Amber Heard says she knows people look at trial against Johnny Depp as 'Hollywood brats at their worst'
Amber Heard maintains that she was the victim of abuse in her relationship with Johnny Depp.
In her first interview since the defamation trial, the Aquaman actress told Today's Savannah Guthrie that she stands by "every word" of her testimony — even though the jury ruled in Depp's favor. While she admitted she "made a lot of mistakes" in their relationship, she said she's "always told the truth."
"To my dying day, [I] will stand by every word of my testimony," Heard told Guthrie during the 10-minute grilling.
The six-week trial — stemming from the actress's 2018 Washington Post op-ed about surviving domestic abuse — "was the most humiliating and horrible thing I've ever been through," the actress said. "I have never felt more removed from my own humanity. I felt less than human."
Heard said every day when she arrived at court in Fairfax, Va., she'd drive past blocks of Depp supporters holding signs saying, "Burn the witch" and "Death to Amber." When she took the stand, three weeks into the trial and after the Pirates of the Caribbean star's testimony, she saw "a courtroom packed of Captain Jack Sparrow fans, who are vocal [and] energized."
She called the trial an example of social media "gone haywire, gone amok," she said. "And the jury is not immune to that." She said it would have been "impossible to avoid" even for "the most well-intentioned juror."
Heard admitted she "would not blame the average person" for looking at the trial coverage "and not think that it is Hollywood brats at their worst. But what people don’t understand is it’s actually much bigger than that. This is not only about our First Amendment right to speak..." but about the "freedom to speak truth to power."
Guthrie — who disclosed last week that her husband, Michael Feldman, "did consulting" for Depp's legal team — responded, "But 'truth' was the word. That was the issue," noting that jurors didn't believe Heard's testimony of abuse.
"And that’s all I spoke," Heard replied. "And I spoke it to power, and I paid the price."
During the back and forth, Guthrie said Depp testified and maintained that he never hit her — and asked if his statement was a lie.
"Yes, it is," Heard replied.
She also denied that she was the abuser and instigator in their relationship, saying, "I never had to instigate it. I responded to it."
Guthrie also asked about the audio recordings of the couple fighting, some of which were used as evidence. Heard was asked specifically about the one in which she admitted to starting a fight between them. In another, she taunted Depp suggesting people wouldn't believe he was the victim of abuse because he was a man.
"Twenty second clips, or the transcripts of them, are not representative of the two [or 3] hours those clips are excerpted from," she replied.
"When your life is at risk," a person will "take the blame for things that you shouldn’t take the blame for," she said, adding, "as I testified to, I was talking in those recordings as a person in an extreme amount of emotional, psychological and physical distress."
Heard, who plans to appeal, was asked about Depp's legal team accusing her of acting and lying on the stand.
"Says the lawyer for the man who convinced the world he had scissors for fingers?" she said, refering to Depp's role in Edward Scissorhands. "I'm the performer? I had listened to weeks of testimony ... saying ... I'm a terrible actress. So I'm a bit confused how I can be both."
Heard also responded to Guthrie asking whether Depp just had a better legal team than she did.
"I will say his lawyers did certainly a better job of distracting the jury from the real issues," she answered.
Part one of the interview ended with Guthrie saying Depp's lawyers suggested that she didn't win the case because she didn't take responsibility for her role in any of the couple's relationship drama.
"I did do," Heard replied. "[I said] 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. I will always continue to feel like I was a part of this — like I was the other half of this relationship — because I was. And 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 and Depp, who got together after making The Rum Diaries, were married briefly from 2015 to 2016. It ended with Heard filing for divorce and getting a domestic violence restraining order again Depp. Two years later, Heard wrote an op-ed for the Washington Post about surviving domestic abuse. The story didn't name the actor, but Depp, who has denied all allegations of abuse, sued her for $50 million claiming the allegations destroyed his career and life. She countersued for $100 million.
On June, the jury ruled in Depp's favor and awarded him $10.35 million. Heard was awarded $2 million for one claim stemming from Depp’s lawyer calling her abuse allegations a "hoax."
More of Heard's interview will air on Wednesday's Today followed by a special Dateline on Friday at 8 p.m. ET.