Heard’s sister first testifies to witnessing physical abuse after Depp’s alleged affair

Henriquez recounted an inebriated Depp blamed Heard for forcing him into affair

Amber Heard’s sister testified Wednesday that she found herself in the middle of fights – literally and figuratively – between her sister and Johnny Depp during their troubled relationship.

Whitney Heard Henriquez is the first witness to testify at the five-week civil trial to say she personally witnessed Mr Depp hitting Ms Heard. Mr Depp has testified he never struck Ms Heard.

Ms Henriquez testified the fight occurred in March 2015 – a month after Mr Depp and Ms Heard’s wedding – when Ms Heard found evidence that Mr Depp had already had an extramarital affair.

Ms Henriquez recounted that an inebriated Mr Depp blamed Ms Heard for forcing him into the extramarital encounter.

At one point, she said, she was caught between Mr Depp and Ms Heard as he charged up a staircase to confront Ms Heard. Ms Henriquez said she was struck in the back, and Ms Heard became enraged and “landed one” on Mr Depp, with Ms Henriquez stuck between the two.

One of Mr Depp’s bodyguards intervened and broke up the fight but “by that time Johnny had already grabbed Amber by the hair with one hand and was whacking her repeatedly in the face with the other,” Ms Henriquez said.

It was the only time, Ms Henriquez said, that she personally witnessed a physical assault. But she said she saw the aftermath of other fights, including bruises on Ms Heard.

She said she had the nickname “marriage counsellor” for her frequent efforts to mediate arguments between Ms Heard and Mr Depp.

“Clearly not very well,” she said of her mediation efforts.

But she acknowledged on cross-examination that she sided with Mr Depp at times in their disputes, and said she worked to keep the couple together even after she watched her sister be physically assaulted.

“If my sister said that she still wanted to be with Johnny and if I could help with that in any way I was going to support her. I was going to be there for her,” she said.

Ms Henriquez admitted that once, she even joked in a text message that Mr Depp should hit Ms Heard, but she said she didn’t really understand what her sister was going through at the time.

Ms Henriquez also told a story about Mr Depp’s behavior at Ms Heard’s 30th birthday party in April 2016, one of the final fights between the couple. She said people took turns sharing favorite memories of Ms Heard. Mr Depp, who arrived late and intoxicated to the party, decided to tell a story about when he first met Ms Heard as she auditioned for a movie and “she sat on the couch and her perfect (posterior) left the perfect imprint on the couch.”

“We were all kind of embarrassed,” Ms Henriquez said.

Mr Depp is suing Ms Heard for libel in Virginia’s Fairfax County Circuit Court over a 2018 op-ed she wrote in The Washington Post describing herself as “a public figure representing domestic abuse.” His lawyers say he was defamed by the article even though it never mentioned his name.

Photos

Also Wednesday, a friend of Ms Heard testified she saw the bruises and cuts left in the aftermath of multiple incidents of abuse inflicted by Mr Depp.

In a recorded deposition played for jurors, Raquel Pennington said she never personally witnessed Mr Depp strike Ms Heard. But she said she saw the injuries, and she took photos of Ms Heard’s face in December 2015 after a fight in which Ms Heard says Mr Depp head-butted her and perhaps broke her nose.

The photo shows a swollen nose, a cut lip, and two moderately black eyes on Heard’s face.

She also took a photo of strands of hair that she said were ripped from ms Heard’s scalp.

Heard “often had to cover bruises and injuries on her face” with makeup, said Ms Pennington, one of many witnesses whose testimony was previously recorded.

Ms Pennington said she doesn’t really consider herself a current friend of Ms Heard, and that the two grew apart in the last year.

The December 2015 fight is one of several disputed incidents. While jurors have seen the photos taken by Ms Pennington documenting the injuries, they have also seen video of Ms Heard’s appearance on a late-night talk show the next day in which those injuries aren’t visible.

Ms Heard has said the injuries were just covered by makeup.

Ms Pennington’s testimony came after Ms Heard wrapped up her time on the witness stand Tuesday, including two gruelling days of cross-examination in which Mr Depp’s lawyers questioned Ms Heard about the truthfulness of her allegations of physical and sexual abuse.

Ms Pennington’s testimony provides corroborating evidence to several of the alleged assaults. In addition to the December 2015 incident, Ms Pennington said she saw cuts on Ms Heard’s feet when she returned from a trip to Australia in March 2015.

Ms Heard testified that Mr Depp sexually assaulted Ms Heard with a liquor bottle on that trip and that she cut her feet on broken glass from the attack. -AP