Photo: Kevin Lamarque/AP/Shutterstock
As Amber Heard’s legal team tries to bolster their allegation that Johnny Depp was abusive and erratic, they are using testimony from her past and present confidants, including the actress’s sister, Whitney Henriquez, and ex–best friend, Raquel Pennington. Henriquez testified about the notorious purported March 2013 incident where Depp allegedly held one of their dogs outside the window of a moving car. Henriquez said that Depp appeared to have been up all night doing cocaine. He had a film project, and they needed to get him out of the house. Henriquez, Heard, and Depp eventually got into the car. Henriquez said “there was music playing really loudly,” so she couldn’t hear what was going on in the backseat, but thought she heard a door open at one point. Henriquez looked, and “Johnny is holding a dog out the window,” she said. “I froze,” she said. “I was scared because I just remember thinking — I knew how inebriated he was, and the dog was very small. I thought if she twitched or he lost her somehow, she’s just going to go out the window.” Depp wound up bringing the dog back inside. Henriquez said he “made some joke about putting her in the microwave … putting the dog in the microwave” and was laughing in a “really scary, loud” way.
Henriquez’s statements about the dog mirror Heard’s prior testimony. On May 4, Heard said that after they coaxed Depp to leave the house, they grabbed their dogs, one hers and one his, and got into the car. Depp was smoking, and the windows were down. Then he started “howling,” Heard said. “He grabs this teacup Yorkie and holds Boo out of the window of the moving car,” Heard testified. “And he’s howling and, like, holding the dog out the window.” Heard said she was able to gently bring Depp’s arms and the dog back inside. Henriquez also testified about alleged physical abuse. She said that in March 2015, Depp and Heard got into a fight over his alleged cheating. Henriquez tried to make her sister feel better, but the dispute moved onto the home’s mezzanine. Henriquez wound up getting hit in the scuffle and Depp, she alleged, hit Heard in the face. Pennington also testified about alleged physical abuse. She claimed in a video deposition played at trial earlier on May 18 that hair was “ripped out” of the actress’s head after an apparent fight with Depp. In this prerecorded deposition, the Aquaman star’s team asked Pennington to describe what she had observed about Heard and Depp’s relationship, including descriptions of photos showing evidence of physical abuse. Pennington described visiting Heard at her Los Angeles penthouse in December 2015, the night before she appeared on The Late Late Show With James Corden. “She was very upset. Her face was red, swollen. Hair had been ripped out of her head,” she recalled. Pennington said she went through the penthouse and took photos. “I don’t think I slept that night, watching her, just to make sure she didn’t —” Pennington said. “You were worried she had a concussion?” Heard’s attorney offered. “Yes,” Pennington answered.
Pennington, who choked up multiple times during her testimony, was asked to describe one of the photos. “Her right eye has a mark and bruise, her nose is swollen, there’s bruising on her left eye as well,” she said. At one point, Pennington was asked whether she had ever seen Heard “paint on bruises or use makeup to make it appear as if she had a bruise when, in fact, she didn’t.” “No, the opposite,” Pennington said. “What do you mean when you say, ‘the opposite’?” Heard’s attorney asked. “She often had to cover bruises and injuries on her face with makeup,” Pennington said. Pennington also claimed during her deposition testimony to have seen “very deep, long” cuts on the back of Heard’s arms following her return from Australia in March 2015. “I was worried for her physical safety,” Pennington said at one point. “I was worried that when he turned, he might accidentally do something that was worse than he ever intended.”
Photo: KEVIN LAMARQUE/POOL/AFP via Getty Images
Pennington’s observations directly address Depp’s and his team’s attempts to explain away alleged abuse during his defamation trial against Heard. His team has shown photos of Heard appearing on Corden’s show without visible bruises to argue that she hadn’t been struck. They have also tried to claim that there wasn’t evidence of Depp physically and sexually abusing Heard in Australia, including the cuts she claimed to have sustained from broken glass after Depp threw bottles at her. Pennington did say during her testimony that she didn’t witness Depp strike Heard, nor throw anything at her. Depp is claiming that Heard defamed him by falsely claiming abuse. She filed counterclaims, contending that his denial defamed her.