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Amber Heard says she felt 'less than human' during trial, but stands by 'every word' of her testimony

In her first sit-down interview since the verdict in her high-profile defamation trial, Heard told NBC’s "TODAY" show: "I made a lot of mistakes, but I’ve always told the truth."
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Amber Heard said her high-profile defamation trial was the "most humiliating thing I've ever been through," but even in the face of backlash that made her feel "less than human," she defends "every word" of her testimony.

The actor sat down with Savannah Guthrie for her first interview since a Virginia jury found Heard had defamed her ex-husband Johnny Depp in saying that he had abused her over the course of their relationship.

When asked if she stands by her accusations in court against Depp, Heard said: "To my dying day, I'll stand by every word of my testimony."

She spoke with Guthrie one week after the verdict was announced — a conclusion that has been hard to sink in, according to her.

“How could it? It’s surreal and difficult. In part, yes. This has been a long time coming,” Heard said.

The six-week trial saw the public delve into the actors' turbulent marriage and a torrent of posts on Twitter and TikTok in favor of Depp.

“I think vast majority of this trial was played out on social media. I think that this trial is an example of that gone haywire, gone amok. And the jury’s not immune to that,” Heard said.

She added that she believes the jury saw some of the social media posts.

"How could they not? I think even the most well-intentioned juror, it would’ve been impossible to avoid this," Heard said.

She revealed that even as she arrived at the courthouse during the trial, she was confronted by a barrage of Depp fans.

“Every single day I passed from three, four, sometimes six blocks — city blocks lined with people holding signs saying, “Burn the witch,” “Death to Amber.” After three and a half weeks, I took the stand and saw a courtroom packed full of Captain Jack Sparrow fans who were vocal, energized,” she said.

"This was the most humiliating and horrible thing I’ve ever been through. I have never felt more removed from my own humanity. I, I felt less than human," she added.

In a preview of Heard's interview that aired Monday, she said she doesn't "blame" the jury for its decision, citing Depp's fame and influence.

“I don’t blame them. I actually understand. He’s a beloved character and people feel they know him. He’s a fantastic actor,” she said.

Heard doubled down on her allegations in court, saying she spoke the truth. 

“That’s all I spoke. And I spoke it to power, and I paid the price,” she said.

Guthrie asked her about claims from Depp's attorneys that she was the abuser who instigated physical violence in their relationship. 

“I never had to instigate it. I responded to it. When you’re living in violence and it becomes normal, as I testified to, you have to adapt."

Guthrie pointed out that Depp said he never hit Heard, then asked: "Is that a lie?”

“Yes it is,” she said.

Heard admitted that walking away from her relationship with Depp, "I have so much regret."

"I did do and say horrible, regrettable things throughout my relationship. I behaved in horrible — almost unrecognizable to myself ways," she said.

"I freely and openly and voluntarily talked about what I did. I talked about the horrible language. I talked about being pushed to the extent where I didn’t even know the difference between right and wrong," Heard continued.

She added: "I will always continue to feel like I was a part of this, like I was the other half of this relationship because I was. And it was ugly and could be very beautiful. It was very, very toxic. We were awful to each other. I made a lot of mistakes, a lot of mistakes, but I’ve always told the truth."

Depp, who was not in court for the verdict due to a previously scheduled work commitment, sued for $50 million in damages over a 2018 op-ed essay by Heard in The Washington Post, in which she said she had become a “public figure representing domestic abuse.”

Although the essay never mentioned Depp by name, his attorneys said it indirectly referred to allegations she made against him during their 2016 divorce.

Heard countersued Depp for $100 million, a claim centered around three statements made by his former attorney Adam Waldman in 2020 to the Daily Mail, in which he described her allegations of abuse as a “hoax.”

On June 1, the jury found Heard defamed Depp, awarding him $15 million in damages. The sum of $5 million in punitive damages was reduced to $350,000, which is the state’s statutory cap or legal limit, making his total damages $10.4 million. 

The jury also awarded Heard $2 million in compensatory damages in her counterclaim but nothing in punitive damages.

Heard’s attorney, Elaine Bredehoft, previously told “TODAY” that Heard intends to appeal and can’t pay the $10.4 million judgment in the case.

More of the exclusive interview will air Wednesday on “TODAY” and in a special “Dateline” on Friday at 8 p.m. ET. Viewers can stream part of the special Thursday on Peacock.