Johnny Depp to return to the stand next week, along with Amber Heard, her sister, and actress Ellen Barkin
Heard will finish her testimony when the trial resumes on May 16 in Fairfax County, Va., and could be cross-examined later that Monday. Depp is also expected to return to the stand for the second time, now as a witness for the defense after previously testifying on his own behalf for days about his tumultuous relationship with his ex-wife.
Depp is suing Heard for $50 million over a 2018 Washington Post op-ed she wrote chronicling her experiences as a domestic violence survivor. Though Heard never mentions Depp by name, his lawyers argue that references to their client (and Heard's previous abuse allegations following their 2017 divorce) are clear, claiming the essay damaged Depp's career and reputation. Heard filed a $100 million countersuit, claiming Depp and his legal team defamed her by calling her allegations false.
Heard's sister, Whitney Henriquez, and actress Ellen Barkin are also expected to testify on behalf of the defense. Both Henriquez and Barkin similarly testified as witnesses for Heard during Depp's failed libel lawsuit against The Sun in 2020, wherein the actor took the British newspaper to court over language that referred to him as a "wife beater" in an article centered on Heard's abuse allegations.
Barkin dated Depp while filming Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas together in the late 1990s. During the U.K. defamation case, she reportedly testified that Depp threw a wine bottle in her direction during a heated moment in a hotel room. Depp denied the accusation, saying Barkin held a grudge against him.
The actress, who recently starred in TNT's Animal Kingdom, has been included on Heard's witness list since March, but it remains unclear whether other stars on the list, like Elon Musk and James Franco, will take the stand.
Heard's sister, who lived in one of Depp's Los Angeles penthouses for a time, has also been on the witness list since the beginning and her name has already come up during the trial so far. LAPD officers testified that they were called to the L.A. penthouse in 2016 on a domestic violence call but did not find evidence of a crime. And during Depp's U.K. trial, Henriquez testified to seeing bruises on Heard's face early in her relationship with Depp.
The Aquaman 2 star also brought up her sister while describing the one time she admits to physically striking Depp. During a heated argument in March 2015, Heard testified that Depp swung at Henriquez when she tried to break up a fight between the couple. "[Whitney's] back was to the staircase, and Johnny swings at her," she testified on Thursday. "And I swung at him," she continued. "In all of my relationship to date with Johnny, I hadn't landed a blow. And I, for the first time, hit him — like, actually hit him. Square in the face." She added, "He didn't push my sister down the stairs."
Depp's team has also referenced Henriquez, alleging that she and Heard could be seen in a video laughing and re-enacting a "fake punch," which the actor's lawyers argued was practice for Heard to "feign abuse from Depp."
The trial, which was on hiatus this week due to to the judge's prior commitment to attend a conference, will continue streaming live on both Court TV and Law & Crime on Monday.