodyguard Jerry Judge entered, none of them took action. Heard threatened to call the police. “I heard Jerry say, ‘Boss, please,’” Heard said. “But Johnny continued screaming and breaking things, finally leaving the condominium.”
On his way out, she adds, he went into the adjoining unit where she keeps her belongings and paintings. There, he destroyed her things. Pennington and her fiancé then took Heard to their home, where Pennington took photos of Heard’s injuries later submitted to the court.
“Many times over the past few years,” Pennington added in her statement, “Amber has confided and complained to me about Johnny’s abusing her, both physically and verbally.”
LAPD Sgt. Marlon Marrache told People that officers were called to the Depp residence after Saturday’s alleged incident, but found “there was no evidence of any crime.” Heard did not wish to file a police report at the time.
Heard’s temporary restraining order against Depp is effective until June 17, the date of their next hearing. L.A. Superior Court Judge Carl H. Moor, however, did not grant her request to send Depp to 52 weeks of court-ordered anger management classes. Moor also denied legal protection to Pistol the terrier—one of the pets that got the couple in hot water in Australia, and the pup Heard identifies as her own in the filing.
Depp’s representatives, meanwhile, took shots at Heard’s claims in their own brief statement today: “Given the brevity of this marriage and the most recent and tragic loss of his mother, Johnny will not respond to any of the salacious false stories, gossip, misinformation and lies about his personal life.”