Johnny Depp concluded his fourth day of testimony Monday, opening the door for his former house manager, Ben King, to take the stand in the actor’s defamation trial against ex-wife Amber Heard in Fairfax, Virginia.
On Monday afternoon, King offered his take on the couple’s marriage, describing it as explosive. King said he managed Depp’s London townhouse in 2014, while the actor filmed “Mortdecai.” He was also assigned to the home Depp and Heard shared in Australia in March 2015, during the filming of “Pirates of the Caribbean” 5.
King told the court he was in Australia when Depp’s fingertip was severed during a fight with Heard. When he arrived at the house, King said he could hear “hysterical sobbing” from Heard.
He noticed smashed and cracked walls, broken windows, chunks of marble missing from the staircase and bar, broken glass, a cracked TV with a coffee mug stuck inside, writing on the bathroom mirrors, broken lamps, a “collapsed” ping-pong table. He also spotted Depp’s blood-stained guitar, “puddles of alcohol,” a broken vodka bottle, and “blood drips” across the floor.
In all, King said there was “about $50,000” dollars in damage to the house.
King recalled an hour after he arrived, he found Depp’s missing fingertip in a bloody paper towel near the bar. He put it on ice then gave it to Depp’s private physician, Dr. David Kipper and Depp’s head of security Jerry Judge, to take to the hospital in hopes that it could be re-attached. King said Kipper was “rummaging through a bin” in the kitchen looking for the missing digit, before he found it himself.
He said Heard was encouraged to leave the house and return to Los Angeles. He told jurors he volunteered to fly back with her, which he did, although she initially resisted, “saying things like ‘I can’t leave, it’ll be the end if I leave.'”
King told the court he didn’t see any marks or injuries on Heard but her eyes were red from crying. After the flight, he said he noticed “uniform, kind of long, thin scratches” on Heard’s arm.
King later asked Heard what happened at the house in Australia and she responded, “Have you ever been so angry with someone else that you’ve just lost it?”
Earlier Monday as Depp’s time on the witness stand wound down, it appeared the grueling testimony was beginning to weigh on the “Pirates” star, whose calm and often light demeanor last week became grim and pained Monday.
The court proceedings opened with more cross-examination as lawyers for Heard played audio of fights recorded at various points during the pair’s marriage. While the heated conversations played, with varying levels of intoxication and agitation evident at times from both parties, Depp visibly winced, putting his hand to his mouth, while Heard looked to be on the verge of tears.
In one recording, Depp could be heard defending his tendency to walk away from their conflicts: “If I don’t walk away, it’s just going to be a bloodbath,” he said. “Just like it was on the island.”
With testimony intensifying, Depp became irritable at times, snapping at Heard’s lawyers when he was interrupted by a question in the middle of an answer.
“I was talking, is that OK?” he said. When the attorney suggested he was the one directing the conversation, Depp replied, “As long as you’re happy, sir.”
Depp also objected to the characterization of a photo of him slumped in a chair as showing him “passed out.”
“That’s a very specific term,” Depp said with a skeptical look on his face. “‘Passed out’? ‘Sleeping’ would be another [way of saying it].”
At one point, attorneys for Heard used one of Depp’s own text messages to challenge his continuing claim that the tip of his finger was sliced off when his now-ex-wife threw a liquor bottle at him during an argument.
Heard lawyer J. Benjamin Rottenborn read text messages from Depp to his personal physician, in which he said “I cut the tip of my finger off.”
Visibly annoyed, Depp said “it’s just the way it was worded,” and suggested he would never do something to jeopardize his guitar playing, “the only thing that’s given me peace” over the decades.
Rottenborn continued to question Depp in a rapid-fire fashion. Rottenborn also grilled the actor on his claim that the 2018 op-ed article Heard wrote in The Washington Post, in which he was indirectly referred to as a “wife-beater,” had derailed his career. He read a number of media headlines mentioning Depp’s struggle with addiction, financial woes and said he tanked his own career.
Anita Bennett contributed to this report.