Amber Heard said she fears she could face further lawsuits from her former husband Johnny Depp if she continues to speak out about their relationship following their high-profile defamation trial.
Speaking with Savannah Guthrie in her first interview since a Virginia jury found she had defamed Depp in saying he abused her over the course of their relationship, Heard said she felt "scared" to speak out.
Asked if she felt "nervous" about what she can say following the trial's outcome, she said: "Of course. I took for granted what I assumed was my right to speak."
"I’m scared that no matter what I do, no matter what I say, or how I say it — every step that I take will present another opportunity for this sort of — silencing, which is what, I guess, a defamation lawsuit is meant to do," she said, after being asked whether she feared she could be sued by Depp again.
"It’s meant to — meant to take your voice," she said.
'Teams of lawyers' reviewed op-ed drafts
Heard maintained that the 2018 op-ed at the center of the lawsuit had not been specifically about Depp, despite the trial's outcome.
In the essay, published by The Washington Post, Heard said she had become a “public figure representing domestic abuse.” She never mentioned Depp by name, but his attorneys said the piece had indirectly referred to allegations she made against him during their divorce in 2016.
"The op-ed wasn't about my relationship with Johnny," Heard told Guthrie. "What the op-ed was about was ... me loaning my voice to a bigger cultural conversation that we were having at the time," she said, noting the op-ed was published at the height of the #MeToo movement.
"I obviously knew it was important for me not to make it about him," she said. "Or to do anything like defame him."
She said she had "teams of lawyers" review all the drafts of the op-ed.
Heard further said that she had not hoped for Depp to be "canceled" after the piece was published.
"When you wrote this op-ed, it was the height of #MeToo. Legions of powerful men being canceled, losing their jobs. Did you want that to happen to Johnny Depp?" Guthrie asked.
"Of course not. Of course not. It wasn’t about him," she said.
'I have no bad feelings or ill will'
Reminded of how she said she still had "love for Johnny" during her explosive defamation trial, Heard said that sentiment had not changed.
Asked whether that statement was still true, she said: "Yes."
"Absolutely. Absolutely. I love him. I loved him with all my heart," she said. "And I tried the best I could to make a deeply broken relationship work. And I couldn’t."
"I have no bad feelings or ill will toward him at all. I know that might be hard to understand or it might be really easy to understand. If you’ve just ever loved anyone, it should be easy," she said.
'I'm not a perfect victim'
Still, during the interview, Heard said she felt she had been left humiliated by her ex-husband and the defamation trial.
"There’s a text message where Johnny promises total global humiliation for you. Do you feel like that came true?" Guthrie asked.
"I know he promised it. I testified to this," Heard responded, after taking multiple deep breaths. "I’m not — a good victim. I get it. I’m not a likable victim. I’m not a perfect victim."
"But I — when I testified, I asked the jury to just see me as human and to hear his own words, which is a promise to do this," she said. "It feels as though he has."
Depp, who was not in court for the verdict, sued Heard for $50 million in damages over her essay in the Post.
Heard countersued Depp for $100 million in a claim focusing on statements made by his former attorney Adam Waldman in 2020 to the Daily Mail, branding her allegations of abuse a "hoax."
A jury found on June 1 that Heard defamed Depp, awarding him $15 million in damages. The sum of $5 million in punitive damages was brought down to $350,000, the state’s statutory cap or legal limit, making his total damages $10.4 million.
Heard was also awarded $2 million in compensatory damages in her counterclaim, but nothing in punitive damages. Her attorney, Elaine Bredehoft, previously told “TODAY” that her client intended to appeal and can’t pay the $10.4 million judgment in the case.
Asked about how she sees her future now, in the wake of the defamation trial, Heard said: "I get to be a mom, like, full-time, you know where I'm not having to juggle calls with lawyers."
She said that if she talks to her daughter about her experience through the trial one day, she would tell her: “I think no matter what, it will mean something.”
"I did the right thing. I did everything I could to stand up for myself and the truth," she said.