Amber Heard, who lost a defamation suit brought by her ex-husband Johnny Depp after six excruciating weeks of a trial that was livestreamed, said she had "never felt more removed from [her] humanity" while experiencing the frantic backlash from the public against her.
"This was the most humiliating and horrible thing I've ever been through," Heard said in an interview with Savannah Guthrie on the Today show, part of which was aired Tuesday. "I felt less than human."
Heard said the experience was "surreal and difficult," but she stood by her testimony and allegations against Depp.
Heard was sued for defamation by Depp for writing an op-ed — in which Depp was not named — about being a victim of domestic abuse. During the trial, Heard testified about her and Depp's abusive relationship, and said that Depp hit her and sexually assaulted her. Depp, on the other hand, maintained that he had "never struck" a woman, and claimed his texts about burning Heard and "fuck[ing] her burnt corpse" were an attempt at "abstract humor."
A jury determined that Heard libeled Depp by writing the op-ed and awarded him $10.35 million. Heard was also awarded $2 million after the jury found that she was defamed when Depp's lawyer called her allegations a hoax.
But the trial was notable also because of the mountain of public vitriol directed at Heard. Her wrenching testimony was mocked relentlessly on social media, where there was overwhelming support for Depp, and content creators seized on the trial to boost views on their channels. Outside the courthouse, crowds of Depp's fans showed up every day to greet him and harass Heard, calling her a "liar and "gold digger."
"Even somebody who is sure I’m deserving of all this hate and vitriol, even if you think that I’m lying, you still couldn’t tell me — look me in the eye and tell me — that you think on social media there’s been a fair representation," Heard told Guthrie. "You cannot tell me that you think that this has been fair."
Heard's lawyers and her supporters have questioned why a trial with such high-profile figures was livestreamed in the first place. Heard herself said that "the vast majority of this trial was played out on social media," and suggested that it influenced the jury.
"How could they not?" she said. "I think even the most well-intentioned juror — it would have been impossible to avoid this."
Depp's lawyers have denied that the jury was influenced by social media's portrayal of the trial.
In the interview, Guthrie — who previously disclosed that her husband consulted for Depp's lawyers — grilled Heard about audio recordings in which Heard says she "started physical fights." Heard repeatedly maintained that she was telling the truth about her relationship, and that their "abusive dynamic" was not black and white.
"Twenty-second clips, or the transcripts of them, are not representative of even the two hours or three hours that those clips are excerpted from," she said. "As I testified to, I was talking in those recordings as a person in extreme amount of emotional, psychological, and physical distress."
Heard said she could not blame anyone thinking that the trial was about "Hollywood brats at their worst," but emphasized that it was also a First Amendment issue.
"It's not just the freedom to speak. It's the freedom to speak truth to power," she said. "And that's all I spoke. And I spoke it to power, and I paid the price."