WARNING: Graphic content
Explosive texts sent by actor Johnny Depp to and about Amber Heard have been revealed in court as part of the bitter defamation case against his ex-wife.
Depp is suing Heard for US$50 million over a 2018 Washington Post op-ed article in which she wrote about being a victim of domestic abuse. She did not name Depp in the piece, but he claims the allegations are false and cost him lucrative film work in Disney's Pirates of the Caribbean franchise.
Heard has countersued for US$100 million, claiming she suffered "rampant physical violence and abuse" at his hands.
Under cross examination in Fairfax County Court on Thursday, Depp was presented with several damning text messages that he sent to Heard, friends and associates during the couple's relationship.
Heard's lawyer Benjamin Rottenborn read out texts Depp sent to fellow actor Paul Bettany on June 11, 2013. One of them read: 'Let's burn Amber!!!'
Rottenborn asked Depp: "You see that?"
In a low voice, he responded: "I do see that."
Rottenborn said: "You didn't stop. The next text down says: 'Let's drown her before we burn her!!!' I read that right?"
Depp said: "Yes."
Rottenborn said: "I'd like to apologise to the court and the jury for some of the language I'm going to use."
He read the next text Depp sent to Bettany which read: 'I will f*** her burnt corpse afterward to make sure she is dead.'
Rottenborn said: "Did I read that right?"
Depp said: "You certainly did."
Rottenborn said: "You wrote that about the woman who would later become your wife."
Depp said: "Yes."
Rottenborn read some texts sent by Depp on January 17, 2013 - he did not specify to whom.
One read: "For the idiot cow!!!" apparently referring to Heard.
The following two said: "Will do I'll smack the ugly c*** around before I let her in, don't worry" and: "Did that worthless hooker arrive."
Rottenborn asked Depp if he had "read that right". "Yes," Depp replied.
On December 18, 2014, Depp described himself in a message to Heard as "a f***ing savage".
"I always regret it when I jump, or worse, when you jump. I'm sorry for being less, for your disappointment in me. For my behaviour," he wrote.
"I'm a f***ing savage. Gotta' lose that. Gonna' lose that. The devil is all around, right?"
In another, Depp wrote that he "never want(s) to lay eyes on that filthy whore again", while they were still married.
Several big names were pulled into the case, including Elton John and Marilyn Manson, on Thursday (Friday morning NZT).
The court heard that Depp sent the Rocket Man singer a text message in which he described part of himself as a "monster" who "would have swallowed [him up] if it wasn't for you". Depp said Elton was a "friend' who had supported him in his quest for sobriety.
Depp said: 'Elton was a dear friend who has been sober for 40 years, so he was, we've had discussions and he wanted me to get clean, sober so he actually sent a fellow called Charlie Dunnett who worked with Elton for years and years….'
Rottenborn cut in and said: "Can I just confirm you sent that message?"
A frustrated Depp said: "I'll just stop talking."
Rottenborn said: "I want to be respectful of the court's time and I trust you do too?"
A flustered Depp said: "I don't feel that I'm wasting anyone's time."
Rottenborn brought up another text sent by Depp on April 9, 2015 which Depp said was to Heard's sister Whitney.
It read: "I'm alright. I…though I never ever want to lay eyes on that filthy whore Amber, most embarrassing."
Rottenborn said: "When you called Amber that filthy whore she was your wife at the time?"
Depp said: "Yes sir."
Rottenborn also put it to Depp that he had done illegal drugs with Marilyn Manson.
Depp testified that the pair had done cocaine together then confessed to drugging him with "a pill" to try to "stop him talking". The star laughed on the stand as he recalled the incident.
During cross examination, it also emerged that Depp had described the mother of his children, Vanessa Paradis, as a "French extortionist" and an "ex-c***" in a text message.
Heard's lawyer then read a message Depp had sent an acquaintance after he "got drunk and destroyed my (hotel) room".
"There are hookers and animals in here," it read.
"Is it okay to put on a condom after the fact, I mean if I just wear it for the rest of the day, like that works doesn't it?
"I've had to kill a few of the animals for sustenance. I've made quite a mess. There's blood and animal tracks everywhere."
Depp apologises for texts
Depp has previously apologised to the jury for the vulgar language in the texts and said that "in the heat of the pain I was feeling, I went to dark places".
Rottenborn also focused on another of Depp's texts to Paul Bettany in 2014 in which he referenced whiskey, pills and powders.
The texts were sent during a period in which Depp said he had stopped drinking. And they were sent around the time of a private flight from Boston to Los Angeles, during which Heard had said that Depp became blackout intoxicated and assaulted her.
Rottenborn presented texts that Depp sent to Bettany that said he drank "all night before I picked Amber up to fly to LA this past Sunday … Ugly, mate … No food for days … Powders … Half a bottle of Whiskey, a thousand red bull and vodkas, pills, 2 bottles of Champers on plane …"
Depp had previously testified that he took two oxycodone pills — an opiate to which he admits he was addicted at the time — and locked himself in the plane bathroom and fell asleep to avoid her badgering. He had also previously testified that he drank only a glass of champagne as he boarded the plane.
To further bring doubt to Depp's claim that he was not a problematic drinker at that time, Heard's attorney then showed the jurors a text that Depp had sent to musician Patti Smith regarding a visit to New York City in 2014 in which he recounted fighting with Heard, getting drunk and being "so disappointed in myself".
Depp has been on the stand in Fairfax County Circuit Court since Tuesday afternoon. The actor has spent much of that time describing the couple's volatile relationship and denying that he ever abused Heard.
Depp said that Heard often violently attacked him. And he argued that his movie career suffered after she wrote a 2018 op-ed piece in the Washington Post.
Heard never mentioned Depp by name in the article, but Depp's lawyers said it was a clear reference to accusations Heard made when she sought a 2016 restraining order against him.
Depp said the accusations and the article contributed to an unfairly ruined reputation that made him a Hollywood pariah and cost him his role in the lucrative Pirates of the Caribbean movie franchise.
When cross-examination began late Wednesday afternoon, Rottenborn pointed to evidence that Disney made that decision months before the article's publication.
Heard's lawyers have argued that Heard's opinion piece was accurate and did not defame him. They have said that Depp's ruined reputation was due to his own bad behaviour.
Depp called the accusations of drug addiction "grossly embellished", though he acknowledged taking many drugs. He said his drug use started at age 11 when he secretly took his mother's "nerve pills".
- news.com and agencies