Despite an acrimonious six-week trial and years of court battles, Amber Heard says she still has love for her ex-husband, Johnny Depp.
“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,” the Aquaman actor said Wednesday (June 15) on the Today show in the second installment of her post-verdict interviews, days ahead of its full airing Friday on NBC News’ Dateline.
“I (have) no bad feelings or ill will towards him at all,” Heard, 36, told co-host Savannah Guthrie. “I know that might be hard to understand or it might be really easy to understand. If you’ve ever loved anyone, it should be easy.”
Heard’s remarks came from excerpts of her first post-verdict interview since the contentious libel trial ended in Virginia two weeks ago.
That’s when a jury awarded Depp US$10mil in compensatory damages and US$5mil in punitive damages after finding that she defamed the Pirates Of The Caribbean superstar. She was awarded US$2mil in her countersuit.
The sensational trial and verdict, stemming from a 2018 Washington Post op-ed Heard wrote, also vindicated Depp’s allegations that Heard lied about him abusing her.
Heard plans to appeal the verdict, which she said was disappointing and views as a setback for victims of abuse.
She elaborated on that during her interview Wednesday and described herself as “not a likable victim,” noting that she feared being sued again for defamation by participating.
“I’m scared that no matter what I do, no matter what I say or how I say it, every step that I take will present another opportunity for this sort of silencing,” she told Guthrie, “which is what I guess a defamation lawsuit is meant to do. It’s meant to take your voice.”
But the Magic Mike XXL actor doubled down on her belief that she did the right thing, for her sake and that of her one-year-old daughter.
“I think no matter what, it will mean something,” she said Wednesday. “I did the right thing. I did everything I could to stand up for myself and the truth.”
Heard said that she wrote the op-ed to add her voice at the height of the #MeToo movement. And while she never mentioned Depp by name in it, she said she had a team of lawyers review the piece.
She contended that she didn’t want to defame Depp, have him cancelled or lose his job – as other powerful men had once allegations were levied against them.
“Of course not, of course not,” Heard told Guthrie. “It wasn’t about him.”
Both actors face uncertain career prospects following the verdict.
Depp is already trying to mount a musical comeback, while a report circulated Tuesday alleging that Heard would be scrubbed from Warner Bros.’ upcoming tentpole movie Aquaman 2.
She has denied the report despite Depp-fan petitions to pull her from the Justice League spin-off.
In the first part of Heard’s interview, which aired Tuesday, the Rum Diary star insisted that she “always told the truth” during the trial.
“That’s all I spoke. And I spoke it to power. And I paid the price,” she said. “To my dying day, I’ll stand by every word of my testimony.
“I made a lot of mistakes, but I’ve always told the truth.”
Heard also said that she didn’t blame the jury for siding with Depp, saying her ex is “a beloved character, and people feel they know him. He’s a fantastic actor”.
She also believes his legal team “did a better job at distracting the jury from the real issues” and described her short-lived marriage to Depp as “toxic”. – Los Angeles Times/Tribune News Service