The Hollywood star took centre stage for the blockbuster hearing at the Royal Courts of Justice in London. He is suing a British newspaper over an article in April 2018 that referred to him as a “wife beater”. The case centres around 14 alleged incidents during the couple’s turbulent relationship. During more than five hours in the witness box, Depp’s tumultuous private life was laid bare as the court heard lurid details of his booze and drugfuelled lifestyle.
But Depp, 57, categorically denied that he had tormented Heard during their marriage.
The Pirates of the Caribbean star made a series of frank admissions over his “fugitive” lifestyle as he was forced to relive his hell-raising past of trashing hotel rooms, run-ins with the law and periods of time spent in rehab.
The star told how he first took drugs at the age of 11. He admitted he went on to introduce his daughter Lily-Rose to “weed” when she was just 13.
And he listed his drugs of choice as cocaine, ecstasy, magic mushrooms, LSD and cannabis.
He also admitted spending more than £24,000 a month on red wine.
Yesterday Depp and Heard, 34, finally came face to face for the first time in four years during the hearing.
He is accused of subjecting her to “torture and other abuse” including one occasion when she claims she was held hostage for three days during a trip to Australia.
Depp is alleged to have carried out “prolonged acts of violence, such as repeated punching and slapping”, the court heard.
It is claimed the alleged attacks included Heard “being grabbed by the throat, being dragged across the floor by her hair, having her lip punched so hard it splattered blood on the wall, a broken or busted nose and so on”.
The court was shown dramatic video footage secretly recorded by Heard on her mobile phone of one outburst where Depp was seen shouting in the couple’s Hollywood home.
But giving evidence Depp insisted it was Heard who was the abuser during the couple’s volatile two-year marriage, which ended in 2017.
In a witness statement he accused her of repeatedly punching him in the face and even severing his finger in one attack after hurling a vodka bottle at him.
Depp was accused of having a violent alter ego and faced suggestions that he has an anger problem that he struggles to contain when drunk.
He denied being a “Jekyll and Hyde” character as he branded his ex-wife a “sociopath” who had married him to progress her career.
Asked if it was the way he described his “bad boy” alter ego, Mr Depp said: “The monster is something Ms Heard unfortunately grabbed on to as a way to define me, and it’s not altogether what she says it is. It’s ephemeral, it’s not Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde is what I’m trying to say. I don’t believe I’m the monster.”
Depp, who was born in Kentucky, insisted he had never attacked a woman and was raised to be a “Southern gentleman”.
He said: “For the avoidance of any doubt I have never abused Ms Heard or indeed any other woman in my life.
“I am from a Southern family and rules were instilled in me from birth by my mother.
“You would be a Southern gentleman or it would be beaten into you. Even as a child, chivalry was extremely important. “Whether or not this is considered old-fashioned, it is still something that I consider very important. Integrity, dignity, honesty and respect for women – these were characteristics of a gentleman and characteristics I was always expected to have.
“As part of this I feel it is a strong and central part of my moral code that I would never strike a woman under any circumstances at any time.
“I find it simply inconceivable and it would never happen.”
Depp told how he had listened in “horror” to his mother being beaten by her first husband and lived through his sister suffering at the hands of two of her partners. He said: “Exposure to abuse was something that was very much a part of my childhood and I feel it has had an enormous effect on my life.
“I have always vowed that the upbringing of my own children would be precisely the opposite of the upbringing that I experienced.
“There would be no abuse and no violence. I had been through that so my children would not.”
Outside court a spokesman for Heard said: “Amber never asked for these proceedings.
“Amber obtained a domestic violence restraining order against Depp back in 2016 and has tried to move on with her life. It is Johnny Depp who brought these proceedings against a British newspaper and has dragged her to the UK courts to give evidence on some of the most distressing moments of her life.” Depp has become one of the most powerful and successful actors of his generation.
Former partners Vanessa Paradis, the mother of Depp’s two children, and actress Winona Ryder are expected to give evidence on the actor’s behalf via video link. The hearing is expected to last for three weeks.
The case continues.