Over the course of six years, Amber Heard has reiterated accusations that ex-husband Johnny Depp had an alcohol and substance abuse problem that led to him beating her in fits of rage and stupor.
Depp, taking the stand for the first time on Tuesday in a U.S. trial on whether Heard’s accusations amounted to defamation, claimed that his ex-wife “grossly embellished” his “quote unquote substance abuse” and that there’ve been “no moments where I would’ve been considered out of control.”
Depp continued: “A lot of it is just plainly false. I think that it was an easy target for her to hit because once you’ve trusted somebody for a certain amount of years and told them all the secrets of your life, that information can of course be used against you.”
Eleven jurors considered Depp’s testimony on the fifth day of a trial in Fairfax County, Virginia, centering on an op-ed Heard published in The Washington Post in which she characterized herself as a domestic abuse survivor. Although the column didn’t mention him by name, Depp alleged she defamed him because Heard’s claims corresponded with the time the pair were married. After Depp sued for $50 million, Heard shot back with a $100 million counterclaim arguing her ex-husband had coordinated a campaign aimed at smearing her.
Heard has detailed numerous instances in which she claims she was abused, most commonly when Depp was allegedly under the influence of drugs and alcohol. “For a while, I could not scream or breathe,” she wrote in a court declaration recounting one of the incidents. “I worried that Johnny was in a blacked-out state and unaware of the damage he was doing, and that he could actually kill me.”
During opening statements. Heard’s attorney claimed that Depp, on one occasion, took eight to 10 tablets of ecstasy and proceeded to assault the Aquaman actress for the next three days.
Upon questioning by his lawyer on Tuesday afternoon, Depp challenged Heard’s characterization of his drug and alcohol consumption. He said the allegations “teeter over impossible,” implying that no one can physically ingest the amount of drugs he’s alleged to have taken.
Depp testified that he was actually sober for substantial periods of his marriage with Heard.
“I’m not some maniac who needs to be high or loaded all the time,” the actor, wearing a black jacket along with a dress shirt and vest of the same color, with his hair in a ponytail, said. “In fact, before Australia and in Australia, I had been off of alcohol for, I believe, 18 months.”
Jurors in the trial have been shown the deposition of David Kipper, who treated Depp for polysubstance abuse in Australia while the actor was there filming 2017’s Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales. At one point, he was called to the actor’s house because Depp had severed the top of his middle finger. Although Depp initially reported that he cut the finger off himself, he claimed in his lawsuit that Heard caused the injury by tossing a bottle of vodka at him.
Recounting his history with drugs and alcohol, Depp said he became addicted to oxycodone after sustaining an injury on the set of Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides. Part of the five years he took the drug, which he said he was initially prescribed to help with a back injury, overlapped with his marriage to Heard. (Depp said he has successfully undergone counseling for his opiate addiction.)
Depp also detailed the beginning of his relationship with Heard, which he described as “too good to be true.” He said he started to notice disturbing behavior early on when she’d try to control when he slept.
“It started out with little things like that,” he testified. “I suppose like anything, if they’re allowed to continue, then they’re allowed to grow and blossom into whatever they’re going to become.”
The relationship began in 2011 when the pair met while shooting The Rum Diary. During his four hours on the stand in which he discussed his abusive childhood, career and difficulties coping with fame, Depp recounted having first kissed Heard in his trailer after filming a scene in the movie in which they kissed.
“It’s been six years of trying times,” Depp said. “It’s very strange when one day you’re Cinderella and in 0.6 seconds you’re Quasimodo. I didn’t deserve that, nor did my children, nor the people who’ve believed in me all these years.”
Depp will continue to testify on Wednesday.
This article originally appeared in THR.com.