Johnny Depp Testifies That His Life “Went Weird” After Being Cast In An Iconic Role

By Nathan Kamal | 3 weeks ago

Johnny Depp

Johnny Depp testified in court today during the highly contentious, highly publicized defamation trial between him and estranged former spouse Amber Heard. The last several days have brought a number of shocking admissions and examinations, and given that the trial is expected to last some six weeks, there will likely be much more. The 58-year-old actor spoke for some time while being questioned by his legal team, and testified at length to his childhood experiences with abuse, his periodic substance abuse, and his relationship with Heard. In particular, Johnny Depp noted that his life “all turned around, it went weird” after the enormous commercial success of his Pirates of the Caribbean franchise in the early 2000s. 

The Edward Scissorhands actor continued much of the narrative of their childhood given by his elder sister Christi Dembrowski in previous testimony. According to both Johnny Depp and Dembrowski, their mother Betty Sue Palmer was “high strung, nervous,” and “angry” and would frequently physically abuse them. Depp also specifically noted that she took “nerve pills” that he himself began to use at age 11. There have been many contradictory allegations of Depp’s alcohol and drug use; the actor did not contradict some of it, but stated his use of substances was a form of self-medication and a reaction to “dull” the trauma and pain he experienced. He also stated that he had had long periods of sobriety in his life. Johnny Depp was very specific about a period of addiction to Oxycodone, a prescription opioid, after he suffered an injury in filming the 2011 movie Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides. He stated that he has vowed never to use it again, regardless of injury. 

Much of Johnny Depp’s testimony either focused on his early childhood traumatic experiences or the unexpected effect the massive increase in his fame had with the success of the first Pirates of the Caribbean movie. He claimed that he had taken his now-signature role of Captain Jack Sparrow as “some Pepé Le Pew, some Keith Richards” but that it had resulted in a situation of “Anonymity has left the building …that’s an odd thing to deal with.” The overall gist of that portion of his testimony was that his breakthrough as an A-list movie star had resulted in a displacement of normalcy in his life. 

As his testimony went on, Johnny Depp also seemed to seek to put attention on his family and claimed that he was trying to restore his reputation (the damage to which is the crux of his defamation suit against Amber Heard) in part for the sake of his children. His speech was also notable for its rambling, frequently free-associative tone, seemingly taking notes from his longtime personal friend Hunter S. Thompson (who he portrayed in several movies including the cult Terry Gilliam film Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas). Amber Heard is also expected to testify at some point during the trial, and was present in the courtroom for Depp’s today. We will continue to update as events warrant.