Ellen Barkin doesn't think speaking out against Johnny Depp was an ‘act of bravery’

Actress Ellen Barkin. Picture: REUTERS/Carlo Allegri

Actress Ellen Barkin. Picture: REUTERS/Carlo Allegri

Published Feb 23, 2023


Ellen Barkin didn't think testifying against former partner Johnny Depp in his defamation trial was an “act of bravery”.

The 68-year-old actress gave a deposition in the legal proceedings between the “Pirates of the Caribbean” star and his ex-wife Amber Heard. The “Aquaman” actress was ordered to pay her ex-husband $10.35 million in compensatory and punitive damages last June after a jury in Virginia ruled that she had defamed him when she wrote an article in 2018 about being a victim of domestic abuse. Heard was awarded $2m in compensatory damages. She had testified that the 59-year-old actor had been “controlling”, “jealous”, and “demanding” during their relationship in the early 1990s.

Barkin, who testified that she'd seen Depp be “verbally abusive” towards his staff, insisted that speaking out was nothing to celebrate as she was just doing what she felt she should.

Watch video:

She told the “Huffington Post”: “I’ve never met Amber Heard in my life, but I know what I know about Johnny Depp.

“He never touched me, but I saw violence. I saw him strangle an AD (assistant director). He did throw a wine bottle.

“But I didn’t feel at the time that (testifying) was an act of bravery. I felt it’s just what you do.”

The “Animal Kingdom” actress recalled asking why she had been subpoenaed and was proud when she was told that every lawyer in the room felt she wouldn't lie.

She said: “That was the nicest thing anyone ever said. I felt more proud of myself then. And I was like, ‘That’s the truth. I won’t lie.’ "

Barkin said she would always stand up for people who needed it

She said: “I guess I just feel like I’m a human being, and I am obliged to stand up for my fellow man when they need help.

“It sounds corny as shit, but the older I get, the more I just say, ‘This cannot stand with my mouth closed.’ ”

Pre-trial documents unsealed after the trial included Barkin's 2019 deposition, in which she claimed Depp gave her a Quaalude (a hypnotic sedative) the first time they had sex.

The “Big Easy” star told Heard's lawyers that Depp drank too much wine and once threw a bottle at her in a hotel room.

Barkin said the “Black Mass” star was “a yeller” and “verbally abusive”, however, she insisted he was never physically abusive towards her because his staff would take the brunt of his “violence”. She said he used to call his assistant “pig”.

She said: “His assistant. People who would work on the film, maybe in what he would view as a lower capacity than he functions at. There is just a world of violence.”

Speaking of his drinking habit, she said: “He was drunk all the, most, a lot of the time.

“He was always drinking – or smoking a joint.”