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Witnesses back up Amber Heard’s claims of abuse

Friends of the "Aquaman" actress became concerned about her bruises and weight loss while married to Johnny Depp.

FAIRFAX, Va. (CN) — As her troubled marriage to actor Johnny Depp deteriorated, Amber Heard had bruises on her face and lost weight to the point that she was skeletal, according to witnesses who testified on her behalf Wednesday.

Before an appearance on “The Late Late Show with James Corden,” a makeup artist who testified in a video-recorded deposition remembered covering bruises on Heard’s face.

“She had injuries,” confirmed Melanie Inglessis, who used concealer and tint to prepare Heard for an appearance on the late-night show. “She had discoloration under both eyes and on the bridge of the nose.” Heard also had a split lip. A clump of her hair was missing, she added.

Inglessis testified Wednesday in a defamation trial brought against Heard by Depp, her ex-husband. It was prompted by an op-ed on domestic violence published in The Washington Post in December 2018. In the text, Heard explained that two years earlier, she had become a public figure representing domestic abuse.

That time frame — 2016 — would have been when she was married to Depp. Within days after publication, he lost his role as Jack Sparrow in the “Pirates of the Caribbean” franchise.  Three months later, he filed suit for defamation, asking for $50 million in damages. Heard later filed a counterclaim for $100 million.

Throughout the day, attorneys for Heard presented witnesses who testified that they saw the actress with a bruised face. One witness, Heard's sister, said she saw Depp hit Heard. Others were on hand for Depp's profanity-laced outbursts — but did not see him actually strike Heard. In most cases, these witnesses did not break new ground but added dimension to testimony that has been presented in the weeks since the trial began April 12.

Raquel Pennington, who once lived in one of Depp’s penthouse residences, testified via video deposition that she had seen injuries on Heard. Indeed, Pennington took photos of Heard with bruises under her eyes, a swollen nose and a split lip after an alleged beating at Depp's hands. She also identified a photo showing a clump of Heard’s hair on the carpet.

“She often had to cover bruises on her face with makeup,” said Pennington, who wept throughout her deposition.

She also testified specifically about a fracas between the two actors in May 2016. That day, Pennington received a text from Heard asking her to come to the residence. She arrived to find Depp screaming at Heard. Positioning herself in front of Depp, she put her hands on his chest and made a motion for Depp to stop. Depp pushed her away.

Pennington then went over to Heard. “I put my body over her,” Pennington testified. “He [Depp] was closer and closer,” she said. “I remember thinking there was this big, orange, ceramic ashtray on the coffee table. If he gets any closer, I’m going to pick up the ashtray and hit him with it.”

But Depp’s security detail arrived to escort the star out. This detail about Depp's bodyguards charging in at just the right moment was part of a recorded deposition from another witness: Heard's acting coach, Kristy Sexton.

Sexton was along for a trip the couple took with friends to Hicksville, California, a trailer park getaway.

"We made a barbecue and drinks. We were having a lovely time. Johnny was playing guitar and singing," she remembered. As the evening went on, various drugs were passed around. Later, Sexton heard Depp and Heard arguing and the sound of Depp bodyguards rushing to intervene.

The next morning, the Depp-Heard trailer was "completely torn apart," she said. The inside was in shambles. Depp was apologetic and told his bodyguards to pay for the damage.

When one of Depp's attorneys asked whether Sexton had ever seen Depp hit, kick or throw something at Heard, the answer was no. But on one occasion, Sexton said, "I saw him coming at her, and that's when the bodyguards stepped in."

In time, Sexton, who acted a confidant as well as a coach, grew concerned about Heard's weight loss.

Several of the witnesses noticed that Heard's health and happiness deteriorated during the marriage. One of them, Whitney Henriquez, Heard's sister, remembered that early on, Depp would joke about Heard's choice of wardrobe. "You know," Henriquez said, "like, 'oh, are you going to wear that?'" But like the progression of their relationship, it intensified. "Suddenly, they had the same stylist," she said.

Depp controlled what Heard wore to events, Henriquez explained. "She went from being able to wear whatever the hell she wanted, and then, suddenly, she's wearing anything that his stylist wanted her to wear."

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