There were no signs of any marks, scratches, swelling or bruises on Amber Heard’s face in the days immediately after she alleged she was hit by Johnny Depp, one of Depp’s closest friends has claimed.
Isaac Baruch, an artist who has known the Hollywood star for nearly 40 years and stayed as Depp’s guest in the same Los Angeles penthouse complex, told the UK high court on Friday he had not seen any evidence of injury to Heard in May 2016 after the couple’s final breakup.
Depp, 57, is suing the Sun’s publisher, News Group Newspapers (NGN), and its executive editor, Dan Wootton, over an article that called him a “wife beater” and referred to “overwhelming evidence” that he had attacked Heard.
Depp denies ever hitting Heard, 34, who has submitted details of 14 occasions during their relationship when she claims he assaulted her.
On 21 May 2016, Depp returned to the home he shared with Heard to pick up personal possessions when a confrontation erupted. Depp is alleged by Heard to have struck her; he denies the accusation.
Sasha Wass QC, representing NGN, read out a text sent to Heard by her friend Amanda de Cadenet shortly after the alleged incident in which she said: “Sleeping sounds like the best thing right now. Put some arnica on your face. Make sure you have photos of the injuries and text them to me … I have been where you are.”
Wass also showed the court an image of Heard taken, she said, on 21 May in which the Hollywood star’s face appeared to be reddened and discoloured.
But cross-examined by Wass, Baruch, who lived in a penthouse apartment next to the couple, said he saw Heard several times in the days after 21 May and each time had a clear view of her face. He never noticed any injuries.
Baruch said in his statement that he met Heard on 22 May and she “told me that he [Depp] hit her in the face and threw a phone at her. I then asked her where he had hit her and she stretched her neck and pushed out the right side of her head for me to look at her right eye.
“I literally was around 12 inches from her, inspecting her face and I did not see a single mark or evidence of any marks, bruising, or swelling of any kind anywhere on her face. She also definitely didn’t seem to be wearing any makeup at this time of day that could cover any marks or swelling.”
The following day, Baruch saw her again. “Ms Heard knocked on my door somewhere between late morning and early afternoon… Again, I saw no marks of any kind on either side of her face. There were no bruises, scratches, redness, dark spots, or swelling of any kind.”
He saw her again on subsequent days and noticed no marks. He was therefore astonished when he saw a news report early in June with pictures of “Ms Heard with a facial bruise and filing for a domestic violence restraining order”.
Depp had previously explained, Baruch said, that Heard used to hit him but Depp had insisted: “I’m not gonna hit her, I love her.”
Baruch told the court, via videolink from LA, that he had seen the businessman Elon Musk in the penthouse complex several times after Depp and Heard broke up on 21 May 2016.
Baruch described Depp as an “ubermensch, he’s generous to everybody. He’s true and honest. He’s a good guy. He does the right thing.”
Asked by David Sherborne, counsel to Depp, what he felt about Heard, he replied: “She filed a fraudulent domestic violence claim to push her hand in the divorce.”
The hearing continues.