Amber Heard has said she would not blame the public for looking at her multimillion-dollar defamation case against Johnny Depp and thinking “this is Hollywood brats at their worst”.
The 36-year-old actress told NBC Today journalist Savannah Guthrie in her first TV interview since losing the court battle that she had been emotionally affected by the affair, and that social media had played a significant role in the case.
Guthrie suggested some members of the public were “frankly disgusted” by what had played out in court over the six weeks of testimony and evidence in Fairfax County, Virginia.
Heard replied: “Absolutely. I would not blame the average person for looking at this and how this has been covered and thinking that this is Hollywood brats at their worst.
“But what people don’t understand is that it is actually so much bigger than that. This is not only about our First Amendment right to speak.”
But Guthrie interjected: “But here’s the thing – the First Amendment protects free speech. It doesn’t protect lies that amount to defamation, and that was the issue in the case.”
Heard said the “vast majority” of the trial had played out on social media and that it had become “an example of that gone haywire, gone amok”.
Recalling arriving at the courthouse each day, she said: “Every single day I passed three, four, sometimes six city blocks lined with people holding signs saying ‘Burn the witch’ and ‘Death to Amber’.
“After three-and-a-half weeks I took the stand and saw a courtroom packed full of Captain Jack Sparrow fans who were vocal, energised.”
Heard said it had been “the most humiliating and horrible thing I have ever been through”.
“I have never felt more removed from my own humanity. I felt less than human,” she added.
Heard told Guthrie she stood by every word of her testimony “to my dying day”.
When the journalist pressed her about Depp’s claim in court that he never hit her, asking: “Is that a lie?”, Heard responded: “Yes, it is.”
Heard also used the interview to address her own behaviour during the marriage, saying: “I did do and say horrible, regrettable things throughout my relationship. I behaved in horrible, almost unrecognisable to myself ways. So much regret.
“I have 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.”
Heard said their relationship had been “very, very toxic”.
She added: “We were awful to each other. I made a lot of mistakes, a lot of mistakes. I have always told the truth.”
Two weeks ago, the jury found a 2018 article that Heard wrote for the Washington Post about her experiences as a survivor of domestic abuse to be defamatory.
Depp consistently denied during his own evidence the “outrageous, outlandish” claims of abuse and said he had “spoken up for what I have been carrying on my back reluctantly for six years”.
The 59-year-old was awarded 10.35 million US dollars (£8.2 million) in damages.
Heard won on one count of her countersuit, successfully arguing that Depp’s press agent defamed her by claiming her allegations were “an abuse hoax” aimed at capitalising on the #MeToo movement.
The jury awarded her two million dollars (£1.5 million) in damages.
As deliberations began, Depp appeared on stage with veteran rock guitarist Jeff Beck, 77, during his UK tour and the pair also recently announced a collaborative album.
Depp previously lost a similar trial in the UK which he brought against the publisher of The Sun newspaper after an article, also written in 2018, referred to him as a “wife-beater”.
– Amber Heard’s interview airs on Tuesday and Wednesday’s editions on NBC News’ Today programme, with more airing on Friday during a special Dateline show.