Unsealed Documents Shed New Light on Johnny Depp's Severed Finger

Johnny Depp's defamation trial against ex-wife Amber Heard has received renewed attention following the unsealing of more than 6,000 pages of court documents from the former couple's legal battle.

Depp, 59, had filed a $50 million lawsuit against Heard, 36, in response to a 2018 op-ed that she wrote for The Washington Post, in which she said that she was a domestic abuse survivor.

Following a high-profile trial in Fairfax, Virginia, the jury in June found that Heard had, indeed, defamed Depp and awarded him over $10 million. Depp was ordered to pay $2 million to Heard—who had countersued for $100 million—for defaming her via comments made by his attorney Adam Waldman.

With both sides appealing the verdicts against them, unsealed court documents have shed new light on one of the trial's more memorable talking points: Depp's finger, which he alleged was severed during a fight with Heard.

Johnny Depp v. Amber Heard documents unsealed
Thousands of pages of documents from Johnny Depp and Amber Heard's recent defamation trial have been unsealed, shedding new light on Depp's severed finger incident. Depp is pictured above (main) during the trial in Fairfax, Virginia on April 25, 2022. Amber Heard is pictured above (inset) during the trial on May 26, 2022. STEVE HELBER/POOL/AFP via Getty Images;/MICHAEL REYNOLDS/POOL/AFP via Getty Images

Depp testified in April that Heard threw a large bottle of vodka at him during a fight at a house they were staying at in Australia in 2015, causing the tip of his finger to be cut off. At the time, Depp was shooting the fifth installment of the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise.

In the unsealed documents, a transcript of a deposition from Jennifer Howell—a former friend and boss of Heard's sister Whitney Henriquez—shows the Art of Elysium founder sharing her recollection of the alleged incident.

Speaking with Depp's attorney Camille Vasquez, Howell said: "I was sitting exactly where I'm sitting right now because I'm sitting at my desk in the office. So I was sitting right here on my computer, working, in my zone, responding, doing whatever I was doing. And right over there, there were two black-and-white chairs at the time with a table in between it. Whitney was sitting in one of the black-and-white chairs.

"There's a door that goes out right over there as well, and she just screamed, 'She's done it now. She's cut off his God damn finger,' and made this huge proclamation. And I pushed my chair back. I was like, 'What?'

"And she goes, 'She cut off his finger. She cut off his finger.' And then she bolted out the door and was like, 'I got to call somebody. I got to call somebody.' And she went out the door and she called someone. I don't know who she called. That's what was said."

When asked if Henriquez had specified who the "she" and "he" were in the scenario, Howell responded: "It was Amber and Johnny, and she apparently had thrown a bottle and cut off his finger, is what she reported when she came back in from whoever she talked to outside."

Johnny Depp and Amber Heard before divorce
Johnny Depp and Amber Heard wed in 2015 and split the following year. Their divorce was finalized in January 2017. Above, the former couple is pictured together on April 24, 2014, in New York City. Walter McBride/WireImage

Elsewhere, an unsealed motion showed that Depp's team had opposed a mental examination of the Edward Scissorhands star ahead of the trial, "Because Mr. Depp Is Not Alleging Harm Based On A Specific Physical or Mental Injury."

Depp's team further stated: "Mr. Depp does not allege a specific cause of action for intentional or negligent infliction of emotional distress; does not assert that Ms. Heard's actions caused him a specific psychiatric injury; and does not claim that Ms. Heard's actions caused him to experience unusually severe emotional distress."

During the trial, Depp testified that he "lied" to a medical professional about what had happened to his finger, adding: "I said that I had smashed it in these large accordion doors."

"I didn't want to get [Heard] in trouble. I tried to just keep things as copacetic and as easy as possible for everyone," he said in the Virginia courtroom. "I did not want to put her name in that mix."

Via their respective testimonies, Depp and Heard, whose divorce was finalized in January 2017, accused one another of violence during their ill-fated relationship—allegations they both vehemently denied.

Depp previously lost a 2020 libel case against British tabloid The Sun, which had labeled the actor a "wife-beater" in reference to Heard's allegations.

Heard accused Depp of domestic abuse during their divorce proceedings in 2016. The stars, who wed in 2015, had their union officially dissolved in January 2017, months after Heard filed for divorce.

While Depp had repeatedly denied ever having been violent to Heard during the three-week trial in London, the overseeing judge found that the U.K. publication's claims that the actor was abusive to Heard were "substantially true."

Depp was "asked to resign" from Fantastic Beasts 3 following the 2020 verdict. He was subsequently replaced in his role as Gellert Grindelwald by Mads Mikkelsen.

Newsweek reached out to Depp and Heard's representatives for comment.