Content warning: This article includes an alleged account of sexual assault, which some may find distressing.
Amber Heard's lawyers have made new allegations against Johnny Depp, claiming that the actor "sexually assaulted" his ex-wife as well as physically abused her.
The defamation trial - in which jurors will decide whether Heard was being truthful when she claimed to have been a victim of domestic assault in a 2018 op-ed for the Washington Post - kicked off on Tuesday with explosive opening statements from both actors' legal teams, who appeared at Fairfax County Courthouse in Virginia.
Depp, 58, is suing his ex-wife for $50 million in damages, claiming that her allegations led to him being dropped from big-budget projects including The Pirates of the Caribbean franchise and the Harry Potter prequel series Fantastic Beasts.[[imagecaption|| Credit: Pictorial Press Ltd / Alamy]]
Heard, 35, countersued, asking for $100 million.
Lawyers described shocking details from their marriage, with both touching upon an apparently brutal altercation that took place while the couple was on a trip to Australia.
Per Rolling Stone, Heard's team raised the sexual assault allegations during their opening statement. The Aquaman actor's head attorney, Ben Rottenborn, described their Australian stay as "a three-day blackout in which he abused and sexually assaulted Amber."
"You will hear in the most graphic and horrifying terms about the [sexual] violence that she suffered. You’ll hear that straight from her," he added.
Another of Heard's lawyers, Elaine Bredehoft, gave a detailed account of what allegedly happened in Australia.
In the Twitter video below, Bredehoft recounts how Depp allegedly "penetrated" Heard "with a liquor bottle":
Bredehoft told the court:
"As you go through those three days of Australia, some pretty horrendous things happened to her. He rips off her nightgown. He has her jammed up against the bar.
"He has hurled bottles and bottles at her. He has dragged her across the floor on the broken bottles. He has punched her. He has kicked her.
"He has told her he's going to f****** kill her and he f****** hates her. He's pounding at her, pounding at her. And then, he penetrates her with a liquor bottle."
A spokesperson for Depp's legal team has since dismissed the sexual assault allegations as "fictitious".
In a statement to People they said: "These fictitious claims were never made at the onset of Amber’s allegations in 2016, and only advantageously surfaced years later once she was sued for defamation after noting in her op-ed that she was a victim of ‘sexual violence.'"
"Words are key in a defamation case and conveniently, this allegation only came after that. This follows a pattern of her elaborate, erroneous claims which have continued to change and evolve over time for the purpose of Hollywood shock value of which Amber has mastered and used to exploit a serious social movement," they added.
If you or anyone you know has suffered sexual assault, you can contact the National Sexual Assault Hotline at 1-800-656-HOPE.