Johnny Depp Explains Drug History in Amber Heard’s Trial Testimony

  • Johnny Depp said his drug and alcohol use has always been under control.
  • He testified that he started using drugs when he was 11 years old and that his mother asked him for “nerve pills”.
  • Amber Heard alleged that he assaulted her in fits of rage after using drugs or alcohol.

Johnny Depp described his history of drug and alcohol use on Tuesday as he testified for his defamation lawsuit against his ex-wife Amber Heard, describing him as “self-medicating” after a difficult childhood, or seeking to “s ‘numb’ in the midst of emotional turmoil.

“I’m not a freak who needs to be stoned or loaded all the time,” Depp said.

The extent of Depp’s substance use has become central to his case. Depp sued Heard in 2019, alleging she defamed him by portraying herself as a victim of domestic violence in a Washington Post op-ed. Heard denied the allegations and filed a countersuit alleging he assaulted her numerous times, often in fits of rage after using drugs or alcohol.

“The characterization of my quote-unquote ‘drug addiction’ as described by Ms. Heard is grossly embellished and much of it is just plain wrong,” Depp said Tuesday. “I think I was an easy target because once you’ve trusted someone for a number of years and told them all the secrets in your life, that information can be used. against you.”

Depp’s first case of drug use, he said, was when he was 11 years old. His mother, he testified earlier in the day, often physically and verbally abused him, his siblings and his father. Sometimes she would ask him to bring her bottle of “nerve pills” to calm down, he said.

Depp, troubled by his chaotic household, also wanted to calm down, he testified. So he started taking the pills himself “to escape the chaotic nature of what we were going through,” he said.

Soon after, Depp started smoking marijuana, he said, and was “not shy” to try other substances that might “take over,” he said. Depp said one of the driving messages of his hit 1980s show “21 Jump Street” – about undercover cops investigating crimes, including drug use, in high school – was that drugs cannot not resolve emotional issues.

“One day you will have to face these feelings,” he said.

Despite his early drug use, Depp said he kept it under control throughout his life. He spent years free of drugs and alcohol, he claimed, and never used them to “party”.

“It was basically self-medication,” he said. “The place you want to escape from is your own brain, your own head.”

Depp spoke about his friendship with writer Hunter S. Thompson, who is famous for his heavy drug use. Depp had roles in two movies based on Thompson’s books, 1998’s “Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas” and 2011’s “The Rum Diary,” the latter of which he produced and co-starred alongside Heard. Depp said the widespread belief that he was stoned throughout filming “Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas,” where his character was high on psychedelic drugs, was untrue.

Earlier in the trial, a doctor and nurse Depp hired to help treat him for an opioid addiction testified about their experiences with the actor. Depp said he became addicted to Roxicodone, also known as Oxycodone, after a doctor prescribed it due to a leg injury.

Depp said he recognized he had become addicted to the drug and only took it to avoid withdrawals. At that point, he says, he asked for help.

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