Amber Heard Admits She Still “Has Love” For Johnny Depp in First Post-Trial Interview
Amber Heard has spoken at length for the first time publicly since a Virginia jury found largely in favor of her ex-husband Johnny Depp in the couple’s high-profile defamation trial. Heard appeared on TODAY, speaking with journalist Savannah Guthrie in a two-part interview that aired on June 14th and 15th, and can be streamed on Peacock starting June 16.
The conversation spanned a wide range of topics, from how she plans to live life now that the trial is over and her feelings on Depp in the aftermath.
Heard also said that she is concerned that she could be sued by Depp again, which jibes with analysis questioning whether the result of the defamation trial will dissuade survivors of abuse from going to court. This lawsuit centered on an article Heard wrote in 2018 in which she stated that she “became a public figure representing domestic abuse.”
“I took for granted what I assumed was my right to speak. I’m scared that no matter what I do or what I say or how I say it–every step that I take will present another opportunity for this sort of silencing, which is what, I guess, a defamation lawsuit is meant to do,” Heard said. “It’s meant to take your voice.”
Heard says social media played a major role in the trial’s outcome.
During the trial, social media platforms like TikTok were flooded with pro-Depp content, and Heard made it clear she thought that played a role in his victory.
“Even somebody who is sure I’m deserving of all this hate and vitriol, even if you think that I’m lying, you still couldn’t tell me–look me in the eye and tell me–that you think on social media there’s been a fair representation,” Heard told Guthrie. “You cannot tell me that you think that this has been fair.”
Elaine Charlson Bredehoft, one of Heard’s lawyers, told TODAY that she felt her client was “demonized” publicly during the trial, and credited some of that to the way the trial was covered and discussed on social media. Bredehoft likened the proceedings to “the Roman Colosseum” in terms of the incredible visibility and sheer public spectacle. Jurors in Heard’s case were instructed not to follow coverage of the case, but they were not sequestered, which raised some eyebrows in the legal community.
Despite the verdict, Heard “[stands] by every word” of her testimony.
In one tense exchange during the interview’s first segment, Guthrie cited transcripts in which Heard talked about having been violent towards Depp, and asked whether Depp was lying when he claimed he “never” hit her.
Heard emphasized that she had only gotten physical with Depp in self-defense, saying, “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 resources that, say, you or I do, with the luxury of saying, ‘Hey, this is black and white.’”
Guthrie referenced another selection from the transcripts in which she said Heard was “taunting” Depp by saying, “Tell the world, Johnny Depp, ‘I, a man, am a victim of domestic violence.’” Heard responded that an isolated segment like that lacked sufficient context and was “not representative of even the two hours or the three hours that those clips are [excerpted] from.”
“The First Amendment doesn’t protect lies that amount to defamation and that was the issue in the case,” Guthrie said, putting the focus on the defamation aspect of the trial, and whether Heard was telling the truth.
“To my dying day, I will stand by every word of my testimony,” Heard said. “I’ve made a lot of mistakes. A lot of mistakes. But I’ve always told the truth.”
The “perfect victim” fallacy was addressed.
Much coverage of the trial has hinged on the notion of the “perfect victim”— the idea that an accuser must meet strict social standards in order for their claims to be taken seriously. In the interview, Heard acknowledged negative perceptions of her played a role in not only social media discourse around the trial, but also the strategy of Depp’s legal team.
“I’m not a good victim, I get it,” she said. “I’m not a likable victim, I’m not a perfect victim. But when I testified I asked the jury to see me and hear his own words, which is a promise to do this,” Heard told TODAY. In an interview with TIME, civil rights attorney Alexandra Brodsky said “They discredited Heard based on conduct that had nothing to do with whether she was abused or not,” she said.
Heard was criticized for her behavior while giving testimony (one of Depp’s lawyers derisively said she gave “the performance of a lifetime” on the stand), as well as in her past, including a 2009 incident with another ex, Tasya Van Ree, which Heard alleged had been planted in the media by Depp’s team. (Van Ree defended Heard and said she was “wrongfully accused for an incident that was misinterpreted and over-sensationalized…” in a 2016 statement.)
Depp’s legal team posited that Heard had actually been the aggressor against her then-husband, and while Heard did acknowledge that she had been physical with Depp, she said she only did so after he initiated. “I never had to instigate it. I responded to it. When you’re living in violence and it becomes normal, as I testified to, you have to adapt,” she said.
Heard says she still “has love” and “no ill will” for Depp, and no animosity towards the jury.
In one widely-shared portion of the interview, Heard expressed a certain amount of sympathy for her ex-husband. Guthrie referenced a statement Heard had made at the beginning of the trial saying she “still [had] love for Johnny,” and asked whether she still felt that way.
“I love him. I loved him with all my heart and I tried the best I could to make a deeply broken relationship work and I couldn’t. I have no bad feelings or ill will towards him at all,” she told Guthrie. Heard also theorized that many people who have been in love could relate to that enduring feeling, despite the obviously problematic turn their relationship took. She stressed that she did not want to see Depp “canceled,” and that was part of the impetus for not referencing him directly in the op-ed piece that the lawsuit hinged on.
Heard was also asked how she felt about the jury, and said that she did not blame them for the trial’s outcome, though she continued to imply that their verdict was affected by external forces. “I actually understand. He’s a beloved character and people feel they know him,” she said.