In her first sit-down interview since the widely broadcast libel trial with her ex-husband Johnny Depp, actor Amber Heard told NBC’s Today Show Tuesday morning that she stands by every word of her testimony.
“I spoke truth to power and paid the price,” Heard said in an interview with Today Show co-anchor Savannah Guthrie.
The former Pirates of the Caribbean star had sued Heard for $50 million, saying that she defamed him in a 2018 Washington Post op-ed she wrote describing herself as “a public figure representing domestic abuse,” though the article never mentioned Depp by name. Heard counter-south for $100 million.
The Today Show interview took place just two weeks after the US jury’s split decision, awarding Depp $10 million US and Heard $2 million US in damages.
Heard called the trial decision “surreal” and “difficult.”
“I would not blame the average person for looking at this and how it’s been covered and thinking that it’s just … Hollywood brats at their worst,” she said.
“But what people don’t understand is … it’s so much bigger than that.”
Guthrie quotes audio recordings from trial
The court proceedings, which were broadcast live on Court TV, spread quickly across social media. Both Depp and Heard tested accusing each other of domestic violence during their relationship.
Guthrie quoted audio recordings of the two that were used as evidence in the trial during their conversation with Heard.
“I am looking at a transcript that says, he says, ‘You start physical fights,’ ” Guthrie read. “And you say, ‘I did start a physical fight. I can’t promise you I won’t get physical again.’ “
Heard said the recordings did not portray the entirety of the conversation.
“I was talking in those recordings as a person in extreme amounts of emotional, psychological and physical distress,” she said.
Guthrie also asked about Depp’s team saying Heard had been an abuser in the relationship.
“I never had to instigate it. I responded to it,” she said. “When you’re living in violence and … it becomes normal, as I testified to. You have to adapt.”
The role played by social media
Heard said she believes the way the vast majority of the trial played out online was an example of social media gone “haywire.”
“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,” she said.
Throughout the six-week trial, social media feeds filled with videos and comments condemning Heard and supporting Depp.
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.– Amber Heard
Heard said she thinks it would have been impossible to avoid, even for the most well intentioned juror.
When speaking about Depp’s online fandom and discussion about the trial on social media, Heard told Guthrie it was “the most humiliating and horrible thing” she had ever been through.
“I have never felt more removed from my own humanity. I felt less than human.”
She described the crowd of Depp fans she passed holding signs reading “burn the witch” and “death to Amber.” She said that during the latter half of the trial, the courtroom was “packed full of Captain Jack Sparrow fans who were vocal [and] energized.”
Heard calls relationship ‘very toxic’
In 2020, Depp lost a libel case against British tabloid The Sun, which had run an article that called him a “wife beater.” Heard, who was a key witness in that trial, was asked how she felt the US trial played out differently.
“I will say his lawyers certainly did a better job of distracting the jury from the real issues.”
Heard described their former relationship as “very toxic.”
“We were awful to each other,” said Heard, who admitted that she made a lot of mistakes. “But I’ve always told the truth.”
Following the trial proceedings, Depp took to Instagram to share a statement about the trial decision and what it meant for him following the allegations made against him.
“False, very serious and criminal allegations were levied at me via the media,” he said.
“Six years later, the jury gave me my life back. I am truly humbled.”
He expressed thanks for support he received on social media during the high-profile case.
Part two of the exclusive interview with Heard is set to air Wednesday morning on the Today Show. Heard will respond to other allegations made about her in court and share how she feels about Depp following the trial.
More of the conversation will air Friday on an episode of Dateline NBC at 8 pm ET.