Amber Heard’s sister said she witnessed physical altercations with Johnny Depp


Amber Heard's sister said she witnessed physical altercations with Johnny Depp

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Whitney Henriquez, Amber Heard’s younger sister, told a Fairfax County Circuit Court jury Wednesday that she witnessed a physical altercation between Heard and ex-husband Johnny Depp, refuting Depp’s earlier testimony that he never hit a woman.

The 58-year-old actress is suing Heard, 36, for $50 million for defamation after she published an op-ed in The Washington Post in 2018 in which she identified herself as a public figure who represents domestic violence, two Years after she filed for divorce and a restraining order. Depp denied all allegations of abuse and said Heard was physically violent towards him. Heard is suing Depp for $100 million after his attorney called their allegations a hoax.

Henriquez, 34, echoed what other witnesses have said about Depp and Heard’s relationship: It started out very loving and kind and after about a year it began to deteriorate. Henriquez said Depp’s behavior changed when he started drinking and using drugs. She told the jury that Heard’s personality also began to change as the relationship progressed, likening it to a “shot in slow motion.” Henriquez said Heard eventually became less sociable, stopped sleeping and looked emaciated.

Henriquez said she and Depp were once close — and sometimes drank and drank cocaine together — but eventually the actor began to gain more control over Heard, trying to dictate her career choices and alienating her from her circle of friends. “It was hard to watch,” Henriquez said.

Part of the testimony focused on the night of March 23, 2015, when Henriquez said Heard came into her room (she lived next door to the couple in an apartment Depp paid for) and said that Depp was cheating on her. Henriquez went to her penthouse and found Debbie Lloyd, Depp’s personal nurse, and Travis McGivern, one of his security guards. Henriquez said Depp first denied having an affair and then said he was cheating on Heard, but it was Heard’s fault.

Henriquez said the couple started yelling “horrible things” at each other. At one point, she, Heard, and Lloyd found themselves on a mezzanine level overlooking the lower level of the penthouse. She said Depp threw a Red Bull can at Lloyd’s back, who didn’t respond, and that Depp ran up the stairs and punched Henriquez in the back. Heard shouted, “Don’t hit my goddamn sister,” Henriquez recalled, and that Heard then punched Depp, prompting McGivern to run up the stairs.

“By this point, Johnny had already grabbed Amber’s hair with one hand and repeatedly slapped her across the face with the other while I was standing there,” Henriquez said, adding that the security guard pulled them apart while she took Heard back to hers Penthouse. Henriquez said as they left, she overheard Depp calling them vulgar names and that he was “screaming like an animal.” She said she could hear things being smashed and when she returned to her penthouse the next day there was broken glass and the place was “destroyed”.

Addressing the actress’ counterclaim, Elaine Bredehoft, one of Heard’s attorneys, asked Henriquez how Heard was affected by statements by Depp’s attorney, who called her abuse allegations a hoax. “These statements devastated her,” Henriquez said. “They devastated them because they weren’t true.”

Under cross-examination, Rebecca Lecaroz, one of Depp’s attorneys, asked Henriquez why she thought it was a good idea to do cocaine with Depp when she suspected he was hitting her sister, and at one point even joked with Depp via text message about hitting Heard. Henriquez jokingly called the text “unfortunate” and said she wasn’t aware of the situation at the time. She also confirmed that her relationship with Heard was difficult at times and that she eventually moved out of the penthouse they shared after Depp accused her of selling stories about the couple to the media.

Lecaroz brought up the “staircase incident” and asked Henriquez why she tried to get the couple to reconcile months later. “I was just trying to help whoever I thought they both wanted,” Henriquez said. She said she still “loved” Depp as a brother-in-law at the time and thought he and Heard still wanted to be together.

“You wanted Ms. Heard to stay with Mr. Depp even after you allegedly saw him hit her, right?” Lecaroz asked.

“It really simplifies something that’s far from easy,” Henriquez said, adding that if Heard wanted to stay with Depp, she would try to be supportive of her sister and didn’t feel like it was her business, something else to say

Earlier in the day, the jury heard testimony from Raquel Pennington, Heard’s former best friend, although she said they have since grown apart and are no longer friends. Pennington, who also lived in Depp’s penthouses, has surfaced many times during the trial, having been present on the night of May 21, 2016 when police were called to the building. This week, Heard filed for divorce and a restraining order.

During Heard’s testimony, she claimed that Depp was drunk and threw a phone in her face (he denies this); Pennington said she remembered hearing screams outside the apartment. As she entered, she saw Depp yelling at Heard, who was asking Pennington for help, so Pennington walked over and stood between them and raised her hands and said to Depp, “No.” Eventually, his security stepped in and Pennington brought Heard in her penthouse. Josh Drew, Pennington’s ex-husband who also testified and was at the penthouse that night, said Heard seemed “catatonic,” but when police arrived, she asked Drew to speak to them because she still wanted to protect Depp and not wanted to make a report.

Pennington was shown several photos of Heard after the May 21, 2016 incident, and she confirmed that she remembered what Heard looked like that night and the next day: Her cheek was red and swollen, with redness and a bruise around her eye. Both Pennington and Drew said Heard’s photos were not altered in any way; Depp’s lawyers have claimed she edited photos of her injuries.

Elizabeth Marz, Heard’s acquaintance, who was at the penthouse that same night, said she was “startled” by Depp’s behavior that night and said she ran and hid after he “attacked” her while he was holding a bottle of wine held in hand.

Heard’s attorneys also reached out to Melanie Inglessis, Heard’s makeup artist, who testified she hid the actress’ bruises and trimmed her lips with makeup for a December 2015 appearance on “The Late Late Show With James Corden” — one The day after Heard said that Depp head-butted her. Inglessis confirmed to Depp’s attorney that she did not witness any physical abuse from Depp and that she only knew what Heard and her friends told her.

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