Amber Heard Admits to ‘Mistakes,’ but Says She ‘Always Told the Truth’
Amber Heard is speaking out in the wake of the verdict in her defamation trial with Johnny Depp.
The actress sat down for an exclusive interview with Savannah Guthrie that airs Tuesday and Wednesday on “Today,” followed by a special edition of “Dateline” on Friday, June 17.
Depp was suing Heard for $50 million. She was countersuing him for $100 million.
The jury found in favor of Depp, agreeing that it was defamation when Heard claimed she was a domestic abuse survivor in a 2018 op-ed. He was awarded $10 million in compensatory damages and $5 million in punitive damages. The judge immediately reduced the $5 million figure to $350,000, in line with a Virginia statutory cap.
Amber also had a partial win in her countersuit, as the jury awarded her $2 million in compensatory damages for a statement made by one of Depp’s lawyers.
Heard said that nearly two weeks after the verdict it has not sunk in yet. “How could it? It is surreal, difficult, in part, yes, this has been a long time coming.”
Guthrie asked if she stands by accusations of abuse against Johnny, and Amber insisted, “To my dying day (I) will stand by every word of my testimony.”
Savannah went on to compare some of Amber’s testimony to audio tapes that were played in court. “I am looking at a transcript that says — he says, ‘You start physical fights,’ And you say, ‘I did start a physical fight. I can’t promise you I won’t get physical again.’”
Savannah continued, “This is in black-and-white. I understand context. But you’re testifying, and you’re telling me today, ‘I never started a physical fight,’ and here you are on tape saying you did.”
Amber insisted, “As I testified on the stand about this, is that when your life is at risk, not only will you take the blame for things that you shouldn’t take the blame for, but when you’re in an abusive dynamic, psychologically, emotionally and physically, you don’t have the resourcesthat, say, you or I do, with the luxury of saying, ‘Hey, this is black-and-white.’ Because it’s anything but when you’re living in it.”
Guthrie brought up another tape, saying, “You’re taunting him and saying, ‘Oh, tell the world, Johnny Depp, I, a man, am a victim of domestic violence.’”
Heard insisted, “Twenty-second clips or the transcripts of them are not representative of even the two hours or the three hours that those clips are excerpt(ed) from.”
When asked if she felt confident the day the verdict was read, Amber said, “I wish I could say yes to that. I want to say yes to you, but it wouldn’t be true. 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 has been a fair representation.”
Savannah asked if maybe Johnny had better lawyers in this case. Amber answered, “I will say his lawyers certainly did a better job at distracting the jury from the real issues.”
Addressing the social media vitriol she endured during the trial, Amber said, “I think the vast majority of this trial was played out on social media. I think that this trial is an example of that gone haywire, of that gone amok — and the jury isn’t immune to that.”
Guthrie asked, “You think the jury saw it?” Amber answered, “How could they not?”
She also recounted the Johnny fans who lined up outside the courthouse, and the courtroom “packed with Jack Sparrow fans.” Amber called it “the most humiliating and horrible thing I’ve ever been through. I’ve never felt more removed from my own humanity. I felt less than human.”
Guthrie also pointed out that some people were “disgusted” by the whole trial and didn’t have much sympathy for Johnny and Amber.
Heard responded, “I would not blame the average person for looking at this and how it has been covered and not think that it is Hollywood brats at their worst, but what people don’t understand is that it is so much bigger than that. This is not only about our First Amendment right to speak…”
Guthrie interjected, “Here’s the thing about the First Amendment: The First Amendment protects free speech. It doesn’t protect lies that amount to defamation, and that was the issue in the case,” adding, “Truth is the word and that is the issue.” Amber told her, “And that’s all I spoke. And I spoke it to power. And I paid the price.”
They also discussed how Depp’s lawyers called Amber’s testimony the “performance of a lifetime.”
Making a reference to Johnny’s 1990 film “Edward Scissorhands,” Amber said, “Says the lawyer for the man who convinced the world he had scissors for fingers? I had listened to weeks of testimony — insinuating that or saying quite directly that, you know, I’m a terrible actress. So I’m a bit confused how I could be both.”
Savannah brought up her recent interview Depp’s lawyers Camille Vasquez and Ben Chew, saying that when asked why they think they won, they told her, “Because she never took responsibility for anything she did in the marriage.”
Amber disagreed, saying, “I did do and say horrible, regrettable things throughout my relationship. I behaved in horrible, almost unrecognizable to myself ways. I have so much regret. I freely, openly, and voluntarily talked about what I did. I talked about the horrible language, I talked about being pushed to the extent where I didn’t even know the difference between right and wrong… It was ugly and could be very beautiful. It was very, very toxic. We were awful to each other. I made a lot of mistakes, a lot of mistakes — but I’ve always told the truth.”
Heard’s attorney has already talked about an appeal, but Chew told Guthrie, "We feel very confident that there are no errors that would justify any kind of successful appeal.”
Depp has always denied abusing Amber, and after the trial, Depp released a statement saying he felt “at peace” after being able to speak his truth.
He said, “Six years ago, my life, the life of my children, the lives of those closest to me, and also, the lives of the people who for many, many years have supported and believed in me, were forever changed. All in the blink of an eye.”
“False, very serious and criminal allegations were levied at me via the media, which triggered an endless barrage of hateful content, although no charges were ever brought against me,” Depp went on. “It had already traveled around the world twice within a nanosecond and it had a seismic impact on my life and my career.”
Showing his appreciation to the jury, he said, “And six years later, the jury gave me my life back. I am truly humbled. My decision to pursue this case, knowing very well the height of the legal hurdles that I would be facing and the inevitable, worldwide spectacle into my life, was only made after considerable thought.”