Johnny Depp’s $50 million defamation lawsuit against ex-wife Amber Heard got underway last week, and on Wednesday, his infamous role as Disney’s Captain Jack Sparrow was a topic of discussion during the cross-examination of Depp after he took the stand to give details about his short but allegedly tumultuous marriage to Heard.
Wednesday was Johnny Depp’s second day of testimony in a Fairfax County, Virginia, courtroom. Depp first took the stand on Tuesday, giving a lengthy response when counsel asked, “Can you please tell the jury why you’re here today.”
On Wednesday, Depp again took the witness stand to give testimony in the case against his ex-wife Amber Heard. As part of Wednesday’s testimony, the actor acknowledged that Disney had become somewhat hesitant about working with him before Heard’s seething 2018 op-ed was published in The Washington Post. The op-ed alleges that Heard is a domestic abuse survivor, and although the piece never mentions Johnny Depp’s name, Depp says the piece has wrecked his name and his acting career.
Depp is suing Heard for $50 million, in a highly-anticipated defamation lawsuit. Depp claims that Heard fabricated stories and accounts of abuse at the hands of the 58-year-old actor. Depp further claims that he is the victim of domestic abuse, and not Amber Heard.
During questioning from his own attorney, Jessica Meyers, Depp testified that Disney cut him from the sixth installment of the wildly popular and lucrative Pirates of the Caribbean franchise just days after Amber Heard’s op-ed was published. According to Depp, the film has not yet been produced, and, he said, that the film is currently in “dangle mode.”
During cross-examination, however, Amber Heard’s attorney, Ben Rottenborn, asked Johnny Depp about an article in the Daily Mail, published in October 2018, which reported that the actor was “out as Jack Sparrow.”
“I wasn’t aware of that, but it doesn’t surprise me,” Depp responded to Rottenborn in his testimony. “Two years had gone by of constant worldwide talk about me being this wife-beater. So I’m sure that Disney was trying to cut ties to be safe. The ‘#MeToo’ movement was in full swing at that point.”
Amber Heard’s first accusations of domestic abuse surfaced when she filed for a restraining order in 2016. Only a few months later, the couple was divorced, resolving those claims. At that time, Johnny Depp and Amber Heard issued a joint statement, part of which included a line that read, “neither party has made false accusations for financial gain.”
According to Depp, attorneys had drafted the statement, and he wanted to fight the allegations against him because, in his words, “there was not a molecule of truth to [them].” But he ultimately agreed to pay Amber Heard $7 million, a sum Heard promised she would donate to charity and a sum that resolved the divorce.
Depp testified that he was advised not to fight the allegations. “I wasn’t given much of a choice.”
In order to win the suit he has brought against Heard, Johnny Depp will have to be able to prove that the damages he has incurred to his career stem from Heard’s 2018 piece in The Post, as opposed to stemming from allegations prior to the publishing of the op-ed.
“I would be a real simpleton to not think that there was an effect on my career based on Ms. Heard’s words, whether they mentioned my name or not,” he said. According to Depp, his career was over “the second the allegations were made against me.”
“No matter the outcome of this trial, I’ll carry that for the rest of my days,” Depp explained. “I’m suing her over defamation and the various falsities that she used to bring my life to an end.”
Depp further testified that even though Disney talked about pulling him from his role as Captain Jack Sparrow in the sixth Pirates of the Caribbean film, Depp’s character was still a part of Disney theme parks around the world.
“[Disney] didn’t remove my character from the rides,” he testified. “[Disney] didn’t stop selling dolls of Captain Jack Sparrow. They didn’t stop selling anything. They just didn’t want there to be something trailing behind me that they’d find.”
During cross-examination, Heard’s attorney, Rottenborn, mentioned a statement from Johnny Depp’s deposition in which the actor said he wouldn’t accept a role in the sixth Pirates film, even if Disney did offer it to him.
Depp answered affirmatively: “That is true, Mr. Rottenborn.”
Cross-examination of Johnny Depp is set to resume on Thursday.