Amber Heard described her”humiliating and horrible” defamation trial against Johnny Depp, but insisted she still stood by all of her testimony regarding her ex-husband’s alleged abuse in the first part of her interview on Today.
The interview is the first Heard has given since the trail, which Depp won earlier this month (part two will air tomorrow, June 15, while an hour-long version will air on Dateline Friday, June 17). The jury effectively ruled that Heard defamed Depp in a 2018 op-ed in which she spoke about her experience with domestic abuse, but did not mention Depp by name (Heard did win one of three claims in her countersuit regarding defamatory statements made by Depp’s former lawyer).
(The interview was conducted by Today host and journalist Savannah Guthrie, who previously disclosed that her husband, Michael Feldman, consulted with Depp and his legal team.)
Grappling with the verdict, Heard said, has been “surreal and difficult.” She also spoke about trying to share her story amidst the overwhelming support Depp received, both on social media and in courtroom, where she was forced to testify about her alleged abuser in front of “a courtroom packed with Captain Jack Sparrow fans who were vocal, energized.”
When asked how that felt, Heard continued, “This is the most humiliating and horrible thing I’ve ever been through. I have never felt more removed from my own humanity. I felt less than human.”
While both Heard and Depp accused each other of abuse during the trial, the jury’s decision seemed to suggest they doubted Heard’s claims even as she presented photos of her injuries, video recordings of Depp’s meltdowns, and witness testimony corroborating her claims. “To my dying day [I] will stand by every word of my testimony,” Heard told Guthrie about her allegations against Depp.
During the interview, Guthrie asked Heard about Depp’s own allegations against her, bringing up several audio recordings used during the trial: In one, Heard appears to speak about getting physical with Depp, while in another she appears to taunt him by saying no one would believe he was the victim of domestic violence.
Heard reiterated her own testimony, saying, “When your life is at risk, not only will you take the blame for things that you shouldn’t take the blame for, but when you’re in an abusive dynamic… you don’t have the resources that, say, you or I do, with the luxury of saying, ‘Hey, this is black and white. Because it’s anything but when you’re living in it.” Of the clip where she appeared to taunt Depp, Heard said that snippet is “not representative of even the two hours or three hours” of tape those clips came from.
Heard was also asked about the public perception that both she and Depp were to blame, and that neither deserved much sympathy. She replied frankly, “I would not blame the average person for looking at this and how it’s been covered and not think that it is Hollywood brats at their worst. But what people don’t understand is it’s actually so much bigger than that. This is not only about our first amendment rights to speak.”
When Guthrie pushed Heard on the defamation exception to the first amendment, Heard replied, “It’s a freedom to speak truth to power… And that’s all I spoke. And I spoke it to power, and I paid the price.”
Elsewhere, Heard spoke about the outsized role social media played during the trial, saying she believed “the jury is not immune” to the online spectacle. “I think even the most well-intentioned juror, it would’ve been impossible to avoid this,” she added.
Heard spoke about the same issue — and how the vast majority of the social media chatter appeared to favor Depp — in a preview clip of the Today interview released yesterday, June 13. “Even somebody who is sure I’m deserving of all this hate and vitriol, even if you think that I’m lying, you still couldn’t look me in the eye and tell me that you think on social media there’s been a fair representation,” Heard said.
When asked about the jury’s final verdict not going in her favor, Heard replied, “How could they make a judgment, how could they not come to that conclusion? They sat in those seats and heard over three weeks of non-stop, relentless testimony from paid employees and, towards the end of the trial, randos,” Heard said, ostensibly alluding to the witnesses in Depp’s corner. She added, “I don’t blame them, I actually understand. He’s a beloved character and people feel they know him. He’s a fantastic actor.”
This story was updated 6/14/22 at 9:54 a.m. ET with quotes from the first full part of Heard’s interview.