Amber Heard sat down for her first interview since a jury found that she had defamed her ex-husband Johnny Depp in a highly publicized public trial that ended with Johnny being awarded $15 million in damages and Amber $2 million in her countersuit. “To my dying day (I) will stand by every word of my testimony,” she told TODAY show‘s Savannah Guthrie in an interview that aired on Thursday, June 16.
“And that’s all I spoke [is the truth]. And I spoke it to power,” Heard told the host. “And I paid the price.”
During their interview, Guthrie pointed to numerous audio recordings presented to the jury, which became a central talking point in the case. Depp’s legal team used the recordings to call into question Heard’s credibility, as she seemingly contradicted herself.
“This is in black and white,” Guthrie said in reference to a recording of Heard saying she did “start a physical fight” with Depp. “I understand context. But you’re testifying, and you’re telling me today, ‘I never started a physical fight,’ and here you are on tape saying you did.”
Heard claimed she only became physical with her ex-husband because she was trying to defend herself, which she previously said during her testimony.
“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,” Heard said. “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.’ Because it’s anything but when you’re living in it.”
Guthrie then mentioned another recording where Amber was seemingly “taunting” Depp. “[You’re] saying, ‘Oh, tell the world, Johnny Depp, I, a man, am a victim of domestic violence,’” the Today host said of the audio.
“20-second clips or the transcripts of them are not representative of even the two hours or the three hours that those clips are excerpt(ed) from,” Heard countered.
Heard also responded to Depp’s lawyer accusing her of acting for the jury, calling the trial a “performance of a lifetime.”
“Says the lawyer for the man who convinced the world he had scissors for fingers?” Heard said, referencing Depp’s 1990 film Edward Scissorhands. “I had listened to weeks of testimony — insinuating that or saying quite directly that, you know, I’m a terrible actress. So I’m a bit confused how I could be both.”
In an earlier preview released on Monday, Amber decried the backlash she received on social media during and after the trial.
“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 said. “You cannot tell me that you think that this has been fair.”
In spite of the verdict overwhelmingly in the Pirates of the Caribbean star‘s favor, Amber said she doesn’t “care what one thinks about me or what judgements you want to make about what happened in the privacy of my own home, in my marriage, behind closed doors.”
In fact, the Aquaman star doesn’t even blame the jury for their decision.
“I don’t presume the average person should know these things. And so I don’t take it personally,” she added. “I actually understand. He’s a beloved character and people feel they know him. He’s a fantastic actor.”
The jury’s verdict found that Amber defamed her ex-husband in a 2018 Washington Post op-ed, in which she wrote, “I spoke up against sexual violence — and faced our culture’s wrath. That has to change. Then two years ago, I became a public figure representing domestic abuse, and I felt the full force of our culture’s wrath for women who speak out.”
“I had the rare vantage point of seeing, in real time, how institutions protect men accused of abuse,” she added.
In the fallout after the trial, Amber shared her initial reaction on Instagram, writing in a statement, “The disappointment I feel today is beyond words. I’m heartbroken that the mountain of evidence still was not enough to stand up to the disproportionate power, influence and sway of my ex-husband.”
Johnny, in a statement of his own, said that “jury gave me my life back. I am truly humbled.”
Even though Heard only has to pay the actor $10.35 million, due to a Virginia law that sets a maximum for punitive damages, Amber’s lawyer, Elaine Bredehoft, said she can “absolutely not” pay that amount in another preview for Amber’s TODAY show interview released earlier in June.