Amber Heard addressed the ramifications of her domestic violence allegations against ex-husband Johnny Depp, as well as why years ago she opened up about her bisexuality, in a discussion at the Create & Cultivate conference in New York on Saturday.
The “Aquaman” actress spoke with moderator Mandana Dayani, founder of the nonpartisan group “I Am A Voter,” about being a survivor and dealing with ongoing harassment and death threats.
“I’m somebody who has obviously suffered the full force of the wrath of our culture when a woman or a survivor speaks up against a more powerful force,” the 33-year-old Heard said.
“I’ve seen that firsthand ― from death threats to harassment to bullying to invasions of my privacy, to threats to my career, to my livelihood, my safety, and yet I’m still here. I’m here because I refuse to accept those be the terms of my silence,” she said.
“I refuse to accept those be the terms that other people who are in positions that seek to maintain the status quo have set for me,” she added. “I refuse to stand in line. It can work and it will work as long as you stand up for what’s right and speak your truth. If you’re quiet, you’ll be ignored.”
During Depp and Heard’s divorce proceedings in 2016, the actress said in a sworn declaration that the “Pirates of the Caribbean” actor had been physically and verbally abusive “during the entirety of our relationship.”
She recently submitted a graphic new court filing to a court in Fairfax, Virginia, detailing allegations of abuse by Depp, whom she sometimes called “the Monster,” in an attempt to dismiss a $50 million defamation lawsuit he filed against her earlier this year.
In the filings, obtained by Page Six, Heard alleged that during a 2015 trip the couple took to Thailand, Depp punched and choked her and that she feared he would kill her. She alleged that in another incident later that year Depp “pulled large chunks of hair and scalp out of my head” before head-butting her.
Depp has repeatedly denied all the abuse allegations.
Heard told her audience in Brooklyn Saturday that speaking up for what was “right,” is one of the things she’s proudest of.
“I’m proud of my movies, I’m proud of the things I’ve done. But it is nothing in comparison to the pride I feel for the things I have stood up for because they were right. And not only did I do it because they were right and because they were true, I did it despite what it cost me,” she said.
The actress also spoke about “falling madly in love with a beautiful woman” ― photographer Tasya van Ree ― in 2008 and why she decided to speak out at the time about being bisexual.
Heard said that “not one person said that this was going to be okay” to talk about her sexuality.
“I never came out. I was never in. But like any actor, people started paying more and more attention to me and taking pictures of my personal life or unplanned events and people started to care as I started to work more in this industry,” Heard said.
“And at this same time, again great with timing, [I was] falling madly in love with a beautiful woman with whom I am very close with to this day and have a tremendous amount of respect and love for,” she added. “But I see that this is increasingly problematic as people in my life are telling me you’re a romantic lead, you can’t do this.”
Heard said people around her told her just to say that she wouldn’t talk about her private life, instead of addressing that she had a girlfriend.
“They listed a lot of reasons and said ‘No one else has done it; if you’re so sure and you won’t lose your career name one actress who is working that [has gone through the same thing].’ And I couldn’t think of anyone,” she said.
Heard said she decided to speak out about her sexuality to help someone like her younger self. She said that someone at a female-focused media outlet eventually asked if it was true she had a girlfriend and the actress answered truthfully.
“I said yeah, actually, it is!” Heard exclaimed. Her questioner, she said, continued, ”‘To be clear we’re asking you if it’s your girlfriend ― like you live together, but not as friends,’ and she was like shaking. And I was like ‘yeah, mhm, she’s right there!’”
Heard added that her questioner asked, ”‘Why are you doing this, what are you saying right now?’ And I just spoke from the heart in that moment about not having representation because I know that visibility is crucial.”
And with such visibility, she said she hopes comes major change.
“We have come out of the closets, we have come forward out of the dark, we have connected to one another and we’re saying we’re loud, we’re here, this happened, this is real and we want to change a world that gives respect to survivors, that believes survivors, and where we can address this so that we can make a safer space for us,” she added.