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Amber Heard testifies her role in ‘Aquaman 2’ was reduced after Johnny Depp’s attorney called her abuse claims a ‘hoax’

<i>Elizabeth Frantz/Pool/AFP/Getty Images</i><br/>Amber Heard
POOL/AFP via Getty Images
Elizabeth Frantz/Pool/AFP/Getty Images
Amber Heard

By Sonia Moghe, CNN

Amber Heard finished testifying on direct examination in the $50 million defamation case with ex-husband Johnny Depp on Monday, following a week-long break in proceedings.

Depp’s attorneys began cross-examination of Heard on Monday afternoon.

Depp has accused Heard of defaming him in a 2018 op-ed for the Washington Post. In the piece, which published roughly two years after they divorced, Heard described herself as a “public figure representing domestic abuse.” Though Depp was not named in the article, he claims it cost him lucrative acting roles.

Heard has filed a counterclaim for $100 million.

‘Every word of it was true’

On Monday, Heard testified about the op-ed at the center of the case. She said she did not want Depp’s name in piece, originally drafted by the ACLU, but agreed to have it published in her name because she believed in raising awareness for the issues addressed in the op-ed.

“Every word of it is true,” Heard said.

Heard testified she had no role in writing the headlines that ultimately ran with the piece online and in the print edition but was proud of the version that appeared in the paper.

The end of their marriage

Heard testified that Depp’s drug use and alleged physical abuse led her to file for divorce from him in 2016, after a little over a year of marriage.

“I knew if I didn’t, I’d likely not literally survive. I was so scared that it was going to end really badly for me, and I really didn’t want to leave him. I loved him, so much,” Heard said. “The violence was now normal and not the exception.”

Heard also testified about why she did not cooperate with police when they came to the couple’s Los Angeles home shortly after an altercation between them in May 2016.

“Why didn’t you want to cooperate with the police?” Heard’s attorney Elaine Bredehoft asked.

“Because I wanted to protect Johnny. I didn’t want him to be arrested. I didn’t want this to come out. I didn’t want him to be in trouble,” Heard testified.

‘I want to move on’

Heard also testified about her counterclaim, which revolves around three statements that Depp’s attorney made, the first in 2019, in reference to Heard’s claims of abuse, each time calling her claims a “hoax.”

“Unfortunately, all of this is real,” Heard testified. “Johnny and I lived this. We lived through this. I lived through this and I narrowly survived it but I survived it.”

Heard testified that her scenes in the upcoming sequel to “Aquaman,” titled “Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom,” were reduced since those statements were made.

“I fought really hard to stay in the film,” Heard testified. “I was given a script and was given new versions of the script. They basically took a bunch out of my role.”

CNN has reached out the Warner Bros., the studio behind “Aquaman” franchise, for comment. (CNN and Warner Bros. are both part of Warner Bros. Discovery.)

Heard testified that she didn’t want to be part of the trial that has forced her to relive painful, personal experiences she had tried to keep private.

“I have a baby; I want to move on. I want Johnny to move on, too,” Heard said. “I just want him to leave me alone.”

Cross-examination begins

During the beginning of cross-examination, Camille Vasquez, an attorney for Depp began questioning Heard about her abuse allegations, at times zooming in on photos taken of the actress during public appearances after different alleged incidents of physical abuse and pointing out that Heard did not have visible injuries.

Heard has accused Depp of physically and sexually abusing her throughout their relationship. Depp denied ever striking heard during his testimony. Depp’s legal team has accused Heard of being the abuser in the relationship.

“Mr. Depp is your victim, isn’t he?” Vasquez asked Heard.

“No, ma’am,” Heard replied.

Vasquez recalled multiple incidents where Heard accused Depp of hitting her, at times in the face while he wore heavy rings. Heard testified that while the couple was in Russia in June 2013 that Depp allegedly hit her in the face so hard that she thought she’d broken her nose and that there was blood “everywhere.” Vasquez pulled up photos taken of Heard during the trip and after the alleged incident and questioned the actress about it.

“You don’t have any visible injuries to your face, do you?” Vasquez asked.

“None that you can see,” Heard replied.

“Even though Mr. Depp whacked you in the face so hard that your nose bled?” Vasquez said.

“He did,” Heard replied.

Before court concluded for the day, Vasquez questioned Heard about the charitable donations she pledged to make with her $7 million divorce settlement with Depp, which has been paid to Heard in full.

Heard testified earlier that she has not fulfilled the monetary pledges she made to the ACLU and to a children’s hospital in Los Angeles, because Depp sued her.

“Sitting here today, Ms. Heard you still haven’t donated the $7 million divorce settlement to charity, isn’t that right?” Vasquez asked.

Heard began to reply: “Incorrect. I pledged the entirety, $7 million to charity and I intend to fulfill….”

Vasquez sharply interrupted Heard. “Ms. Heard that wasn’t my question. Please try to answer my question.”

“As of today, you have not paid $3.5 million dollars of your own money to the ACLU?” Vasquez asked Heard.

“I have not,” Heard replied.

Vasquez continued, “And as of today you have not paid $3.5 million dollars of your own money to the Children’s Hospital of Los Angeles?”

“I have not yet; Johnny sued me,” Heard replied.

Cross-examination is expected to continue Tuesday at 9 a.m ET.

Closing arguments in the trial are expected to begin around May 27, followed by jury deliberations.

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