Following news that Amber Heard and Johnny Depp were filing for divorce last month, citing 'irreconcilable differences', it came to light that Heard had been granted a temporary domestic violence restraining order against her estranged husband.
In a statement read to Los Angeles court, Heard, 30, said that Depp, 52, had “violently attacked her” and been violent and verbally abusive towards her on several occasions.
Depp’s reps told media sources that he would “not respond to any of the salacious false stories, gossip, misinformation and lies about his personal life.”
Now, Heard’s close friend, iO Tillet Wright, has written a letter in Refinery 29, detailing her experience of the pair’s relationship, and the moment she finally decided to call the police, saying: "I called 911 because she never would."
The photographer and gender activist explains how much Depp meant to her, describing him as like a brother to her.
“I knew him to be soft and gentle, with a temper and a dark side, but a golden heart,” she writes.
But Wright goes on to say that, despite not wanting to believe Depp was capable of such horrors, what she witnessed led her to take action.
“The reports of violence started with a kick on a private plane, then it was shoves and the occasional punch, until finally, in December, she [Heard] described an all-out assault and she woke up with her pillow covered in blood.
“I saw the pillow with my own eyes. I saw the busted lip and the clumps of hair on the floor. I got the phone call immediately after it happened, her screaming and crying, a stoic woman reduced to sobs.”
Wright describes the mental torment Heard put herself through following the abuse, questioning what she could have done to encourage or provoke such behaviour, and how - every time the abuse happened - Depp would apologise profusely for his behaviour, and promise it would never happen again.
“I sat and listened, my own heart aching because I had so much care for the tender, generous man inside of all this rage," writes Wright. "And yet...the bottom, unequivocal line is, nothing she ever could have said or done deserves what she describes as him dragging her up the stairs by the hair, punching her in the back of the head, choking her until she almost passed out, and smashing his forehead into her nose until it almost broke.”
Wright describes her struggle to eventually call the police on Depp, how she was concerned about the media getting hold of the information, and of getting a close friend into trouble, until she came to a realisation:
“As long as I was protecting the abuser from consequences, I was enabling the abuse and I could no longer partake.”
Wright describes her disdain for how the media has approached the accusations, with talk of Heard having faked it for attention or to get a better divorce settlement, and the victim-blaming language that has been circulating in the press. You can read the full letter here.
The letter comes alongside comments from Heard’s ex-girlfriend, Tasya van Ree, who has also spoken out in defence of the actress.
Earlier this week, news came to light that Heard was arrested for domestic violence after she allegedly hit Ree during an altercation at Seattle airport.
But Ree has dismissed the claims, saying that “Amber was wrongfully accused for an incident that was misinterpreted and over-sensationalised,” reports E! News.
“I recount hints of misogynistic attitudes toward us which alter appeared to be homophobic when they found out we were domestic partners and not just ‘friends.' Charges were quickly dropped and she was released moments later,” says Ree.
The statement continues: “It's disheartening that Amber's integrity and story are being questioned yet again. Amber is a brilliant, honest and beautiful woman and I have the utmost respect for her.”
Images: Rex Features