Amber Heard has said she wouldn’t blame the public for looking at her multimillion-dollar libel case against Johnny Depp and thinking “this is the worst of Hollywood brats”.
The 36-year-old actress told NBC Today reporter Savannah Guthrie in her first television interview since losing the court battle that the affair had taken a toll on her emotionally and that social media had played a role in the case.
Guthrie suggested that some members of the public were “frankly disgusted” by what had unfolded in court during the six weeks of testimony and evidence in Fairfax County, Virginia.
Heard replied: “Absolutely. I wouldn’t blame the average person for looking at this and how it’s been covered and thinking this is the worst of Hollywood brats.
“But what people don’t understand is that it’s actually much bigger than that. It’s not just about our First Amendment right to speak.”
But Guthrie chimed in: “But here’s the thing: the First Amendment protects free speech. It doesn’t protect lies that amount to defamation, and that was the problem in the case.”
Heard said the “vast majority” of the trial had played out on social media and that it had become “an example of him gone nuts.”
Recalling arriving at the courthouse every day, she said: “Every day I walked past three, four, sometimes six city blocks filled with people holding signs that said ‘Burn the Witch’ and ‘Death to Amber.’
“After three and a half weeks, I took the stand and saw a courtroom full of talking Captain Jack Sparrow fans, they were full of energy.”
Heard said it was “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,” she added.
Heard told Guthrie that he stood by every word of his testimony “until the day I die.”
When the reporter pressed her about Depp’s claim in court that he never hit her and asked, “Is that a lie?”, Heard replied, “Yes, it is.”
Heard also used the interview to address her own behavior during the marriage, saying, “I did and said horrible and unfortunate things throughout our relationship. I behaved in a horrible way, almost unrecognizable to me. so much regret
“I have spoken freely, openly and voluntarily about what I did. I talked about horrible language, I talked about being pushed to the point where I didn’t even know the difference between right and wrong.
“I will always continue to feel like a part of this, like I am the other half of this relationship, because I was. And he was ugly and he could be very beautiful.”
Heard said their relationship had been “very, very toxic.”
She added: “We were horrible to each other. I made a lot of mistakes, a lot of mistakes. I have always told the truth.”
Two weeks ago, the jury found a 2018 article Heard wrote for the Washington Post about her experiences as a survivor of domestic abuse defamatory.
Depp consistently denied during his own statement the “outrageous and outlandish” abuse claims, saying he had “spoken for what I’ve been reluctantly carrying for six years.”
The 59-year-old received US$10.35m (£8.2m) in damages.
Heard won one count of her countersuit, successfully arguing that Depp’s press agent defamed her by claiming her allegations were “a hoax of abuse” intended to capitalize on the #MeToo movement.
The jury awarded him two million dollars (£1.5 million) in damages.
As deliberations began, Depp appeared on stage with veteran rock guitarist Jeff Beck, 77, during his UK tour and the pair also recently announced a collaborative album.
Depp previously lost a similar UK lawsuit against the publisher of The Sun newspaper after an article, also written in 2018, referred to him as a “wife beater”.
– Amber Heard’s interview airs on the Tuesday and Wednesday editions of NBC News’ Today show, with more airing on Friday during a Dateline special.