Nearly two weeks after a jury ruled that she had defamed her ex-husband, Johnny Depp, Amber Heard continues to defend herself.
In an exclusive interview with Savannah Guthrie, which will air in two parts Tuesday and Wednesday this week on TODAY and a Friday special on Dateline, the “Aquaman” actress said she will not retract her testimony in court and that Depp is physically and psychologically abused her
“Until the day I die (I) will stand by every word of my testimony,” Heard said in the interview about the former couple’s high-profile defamation case.
The six-week trial saw the couple’s lawyers review and analyze the darkest moments of their relationship. For her part, Depp sought to absolve himself of allegations made by Heard in a 2018 Washington Post op-ed in which she described herself as a “public figure representing domestic abuse.” Although Heard never named Depp, the actor’s lawyers argued that the op-ed referred to claims she made at the time of her divorce in 2016. Depp has denied all allegations of abuse.
Depp sued Heard for $50 million, claiming the allegations in the op-ed affected his career. Heard countersued for $100 million, claiming that Depp’s former lawyer defamed her when she called her claims of abuse “a hoax.”
The seven-person jury ultimately found in Depp’s favor after finding “clear and convincing evidence” that Heard defamed him. He was awarded $15 million in compensatory and punitive damages. A judge reduced the punitive damages, bringing the total to $10.4 million. Heard was awarded $2 million when the jury found that Depp’s lawyer defamed her on one count.
Speaking with Heard, Savannah discussed the number of audio recordings presented to the jury to corroborate Heard and Depp’s testimony. Those recordings became a central talking point online and in the courtroom, as Depp’s legal team questioned Heard’s credibility.
“I’m looking at a transcript that says: he says, ‘You start the physical fights,’ and you say, ‘I started a physical fight. I can’t promise that I won’t have physical contact again,'” Savannah read, adding, “This is black and white. I understand the context. But you’re testifying and you’re telling me today, ‘I never started a physical fight,’ and here you are on tape saying you did.”
In response, Heard reiterated her testimony during the trial that she only became physical with her ex-husband when he was trying to defend himself.
“As I testified on the stand about this, is that when your life is at risk, you won’t just take the blame for things that you shouldn’t take the blame for. But when you’re in an abusive dynamic, psychologically, emotionally and physically, you don’t have the resources that, let’s say, you or I do it, with the luxury of saying, ‘Hey, this is black and white,’” she replied. “Because it’s anything but when you’re living in it.”
Following up on Heard’s claim that she only became physical in response to the violence, Savannah pointed to another tape that surfaced during the trial.
“You’re making fun of him and saying, ‘Oh, tell the world, Johnny Depp, I, a man, am a victim of domestic violence,'” Savannah said of the audio.
“Twenty-second clips or transcripts of them are not representative of even the two or three hours from which those clips are drawn,” Heard replied.
Leading the interview into closing arguments, Savannah referred to a time when Depp’s lawyer called Heard’s testimony the “performance of a lifetime” and accused her of performing for the jury.
“Says the lawyer of the man who convinced the world that he had scissors instead of fingers?” Heard commented in reference to the 1990 film “Edward Scissorhands” in which Depp starred. “I had heard testimonials for weeks, implying that or saying outright that, you know, I’m a terrible actress. So I’m a bit confused as to how it could be both.”
Heard and Savannah also discussed the First Amendment, a right the actress lamented on Instagram that she felt she had lost as a result of the trial.
“This is the thing about the First Amendment: The First Amendment protects free speech. It doesn’t protect lies that amount to defamation, and that was the problem in the case,” Savannah said, emphasizing that the truth was at the heart of the trial and what the jury was tasked with determining.
“And that’s all I talked about. And I told power,” Heard replied. “And I paid the price.”