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Depp’s angry texts, substance abuse in spotlight during cross examination

Lawyers for Johnny Depp’s ex-wife Amber Heard questioned the “Pirates of the Caribbean” star on Thursday (April 21) in his defamation case, showing jurors text messages in which Depp referred to a “monster” inside him that he kept in check.

Depp, 58, is suing Heard, 35, for $50 million in a Virginia court after she accused him of abuse. He has argued that Heard was the one who became violent in the relationship.

Starting their cross-examination of Depp, Heard’s attorneys read text messages that Depp sent in 2015 near the start of their roughly two-year marriage.

“We’ve been perfect. All I had to do was send the monster away and lock him up, we’ve been happier than ever,” he texted to a former security guard.

“Amber and I have been absolutely perfect … I have locked my monster child away in a cage deep within and it has fucking worked,” Depp said in a text to one of his doctors.

Depp said Heard used the word monster to describe when she thought he was using drugs or alcohol, though he said her perception was not always accurate

Writing to actor Paul Bettany in 2013, Depp said: “Let’s drown her before we burn her” and “I will fuck her burnt corpse afterward to make sure she is dead.”

Heard’s attorney, Benjamin Rottenborn, also delved into Depp’s history of substance abuse, and the actor acknowledged that he had drank and used drugs with his friends, actors Paul Bettany and rock star Marylin Manson.

“I once gave Marylin Manson a pill so that he would stop talking so much,” said Depp, drawing laughter from the court.

Rottenborn also showed photos of cocaine and alcohol on a table that Depp allegedly used, and a photo taken by Heard of Depp asleep or unconscious with ice cream spilling out of a container in one hand.

Depp suggested that Heard had staged the photo to make him look bad.

On Wednesday, Depp told the Virginia jury that Heard would “strike out” with a slap or shove. During one argument, Heard threw a vodka bottle at Depp’s hand, cutting off the top of his right middle finger, he said.

Depp said he never struck Heard or any woman. He has accused Heard, also an actor, of defaming him when she penned a December 2018 opinion piece in the Washington Post about being a survivor of domestic abuse.

The article never mentioned Depp by name, but his lawyer told jurors it was clear Heard was referencing the Hollywood leading man.

Attorneys for Heard have argued that she told the truth and that her opinion was protected free speech under the U.S. Constitution’s First Amendment. In opening arguments, Heard’s attorneys said Depp physically and sexually assaulted her while abusing drugs and alcohol.

A state court judge in Fairfax County, Virginia, is overseeing the trial, which is in its second week and is expected to last six weeks.

(Production: Ashraf Fahim)

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