Whitney Henriquez, 34, testified on Wednesday about witnessing her Aquaman actress sister, now 36, becoming controlled and abused by ex-husband Depp during their relationship. Henriquez, who lived in the couple's residences at times, admitted she and Depp "got along really well at first" and recalled doing drugs with the movie star on occasions.
"Frankly, we all fell in love with him. At first," she told the courtroom.
Henriquez was also questioned about the March 2015 incident when Depp, now 58, allegedly hit her and Heard on a staircase at their penthouse. According to Henriquez, Heard found text messages that showed Depp was allegedly having an affair, causing an argument in which Depp eventually said, "Amber made me do it."
She testified that Depp threw a Red Bull can that hit his nurse Debbie Lloyd in the back. Then, "I'm at the top of the stairs with my back to the stairs, and that's when Johnny runs up the stairs. I'm facing Amber, he comes up behind me, strikes me in the back. I hear Amber shout, 'Don't hit my f---ing sister!' She smacks him, lands one. At that point, that's when [Depp's security guard] Travis [McGivern] runs up the stairs, after Amber landed one."
"But by that time," she continued, "Johnny had already grabbed Amber by the hair with one hand and was whacking her repeatedly in the face with the other as I was standing there. Travis then pulls them apart."
Heard's closet was "completely destroyed" by Depp afterward, Henriquez said, as the jury was shown photos of the alleged aftermath. Following the staircase incident, Henriquez said she was given a non-disclosure agreement form to sign.
"There was an NDA on my kitchen table. ... My understanding is it's a contract to keep things private. To keep your mouth shut, essentially. I was asked to sign one. I don't believe I signed it. I left sometime after."
KEVIN LAMARQUE/POOL/AFP via Getty Whitney Henriquez
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McGivern, one of Depp's witnesses, previously testified in the trial, offering a differing account of the staircase incident. The security guard, who is still employed by Depp, recalled a "relatively peaceful conversation" that devolved into a "louder" and "more volatile" discourse. He said Heard was the one who threw a Red Bull can at Depp during the incident, leading McGivern to stand near Depp as the "verbal onslaught continued from both of them."
"Mr. Depp was giving as good as he got at that point," said McGivern. "He was angry and agitated." He added that he blocked a purse thrown by Heard too, and that the Aquaman actress "tried to spit on" Depp amid the "verbal vitriol from both of them."
BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/POOL/AFP via Getty, Kevin Lamarque/Pool Photo via AP
"Out of the corner of my eye, I saw a fist and an arm come across my right shoulder and I heard and saw a closed fist contact Mr. Depp in the left side of his face. That was Ms. Heard's fist," McGivern said. Adding of the actor's reaction, he said: "The initial look on his face kind of mirrored mine, kind of a look of shock. Like, 'What just happened? Where did that come from?' At that point, I wasn't gonna let Mr. Depp get hit any more so I moved him down the last flight of stairs to the lower level and told him, 'We are leaving.' It wasn't up to him anymore. Just for his safety."
He said he saw a "nice little shiner" on Depp's face afterward that was "swollen and red" but not "black and blue yet."
Heard testified that she "swung at" Depp in the alleged fight so that he "didn't push my sister down the stairs." She said on the stand, "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."
Depp is suing Heard for defamation over a 2018 op-ed she wrote for The Washington Post about surviving domestic abuse, though she didn't mention him by name in the article. He has said multiple times under oath that he has never struck Heard or any woman, and he testified that his "goal is the truth" as he seeks to clear his name in the trial. Heard is countersuing for defamation, claiming Depp launched a smear campaign to discredit her allegations as a "hoax."
Back in November 2020, Depp lost his highly publicized U.K. libel lawsuit case against British tabloid The Sun for calling him a "wife-beater." The court upheld the outlet's claims as being "substantially true" and Heard testified to back up the claims. In March 2021, his attempt to overturn the decision was overruled.
If you are experiencing domestic violence, call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233, or go to thehotline.org. All calls are toll-free and confidential. The hotline is available 24/7 in more than 170 languages.