FAIRFAX, Va. (CN) — In one photo, the man appears to have a swollen upper left cheekbone. Others show a scratch around the nose and a mark adjacent to an ear. The purported victim? Actor Johnny Depp.
Jurors in a defamation case brought by Depp, 58, against his ex-wife, Amber Heard, 35, saw photos Monday of the actor reportedly taken after an altercation between the two sometime in 2015. Sean Bett, Depp's longtime security officer, testified that he insisted on taking the images. "We needed it as evidence in case Ms. Heard tried to make [domestic abuse] allegations toward him," Bett said.
The actors' 15-month union ended in May 2016 with Heard taking out a restraining order against Depp.
In a complaint filed in March 2019, Depp accused Heard of defaming him in a 2018 Washington Post op-ed in which she described herself as a domestic abuse survivor. The "Pirates of the Caribbean" actor is asking for $50 million in damages. Heard has also filed a $100 million counterclaim contending that Depp orchestrated a smear campaign against her.
"They went from being that loving, almost high school couple" to having loud arguments, Bett recalled during the fourth full day of testimony in the defamation case.
Heard contends Depp beat her and left her face bruised in a May 2016 incident. In Bett's recollection, he and another security guard heard the "Aquaman" actress shouting profanities. The guards ran into the room. "She had this look of surprise on her face," Bett said, adding that she shouted, "This is the last time you do this to me."
He testified that Depp responded, "What the hell are you talking about?"
The other security officer then tapped Depp on the shoulder and suggested they leave. Heard's attorneys will cross-examine Bett tomorrow.
Two other witnesses — a doctor and a nurse practitioner — appeared via recorded deposition shown Monday at the Fairfax County Courthouse. They described treating Depp after he cut off part of a finger while he and Heard were in Australia in 2015.
In the lawsuit, Depp contends that Heard tossed a vodka bottle at him, shattering the bones in the tip of his right middle finger “almost completely cutting it off.” The doctor, David Kipper, gave a different account, testifying that Depp reported cutting the finger off.
The doctor was at the time overseeing Depp’s attempts to overcome a substance abuse addiction. During the first half of his testimony, shown to the jury last week, Kipper recounted receiving a text from the actor in 2015 saying he was “so very sad I cut the top of my middle finger off. What should I do?”
Called to the actor’s residence, Kipper and a nurse practitioner, Debbie Lloyd, arrived to find Depp sitting in a car with a severed finger. Kipper cleaned the wound, then went inside the house to see the home and “to instruct one of the people with him to look for the tip of the finger, hoping that we would be able to put it back.”
Heard was uninjured.
The doctor described Depp as depressed and bipolar. But he also said he never saw Depp abuse Heard. And when asked if Depp ever complained that Heard abused him, Kipper responded, “No, not that I can recall.”
Separately, Lloyd testified that Heard instigated arguments. Depp would attempt to remove himself from the room to cool things off — only to have Heard follow him. In notes taken at the time, Lloyd concluded that the relationship was toxic.
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