Photos of Johnny Depp with a swollen black eye were shown during his libel trial Thursday, as a former security guard detailed a “recurring cycle” of abuse he said was inflicted by the star’s ex-wife, Amber Heard.
The 57-year-old “What’s Eating Gilbert Grape” star was shown with a puffy left eye, with a large red mark high on the cheek where Depp says he was punched by “sociopathic” Heard.
The photo soon proved controversial, however, amid confusion over when it was actually taken.
It had been submitted by Depp’s former security guard, Sean Bett, who said he took it as he whisked the star away from a brutal fight after Heard’s 30th birthday party in April 2016.
Bett conceded in court, however, that the timestamp was from more than a year earlier — March 2015 — and may not even have been taken by him.
Lawyers for The Sun — the newspaper Depp is suing over an article calling him a “wife beater” — jumped on the disparity, accusing Bett of trying to mislead the court to back up his claims that Depp was the injured party.
He admitted it was “quite a serious error” but insisted the photo looked just like the one he had taken of Depp’s wounds following the 30th birthday blowout, which ended with poop in Depp’s bed.
“I have taken other photographs of injuries which I have sent to the attorneys,” Bett said.
While he often saw injuries on Depp, Bett says he “never saw any cuts, bruises or other injuries on Ms. Heard,” and she never asked for help or reported violence by her actor husband.
“Throughout the course of Mr. Depp and Ms. Heard’s relationship, Ms. Heard was verbally and physically abusive towards Mr. Depp,” Bett said in a witness statement as he also took the stand Thursday.
“On many occasions, I witnessed her shout at Mr. Depp. I was also told by Mr. Depp on multiple occasions that Ms. Heard had physically abused him.
“A very common occurrence throughout the relationship would be that Mr. Depp would have me, and other members of his security team, take him away from Ms. Heard, due to her behavior. He would then stay somewhere else.
“This happened on so many occasions that it is not possible for me to remember them all in detail.
“However, I would describe it as a recurring cycle that Ms. Heard would abuse Mr. Depp, who would then remove himself from the situation.”
He accused the 34-year-old “Justice League” actress of turning violent “when she had been drinking.”
“I learned quickly to recognize the signs, so that we were able to leave the situation before it escalated further,” he stated.
He recalled a fight in May 2016 — one where Depp is accused of throwing a phone at his wife and trashing their L.A. apartment — where they waited outside the apartment as Depp went to collect some of his belongings.
The expected an “argument” from Heard because of her “pattern,” Bett said — soon racing inside when they heard shouting.
“As soon as Ms. Heard noticed that we had entered the room, she looked very surprised; her demeanor then changed,” he said of Heard.
“She pointed at Mr. Depp and screamed to us words to the effect of ‘If he hits me one more time, I am calling the police’.”
However, Bett insisted she “had no red marks or evidence of any bruises or abrasions to her face or body.”
“I could see Mr. Depp was visibly upset at having been accused of hitting Ms. Heard. However, he never came closer than 20 feet to her during the time I was able to observe them.
“I did not notice any smashed glass or broken bottles in the apartment at the time,” he said.
They then took the “Edward Scissorhands” star away from the apartment “due to the fact that the situation had escalated and Ms. Heard was hysterically shouting at Mr. Depp and making allegations about his behavior.”
With Post wires
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