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Johnny Depp is expected to take the witness stand Tuesday in his high-profile libel trial against ex-wife Amber Heard.
The 58-year-old “Pirates of the Caribbean” star is set to testify in person in a Fairfax, Virginia, court in his bombshell $50 million legal battle against Heard, 35, whom he accuses of lying about physically abusing her during their turbulent two-year marriage.
Depp’s civil complaint revolves around an essay that Heard wrote for The Washington Post in 2018, in which she described herself as the “public figure representing domestic abuse.”
Although the op-ed does not mention Depp by name, his attorneys argue that it refers to a restraining order that Heard sought against him in May 2016, after her husband told her he wanted a divorce.
Depp has vehemently denied abusing Heard and accused her of making up the allegations against him to get a large divorce settlement.
The libel trial got underway last week, with Depp’s legal team claiming that Heard’s lies about the abuse have severely damaged the actor’s reputation and career.
The Walt Disney Company, which owns the “Pirates of the Caribbean” movie franchise, cut ties with the actor, who starred as Captain Jack Sparrow, shortly after the publication of Heard’s opinion piece.
Heard’s attorneys argued that her Washington Post essay never delved into her allegations against her ex-husband.
On Monday, the jury heard testimony from Depp’s former private nurse, Debbie Lloyd, who recounted how she was forced to search for the tip of the actor’s severed finger after his fight with Heard in Australia in March 2015.
“I remember looking for his finger in the downstairs area,” Lloyd said in a pre-recorded deposition. “The house was a mess.”
The circumstances surrounding the actor’s hand injury are still being hotly debated.
Lloyd testified that she has heard that Heard threw a bottle of vodka at her husband, or that Depp injured his finger by slamming it with a phone.
Depp’s former private doctor David Kipper stated in his own deposition in February that his patient told emergency room doctors in Australia that he sliced his digit with a knife.
Depp texted Kipper after the incident, which he ultimately needed to get surgery for, saying: “I cut the top of my middle finger off… What should I do!?? Except, of course, go to a hospital…. I’m so embarrassed for jumping into anything with her… F–K THE WORLD!!! JD.”
More than a week after his emergency visit to the hospital, Depp again texted Kipper, saying: “Thank you for everything. I have chopped off my left middle finger as a reminder that I should never cut my finger off again!! I love you, brother. Johnny.”
Heard has denied inflicting the injury on Depp and claimed that the “Cry-Baby” star hurt his finger after a wild three-day drug bender.
“On the third day of Johnny staying awake without sleeping, I came downstairs to find numerous messages Johnny had written to me around the house, on the walls and on my clothes, written in a combination of oil paint and the blood from his broken and severed finger. Johnny also urinated all over the house,” the actress said in a previous statement.
Last week, jurors watched a video deposition of Laurel Anderson, Heard and Depp’s former therapist, who testified that the couple was engaged in ‘mutual abuse.’
“It was a point of pride to her if she felt disrespected to initiate a fight,” the therapist said of Heard.
Heard would also rather be in a fight with Depp than see him leave, and “would strike him to keep him there,” Anderson said.
The therapist recalled a time when Heard told her that Depp “was ‘stepping up,’ as she would say, on a lot of drugs.”
“And she slapped him because he was being incoherent and talking about being with another woman,” Anderson said. She noted that Depp’s mother was in the hospital at the time.
Anderson said Depp told her that Heard “gave as good as she got.” She also said that in at least one session in which she saw Heard alone, the actress told her that Depp hit her. She said Heard showed her bruises, both in photos and in person.
Anderson said Heard also told her that Depp at one point allegedly said, “No one likes you. You’re getting fame from me. I’m falling out of love with you. You’re a whore.”
Anderson also said that Heard’s “jackhammer style of talking” and habit of cutting off Depp overwhelmed him.
Heard “wanted to want to divorce” but also didn’t, and was still figuring out what to do, Anderson said. “She loved him. He loved her. She wasn’t stupid. She knew that what they were doing wasn’t healthy.”
The famous couple tied the knot in 2015 and split up in 2017.
Heard is expected to testify at the defamation trial, scheduled for six weeks, along with actors Paul Bettany and James Franco and Tesla founder Elon Musk.
Depp’s libel lawsuit against the publisher of The Sun newspaper in the UK two years ago failed.
The actor sued News Group Newspapers over a 2018 article that referred to him as a “wife beater,” but a UK judge sided with the publication, saying that it had presented sufficient evidence of Depp’s violent conduct towards Heard on 14 occasions.