Johnny Depp’s security guard has recalled witnessing Amber Heard hurling insults at the actor and striking him with a ‘closed fist’ during an explosive altercation at the couple’s Los Angeles penthouse.
Travis McGivern was the first witness called to the stand Monday as the high-profile defamation trial between the feuding exes entered its fourth week.
The security guard, testifying via live video link, described how fights between the pair escalated in March 2015, when Depp and Heard returned from Australia, and how he was forced to intervene when one particular argument turned physical.
He told the court Depp and Heard had been arguing ‘every other night’ and that Depp would at times call McGivern to the penthouse he shared with Heard as he usually wanted ‘to get out of there.’
McGivern said that while he typically tried not to listen in on the couple’s bickering, he often heard ‘lots of name-calling’ and ‘F-bombs’ directed at Depp.
When asked what Heard would say during arguments, McGivern sighed and said: ‘Oh dear’, drawing laughter from Depp.
‘Oh dear. It would vary, and to be honest, I tried not to pay attention. I was there to get Mr. Depp out of there,’ he said.
Amber Heard and Johnny Depp’s defamation trial on Monday heard testimony from the actor’s security guard who was forced to intervene in a nasty altercation between the two in 2015
Depp, 58, sat quietly and at times could be seen chuckling as his security guard described working for the former couple
Testifying via live video link, security guard Travis McGivern described how fights between the pair escalated in March 2015, when Depp and Heard returned from Australia, and recalled hearing Heard hurl verbal abuse at her ex-husband
McGivern, seeming to hesitate at first, then went on to tell the court that he would hear Heard hurl abusive comments at Depp, calling him ‘a f**king deadbeat dad,’ among other things.
‘I’ve heard Ms. Heard call him a f**king deadbeat dad – if I can say that. I apologize to the court,’ he said before continuing: ‘F**king washed up…a f**king c**t. You name it, she spewed it.’
McGivern said there were a few times when he stepped in to remove Depp as things escalated that Heard ‘didn’t like my involvement in the situation’ and at one point made it clear to him in a ‘lengthy, one-sided conversation.’
‘She basically demeaned my career choice. Called me a ‘f**king yes man. Honestly there were parts [when she would say] ‘how would you feel if someone was involved in your relationship?’ which, you know, I sympathized with, but she definitely threw some shade on me and my chosen career.’
McGivern went on to describe one fight on March 23, 2015 – a few weeks after the couple returned from Australia – that stood out in his mind.
He said Depp had sent him a text around 4am that day asking him to come up to their apartment and McGivern said that he ran into Heard in the lobby talking to security.
While McGivern went upstairs to see Depp, Depp’s nurse Debbie Lloyd stayed downstairs with Heard.
McGivern said: ‘I was hoping to get him out of there before Ms. Heard came back up because of past experiences.
‘When they’d argue she would try to prevent us from leaving to the point – she’s held the elevator before, physically tried to stop Mr. Depp from leaving by grabbing his arm. I wanted to get out of there to avoid that.
‘Mr. Depp sitting by the front door of penthouse five, he had some bags like he was ready to go. I greeted, him, tried to get him out of there.’
Heard and Depp, who were married for just 15 months from 2015, are halfway through the explosive trial, which is expected to end on May 19. The pair are pictured in November 2011
Heard and Depp lived together at the Eastern Columbia Building in downtown LA, where the actor owned three penthouses
Heard and Lloyd arrived and they all went into the penthouse.
McGivern said that Miss Heard was on the second of floor of the penthouse, the office area.
He said: ‘At some point I witnessed Ms. Heard throw a Red Bull can. Mr. Depp was down at the lower level, which is a kitchen area. There is a middle area, an office for Ms. Heard, and the upper level, which is closest for Ms. Heard.
‘Ms. Heard and her sister Whitney, they were in the middle level and I saw Ms. Heard throw a Red Bull can from her position that struck Mr. Depp in the back.
‘I moved closer to Mr. Depp. I didn’t want my client getting hit with anything else. I stood right by Mr. Depp. The verbal onslaught continued, from both of them. Mr. Depp was giving as good as he got. He was angry and agitated. Ms. Heard threw something else, a purse or a bag she had up there. I was able to knock it away so it didn’t hit him. She spit at him. And then a lot of verbal vitriol from both of them.’
Asked what Heard said, McGivern said: ‘Jeez’.
He said: ‘Anything and everything. There was the ‘you’re a f**king washup.’ ‘You’re a f**king c**t’, which he called her as well. Again the deadbeat dad s**t. I don’t remember what the fight was about … the f word is my favorite word and it was being thrown around to the point where I was uncomfortable.’
McGivern said that Depp ‘was mad, he was upset, especially after she tried to spit on him’ – and took revenge.
‘Mr. Depp went upstairs and rearranged her closet for her, threw down probably every rack of clothing and shoes. Threw at least one down the stairs. He was upset,’ he said.
Heard and her sister returned and continued the argument.
He said: ‘We were in the office level, the middle level. She was agitated. Mr. Depp was agitated. I felt it was time to get Mr. Depp out of the situation. I stepped in between Ms. Heard and Mr. Depp, telling Mr. Depp we were leaving and it wasn’t up to him anymore.
‘At that point 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’.
Jack Whigham, talent manager for US actor Johnny Depp, is seen on a monitor as he testifies remotely in the courtroom at the Fairfax County Circuit Court Monday
Actor Johnny Depp listens as Jack Whigham, talent manager for Depp, is seen on a monitor as he testifies remotely in the courtroom at the Fairfax County Circuit Court
McGivern said that it was Heard’s fist that hit Depp.
Asked how Depp responded, he said: ‘The initial look on his face mirrored mine, kind of shock, where did that come from? I wasn’t going to let Mr. Depp get hit any more so I moved him to the lower level and told him we’re leaving, it wasn’t up to him any more, just for his safety. I’d let him get hit by a Red Bull can, I’d let him get punched’.
As they left Depp got ‘right in my face’ and pointed to the left side of his face, saying: ‘That’s your fault’, McGivern said.
On Depp’s face was a ‘nice little shiner, definitely swollen and red.’
Later in his testimony, Depp was seen laughing as McGivern said he had seen him use marijuana ‘more times than I can count, daily.’
Taking cocaine left Depp ‘leveled out’, McGivern testified.
He also said he had never seen Depp hit Heard back during their arguments.
McGivern described another fight between Depp and Heard in April 2016 after a party for her 30th birthday in the penthouse.
He said that it was a ‘verbal argument’ and it was ‘made clear some phones had been thrown out the window or something’.
‘Mr. Depp was ready to leave, he had a couple of bags over his shoulders. He wanted to grab a few valuables we always used to grab when this happened, some framed letters from Hunter S. Thompson or Marlon Brando’, referring to the late author and actor with whom Depp was friends.
Under cross examination by Heard’s lawyer Benjamin Rottenborn, McGivern insisted his account of the Red Bull incident was correct.
Rottenborn said that Depp ‘was reaching for Amber’s hair while he was trying to hit her’ with a cast on his right finger from the incident in Australia.
McGivern said: ‘That is not correct’.
Depp sued his ex-wife Amber Heard for libel in Fairfax County Circuit Court after she wrote an op-ed piece in The Washington Post in 2018 referring to herself as a ‘public figure representing domestic abuse’
Depp and Heard are seen in September 2015 in Venice, Italy – the same year a blowout fight in Australia took place
McGivern said it was not correct that Whitney Heard was standing between Depp and Heard because that is where he positioned himself.
Rottenborn said: ‘You saw Mr Depp push or shove Whitney Heard?’
McGivern said: ‘Absolutely not’.
Rottenborn said: ‘Only after Mr Depp pushed Whitney did Miss Heard stepped forward and punched him in the face?’
McGivern said: ‘That is not correct.’
Next to testify was Johnny Depp’s agent who told the court that Heard’s op-ed, published in the Washington Post in December 2018, was ‘catastrophic’ for his career.
Jack Whigham said the piece was ‘rather shocking because it was the first time I’d heard an allegation of sexual abuse’.
Testifying live via video link, Wigham was asked what impact it had on Depp’s career.
He said: ‘With respect to Johnny it was catastrophic because it was coming from a first person account, it was not from a journalist, not someone observing, it was from someone saying this happened to me’.
For the two years following the op-ed Depp appeared in ‘zero’ studio films, Wigham told the court.
Depp did not appear in Pirates of the Caribbean 6 despite having a $22.5million deal with Disney to play Captain Jack Sparrow.
Monday’s third witness, Richard Marks, an entertainment lawyer who has worked in Hollywood for decades, told the jury about his assessment of the impact of Heard’s op-ed on Depp’s career
Disney decided it was going in a ‘different direction’ and the studio was looking to develop a ‘Pirates project’ for the actress Margot Robbie instead of featuring Depp – the movie has yet to be made.
Even Minimata, an independent film that Depp starred in, struggled after the article came out.
Wigham said: ‘The op-ed came out in December (2018) right as we were going on Christmas break.
‘Minimata was supposed to start (showing) in January (2019). It was very, very difficult to keep Minimata together.
‘The financing became shaky, Johnny’s fee came down in order to save the movie’,
Wigham said after the op-ed ‘it was impossible to get him a studio film which is what we would have normally been focused on’
During Wigham’s testimony the court heard about how much Depp earned for other movies.
For City of Lies, the 2018 movie about the investigations into the deaths of rappers Biggie Smalls and Tupac Shakur, Depp earned $8million.
Depp was paid $10million for the 2017 murder mystery, Murder on the Orient Express.
For Fantastic Beasts 2 – Crimes of Grindelwald, the spin-off from the Harry Potter films which came out in 2018 and starred Depp in the lead role as Gellert Grindelwald, Depp was paid $13.5million.
Depp earned $3.5million for the 2018 comedy drama The Professor and $1million for Waiting for the Barbarians, the 2019 adaptation of the J. M. Coetzee novel.
Depp earned $3million for Minimata, a drama which came out in 2020, Wigham told the court.
That means Depp earned a total of $38million between 2017 and 2020 for his acting.
Monday’s third witness, Richard Marks, an entertainment lawyer who has worked in Hollywood for decades, told the jury about his assessment of the impact of Heard’s op-ed on Depp’s career.
Marks, testifying as an expert in the entertainment industry, said: ‘The op-ed damaged Mr. Depp, created a cancel situation if you will, harmed his reputation and ability to get work in the Hollywood industry’
Marks said that studios ‘wouldn’t want to hire an actor who has negativity following them, you wouldn’t want to pay to bring your brand down’.
He said: ‘That’s very important and especially in the last five years of MeToo movement, you wouldn’t want negativity, hiring an actor who ‘had been canceled’.
Asked what in particular might stop an actor getting hired, he said: ‘We’re talking illegal activity, criminal record but right now the pinnacle of negativity in Hollywood is being accused of domestic abuse, domestic violence. We’ve seen , almost immediately, terminations and cancelations for the investors to move away from that negativity’.
Marks said that the op-ed was so impactful because it was in the Washington Post, which he called a ‘flagship journal of American news’.
He said: ‘We’re not talking about a trade paper. It is geared to Hollywood. It says two years ago when I was getting my divorce, Amber Heard is saying, I was abused, Hollywood stood up for my abuser, not me the victim. Hollywood got the subject matter of the op-ed loud and clear
‘Amber Heard was calling out Hollywood for supporting since 2016 her abuser and she felt the wrath of Hollywood. She was calling them out to do something and on the eve of her biggest film, a big film for Hollywood. The publicity machine was in high gear. This was the height of her fame and she used it to call Hollywood out and they heard that plea loud and clear. It also got her publicity for her movie – it wasn’t a coincidence that date. In Hollywood the message was received that she was sending’.
Marks dismissed Depp’s reputation for lateness on sets saying that Hollywood has ‘always had divas like Marilyn Monroe who stay in her trailer for half a day’.
He said that the impact of the op-ed on Depp’s reputation was ‘devastating.’
He said: ‘It’s the type of claim, the MeToo claim, that has canceled a list of actors. Chris Noth recently, Frank Langella, newscasters, Les Moonves, now Johnny Depp is in their ranks. It’s devastating’.
Marks said that the effect of MeToo in Hollywood was that the ‘morals clause’ in actors’ contracts was returning so they could act ‘decisively’ in the event of these kind of allegations.
Marks said that he was working with Kevin Spacey when he was accused of sexual misconduct and he was cut out of a film about the Getty family and the House of Cards series was ‘redone to get rid of the notion Hollywood would support an abuser’.
At one point Depp laughed and jokingly appeared to take offense as negative headlines about him were read out to the court.
The actor snickered as Heard’s lawyer Adam Nadelhaft read out one article which said he had a ‘run of movie flops’.
Asked about the article Marks defended Depp and said: ‘Every actor has ups and downs, Mr Depp has had a career that’s decades long.’
Nadelhaft read out another article which read that ‘Mr Depp is on his way to becoming the most overpaid actor in Hollywood’.
Marks dismissed the piece as being written by a ‘smartypants’.
To another article which said that ‘Johnny Depp has become Hollywood’s biggest joke’, Marks said that ‘Netflix is a joke’.
Depp appeared amused as the headlines were read, flexing his eyebrows as if mulling them over and smiling.
Marks became sarcastic when asked about how the Washington Post op-ed didn’t even name Depp.
He told Nadelhaft: ‘Does she (Heard) have another husband who abused her?’
Asked about the 2020 libel trial in London – where a judge ruled the claim Depp was a wife beater was ‘substantially true’ – Marks issued another dry response.
He said: ‘We thought we got rid of the UK in 1776 but (we) were still following it’.
Earlier Monday, DailyMail.com reported Heard had fired her PR team and hired a new firm ahead of today’s proceedings in apparent hopes she might receive more favorable coverage this week – during which time she is expected to take to the stand and testify.
Heard could take to the stand as soon as Monday, unless a major revelation comes out during the closing statements in Depp’s case.
A source told Deadline last week: ‘It’s hard to see how Amber won’t prove to be a highly effective weapon against Depp in her own advocacy.
Judge Penney Azcarate speaks to Ben Chew (L), the attorney representing US actor Johnny Depp, and Elaine Bredehoft (R), the attorney representing US actress Amber Heard in court on Monday
Actor Amber Heard talks to her attorneys at Fairfax County Circuit Court during a defamation case against her by actor Johnny Depp. She is expected to take the stand in the trial this week
‘Regardless of how they have tried to characterize her, she has been nothing but well composed and pretty conservative in court without having said a word.’
Heard was not a party and did not take the stand in Depp’s 2020 libel claim against The Sun in the UK, which he lost.
The trial in the Fairfax County Courthouse runs Monday to Thursday from 10am to 5pm, and is set to conclude on May 19. Judge Penny Azcarate has a prescheduled conference from May 9 to 12 when the trial will pause for a week.
The actress, 36, on Monday was reported to have cut ties with her publicists ahead of this week’s trial proceedings, following days of bad press generated by explosive court testimony last week.
DailyMail.com has learned Heard made the decision to hire a new PR team after Dr. Shannon Curry – a clinical and forensic psychologist testifying for Depp – revealed she had borderline personality disorder (BPD) and histrionic personality disorder (HPD).
The two conditions are characterized by instability in relationships and being overly dramatic, manipulative, and image-obsessed.
A communications expert who has been following the trial told DailyMail.com: ‘As I understand it, Dr. Curry’s testimony was the final straw.
‘Depp’s team aren’t just painting Heard as hitting him back – they are painting her as crazy.
‘That was too much for her and she fired her PRs,’ the source added.
Heard was being represented by PR firm Precision Strategies before ditching them in favor of LA-based consulting firm Shane Communications.
‘She doesn’t like bad headlines,’ an unnamed source told the New York Post, which first reported the news.
Another source told the newspaper that Heard, a mom-of-one, is ‘frustrated with her story not being told effectively.
Heard reportedly never wanted cameras to be allowed in the courtroom, but Depp’s team pushed for it, and won.
The trial could be watched by via livestream everyday, meaning the public can easily hear testimony presented in court instead of the media simply cherry-picking what made it outside.
Legions of fans have also come to Depp’s defense after hearing his testimony last week, with a petition calling for his ex-wife to be axed from upcoming superhero film Aquaman 2 reaching three million signatures Monday.
Supporters of the actor are pleading with filmmakers DC and Warner Bros to ditch the actress from the sequel following the shocking domestic abuse allegations that have emerged in court over the last few weeks.
Heard starred as Mera in the original film in 2018 alongside Jason Momoa and Nicole Kidman.
A petition calling for Amber Heard to be axed from the upcoming Aquaman 2 film has passed three million signatures
Heard featured as Mera in the 2018 movie Aquaman, and is set to reprise her role in the sequel
Now, Depp fans are calling for Heard to be axed from Aquaman 2, which is due to be released next March.
Critics believe she should suffer the same fate Depp did when he was dropped by Disney in his role as Captain Jack Sparrow in the sixth installment of Pirates of the Caribbean – after Heard alleged he had domestically abused her.
Depp is suing Heard for $50million, claiming she defamed him and ruined his career after a 2018 Washington Post article in which she described herself as a ‘public figure representing domestic abuse’, without naming him.
Heard is countersuing for $100million. Up until now she has watched on as the actor has made multiple allegations about her alleged behavior during their tumultuous relationship.
If the petition, which is already rapidly rising, reaches 4,500,000 signatures it will become one of the top signed on Charge.org.
The A-list trial in Virginia, which started on April 11 and is set to last another three weeks, has so far heard Depp, 58, claim he was the victim of domestic abuse during his four days of testimony as well claims of bizarre behavior with shocking allegations levied by both sides.
Numerous witnesses, including a host of professionals and hangers-on who surround the stars – such as Depp’s agent, business manager, driver, and bodyguard – have given evidence in the case, as well as police officers and a clinical psychologist who was hired to conduct a mental evaluation on Heard.
Testimony so far has also included photos of severed fingers, pictures of feces, videos of explosive arguments and temper tantrums, and even a discussion about the Hollywood star’s penis. Depp also accused his ex of defecating on their bed in an act of aggression.
During the last court proceeding on Thursday, Depp’s bodyguard described in detail the wounds on the actor’s face allegedly sustained during a confrontation with Heard.
Heard’s credibility as a philanthropist also took a battering when witness testimony revealed that she had not donated $3.5million of her divorce settlement to civil rights organization ACLU – something she publicly promised she would do.
She had apparently donated only $1.3million — and much of that appeared to have come from her ex-boyfriend, billionaire Elon Musk.
According to Terence Dougherty, the chief operating officer of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), the recipient of Amber’s ‘largesse’, $500,000 came from a Vanguard fund connected to Musk.
Her contributions dried up by 2019, and Dougherty told the court the ACLU ‘learned that she was having financial difficulties’.