The actor spoke about his childhood trauma, overcoming opioid addiction, those 'embarrassing' texts, and more when he took the stand on Tuesday.

Johnny Depp took the stand for the first time in his defamation trial against Amber Heard on Tuesday, doubling down on claims that he did not abuse his ex-wife during the course of their marriage.

Depp is suing Heard for $50 million over her 2018 Washington Post op-ed that chronicled her experiences as a domestic violence survivor; though Heard never mentioned Depp by name, his lawyers maintained that the reference to their client was clear and that the op-ed damaged Depp's career and reputation.

Prior to the op-ed, Heard accused Depp of striking her, choking her, and kicking her during "violent and volatile" episodes. In a courtroom in Fairfax County, Virginia, on Tuesday afternoon, Depp called Heard's allegations "diabolical" as she quietly watched from her seat, saying that he has never "struck anyone in my life." The actor is scheduled to testify for a second day on Wednesday.

Read the biggest takeaways from the day 5 of the trial, below:

Johnny Depp
Johnny Depp testifies during his defamation lawsuit against Amber Heard on April 19, 2022
| Credit: JIM WATSON/POOL/AFP via Getty Images

Depp says he fought back against 'diabolical' abuse claims to protect his children

"Truth is the only thing I'm interested in," Depp testified. "Lies will get you nowhere, but lies build upon lies and build upon lies. I'm obsessed with the truth." The actor said he was emboldened to push back on Heard's allegations to protect his children, Lily-Rose, 22, and Jack, 20, whom he shares with ex Vanessa Paradis. "I felt it my responsibility to stand up not only for myself in that instance, but stand up for my children," he said. "I thought it was diabolical that my children would have to go to school and have their friends or people in the school approach them with the infamous PEOPLE magazine cover with Ms. Heard with a dark bruise on her face." He called the allegations "heinous and disturbing" and "not based in any species of truth."

Depp recalls an abusive childhood at the hands of his late mother

Depp shared details about the physical and verbal abuse he endured from his late mother, Betty Sue Palmer, who died in 2016 after a long illness. Depp described his mother as "violent" and "cruel," noting that she would throw ashtrays, high-heeled shoes, and telephones. "The verbal abuse, the psychological abuse, was almost worse than the beatings," Depp testified. "The beatings were just physical pain. The physical pain, you learn to deal with. You learn to accept it. You learn to deal with it." In contrast, his father was "very kind," "quiet," and "not a confrontational person in any way." He added, "When Betty Sue, my mother, would go off on a tangent toward my father — and of course, in front of the kids, it didn't matter to her — he, amazingly, remained very stoic... He stood there and just looked at her while she delivered the pain, and he swallowed it."

Depp revisits the beginning of his relationship with Heard, calling her 'too good to be true'

The actor recalled the beginning of his relationship with Heard. "It was as if she was too good to be true," Depp testified. "She was attentive. She was loving. She was smart. She was kind. She was funny. She was understanding." The two bonded over their shared interest in blues music and literature, Depp said, saying that Heard would often remove his boots for him when he returned home from work. Within a year and a half, "It was as if she had become another person almost," Depp said, later adding, "Things just started to change. Things started to reveal themselves." He claimed Heard got "visibly" upset when he returned home one day and removed his own shoes, noting that she told him that was her "job." He later claimed that if he didn't want to go bed at the same time as Heard, "It would steer up some unusual reactions."

Johnny Depp and Amber Heard in 2011
Johnny Depp and Amber Heard in 2011
| Credit: John Phillips/getty

Depp addresses disturbing text messages about Heard's corpse, says he's 'embarrassed'

Depp addressed inflammatory text messages he exchanged with friends, which were previously read in court, including one that said he hoped Heard's "rotting corpse is decomposing in the f-----g trunk of a Honda Civic." (He also exchanged messages with actor Paul Bettany about burning and drowning Heard, writing, "I will f--- her burnt corpse afterwards to make sure she's dead.")

Depp said he was "embarrassed" about the "heat of the moment" messages during his testimony, saying his love for the works of Monty Python and his late friend Hunter S. Thompson contributed to his "expressive" vocabulary. "Sometimes pain has to be dealt with with humor, and sometimes dark humor," Depp testified. "I grew up watching Monty Python... I tend to be quite expressive in my writing." He said of the "unfortunate words" in the text exchanges: "I know that it cannot continue."

Depp discusses his drug and alcohol use, calls Heard's characterizations of his use 'grossly embellished'

Heard has accused Depp of getting "violent" with her while under the influence of drugs and alcohol. When probed on his drinking and drug habits, Depp said his drug use began at the age of 11 but maintained that he's undergone various periods of sobriety in his adult life. Depp said he began taking some of his late mother's "nerve pills" as a child to "escape feeling so much" and "numb myself [from] the ghosts that were still with me from my youth." But, he added, "There were many years I didn't touch [drugs or] have a drink." He called Heard's characterizations of his drug and alcohol abuse "grossly embellished" and "plainly false," claiming that she used his past struggles with drugs and alcohol against him. "I'm not some maniac who needs to be high or loaded all the time," Depp testified, claiming that he detoxed from opioids during his relationship with Heard.

Depp's defamation trial against Heard continues Wednesday and is available to stream on Court TV and Law&Crime Network.

UPDATE: Find out what happened on day 2 for Depp's testimony here.

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