A former personal assistant to Amber Heard said she never saw the actress being physically abused at the hands of then-husband Johnny Depp – but she said Heard once spat in her face when she asked for a higher salary.
Heard fell in screaming bouts of blind rage, sent incoherent text messages at 4 a.m. and was often drunk and high on illegal drugs, Kate James testified in a video decision played in court Thursday during the trial of Depp’s defamation case against Heard.
Depp, on the other hand, was very calm, almost shy, “like a total southern statesman,” James said.
The “Pirates of the Caribbean” actress has accused Heard of indirectly slandering him in a 2018 opinion piece she wrote for The Washington Post. Heard refers to himself in the article as a “public figure representing domestic violence.” The play does not name Depp. But his lawyers claim it clearly refers to a restraining order that Heard requested in May 2016, just after Depp told her he wanted a divorce.
Depp denies having abused Heard, but Heard’s lawyers say evidence will prove he did. The actor’s denials, they claim, lack credibility because he often drank and used drugs to the point where he was blacked out and failed to remember anything he did.
The video testimony from James offered a reverse view: Depp was the peaceful one, she said, while Heard was often intoxicated and verbally violent, including against her own mother and sister.
“Her poor sister was treated like a dog that you basically kicked,” James said.
James, who worked for Heard from 2012 to 2015, said she was paid “very poorly.” She said she was hired at a starting salary of $ 25 an hour and that her duties ranged from picking up Heard’s dry cleaners to talking to the actress’ Hollywood agents.
James said she was also tasked with retrieving two copies of any magazine containing Heard and storing them in the garage to prevent Depp from seeing them. Heard went into a “blind rage” when James failed to place the magazines in the garage, James said.
As for Heard and Depp’s time together, James said Heard was a “very dramatic person” who was deeply insecure in the relationship. Heard often called James to cry and complain about Depp, she said.
“I remember one time she called me when she was alone in New York City and she was crying and walking around the streets,” James said. She said she told Heard to go inside: “I was worried the paparazzi might take a picture of her.”
Some of the deposition focused on a text message that Depp had sent to James after he and Heard parted ways. Depp’s text read: “Come over and get a little stain purple, then we’ll fix her flabby ass nicely and well.”
A lawyer asked if “stain of purple” meant wine, and if “her” meant Heard. James said she did not want to speculate.
“That’s the way he writes,” James said of Depp. “It’s very random, and you do not question it. … He writes in a very abstract way.”
Lawyers also presented a video footage of Laurel Anderson, a couples therapist who worked with Heard and Depp in 2015 when they were 29 and 52, respectively.
Anderson said both were abused in childhood. As a couple, they were involved in “mutual abuse,” she testified.
Heard’s father beat her, Anderson said, adding, “It was a pride for her if she felt disrespectful about starting a fight.”
Heard would also rather fight with Depp than watch him go, and “would beat him to keep him there,” Anderson said.
The therapist recalled a time when Heard told her that Depp “stepped up,” as she would say, on a lot of drugs. “
“And she beat him because he was incoherent and talked 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 well as she got.” She also said that in at least one session where she saw Heard alone, the actress told her that Depp beat her. She said Heard showed her bruises, both in photos and in person.
Anderson said Heard also told her that at one point Depp allegedly said, “No one likes you. You get fame from me. I’m falling in love with you. You’re a whore.”
Anderson also said Heard’s “jackhammer-style speaking” and habit of cutting off Depp overwhelmed him.
Heard “wanted to divorce,” but did not, and was still figuring out what to do, Anderson said. “She loved him. He loved her. She was not stupid. She knew what they were doing was not healthy.
Both Depp and Heard are expected to testify at the trial in Fairfax County Circuit Court, scheduled for six weeks, along with actors Paul Bettany and James Franco and tech entrepreneur Elon Musk.
This story has been edited to correct a word in Anderson’s quote to “jackhammer”, not “chat-hammer.”