FALLS CHURCH, Va. — May 27, 2016, was the day that Johnny Depp and Amber Heard’s marriage went from private misery to public, career-killing spectacle.
Heard was filing for divorce. Heard arrived at the Los Angeles courthouse on that day to request a temporary restraining or. Heard showed up in Los Angeles with a visible mark on her forehead, which Depp claims she caused during a fight six weeks prior. This scene was photographed by photographers and became tabloid headlines around the world.
Depp says he never hit her, and now he’s suing Heard for libel in Fairfax County Circuit Court. On Wednesday, jurors in the case heard from police officers who responded to the couple’s penthouse immediately after the fight. The red mark, which was visible six days later, wasn’t noticed by any of the officers.
Officer Tyler Hadden, one of the officers who responded to the couple’s penthouse apartment on May 21, 2016, said Heard refused to talk to officers and had no signs of an injury, although he acknowledged she’d been crying and was red-faced.
“Just because I see a female with pink cheeks and pink eyes doesn’t mean something happened,” he said in a recorded deposition played for jurors Wednesday.
Depp had left the penthouse before officers arrived. The officers said that they didn’t know who Heard was or that Depp was her husband. He said neither Heard nor anyone at the penthouse complex was willing to tell him or the other officers who Heard’s husband was.
On Tuesday, jurors were presented with similar testimony by an officer that accompanied Hadden into the penthouse.
William Gatlin (an officer who conducted a follow up visit on Wednesday) testified that there were no injuries to either of them. However, he admitted that his trip was short and that he did not get closer than 10ft (3m) to Heard. Because the check was not a follow-up to Hadden’s, Gatlin said that it was an innocuous one.
The jury saw bodycam video of Gatlin’s response, which was less than two minutes. It was impossible to see the Heard response from far away.
Heard’s lawyers, in their questions, have suggested that Heard could have covered her injuries with makeup, because at that point she still wanted to protect Depp. They also asked officers why they didn’t investigate a potential case of domestic violence more thoroughly.
The officers’ testimony is some of Depp’s best evidence that Heard contrived the allegations against her ex-husband. This testimony adds to earlier testimony by witnesses that Heard and her sister were seen performing fake punches during the days following the attack.
It’s far from definitive, though. Heard’s lawyers have yet to put on their case, and some of her friends say they were at the penthouse when Depp allegedly attacked her.
And even if jurors were to conclude that Depp never assaulted his wife on May 21, they have heard evidence of other alleged assaults before and during the couple’s brief marriage.
Depp sued Heard for libel after she wrote an op-ed piece piece in The Washington Post in 2018 referring to herself as “a public figure representing domestic abuse.” The article doesn’t mention Depp by name, but his lawyers say the article defames him nevertheless because it’s a clear reference to the highly publicized allegations Heard made when she filed for divorce in 2016 and obtained a temporary restraining order as well.
Read More From Time