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Ellen Barkin testifies against Johnny Depp: A look at exes' romance and what she said on the stand

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Ellen Barkin testified against ex Johnny Depp in a prerecorded deposition played Thursday for jurors during the ongoing defamation trial against his ex-wife Amber Heard that began in Fairfax, Virginia, April 11.

The 68-year-old actress called her ex-boyfriend and former “Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas” co-star “controlling” and “jealous” in testimony shown at the Fairfax County Courthouse.

She described their relationship starting purely as “sexual” when they first met in the ’90s and turning romantic nearly a decade after that friendship started. 

Depp, 58, is suing Heard, 36, for $50 million over a 2018 op-ed she wrote for the Washington Post alleging she was the victim of domestic abuse. She did not name Depp in the opinion piece, but Depp claims the allegations crippled his career and made him a pariah in Hollywood.

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Heard countersued for $100 million, accusing the “Pirates of the Caribbean” star and his former attorney of conspiring to “destroy and defame” her.

Ellen Barkin testified against ex-boyfriend Johnny Depp in a prerecorded deposition Thursday

Ellen Barkin testified against ex-boyfriend Johnny Depp in a prerecorded deposition Thursday
(Shawn Thew)

‘Fear and Loathing’

Depp starred as Raoul Duke alongside Benicio Del Toro in the psychedelic cult classic film based on the 1971 novel by gonzo journalist Hunter S. Thompson.

The movie premiered in 1998 and included a host of rising stars turned Hollywood heavy hitters, including Tobey Maguire, Cameron Diaz, Christina Ricci, Christopher Meloni, Verne Troyer and Red Hot Chili Peppers’ bassist Flea.

On set of the flick, which was filmed as an epic journey through the Arizona desert to Las Vegas, Barkin played a minor role as a waitress.

She was separated at the time from her estranged husband, actor Gabriel Bryne, and their divorce was finalized in 1999 after nearly 11 years of marriage.

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Benicio Del Toro and Johnny Depp at the New York premiere of "Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas" in 1998.

Benicio Del Toro and Johnny Depp at the New York premiere of “Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas” in 1998.
(Kevin Mazur)

Trial Testimony

The Emmy Award-winning actress testified that their relationship lasted no longer than six months.

“We just developed a friendship over time that lasted, I guess, if we met in the ’90s, maybe 10 years, a little less,” Barkin said, adding, “the friendship went up and down living on different coasts.”

Barkin moved from New York to Hollywood, where she said things took a more serious turn between the pair.

Their relationship eventually “became romantic in nature … the friendship went from a purely platonic friendship to a romantic one.” She then corrected herself, saying, “Can you change that to sexual?”

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She said it lasted “several months,” and they would get together “three or four times a week.”

“He was drunk all the … most … a lot of the time. He was a red wine drinker,” she said. 

Barkin also said that over the course of their relationship, it was “very common” for Depp to be controlling or jealous, adding that he became angry and “demanding.”

“I had a scratch on my back once that got him very, very angry because he insisted it came from me having sex with a person who wasn’t him,” Barkin recalled.

Johnny Depp and Ellen Barkin at the APLA Fashion show in LA in 1994.

Johnny Depp and Ellen Barkin at the APLA Fashion show in LA in 1994.
(Barry King/WireImage)

“Did there come a time Mr. Depp acted in a way that was out of control with you?” Heard’s lawyer asked.

“Mr. Depp threw a wine bottle across the hotel room in Las Vegas when we were shooting,” she said. “A fight was going on … between Johnny Depp and his friend in the room, the assistant. Honestly I don’t remember.”

He hurled the bottle in her direction, and it hit a wall, she said.

She also recalled hearing Depp refer to his assistant as “The Pig” and remembered the “Pirates of the Caribbean” star breaking up with her during a two-day stint in Los Angeles.

“I went to go home,” she said. “There was a big goodbye, crying, a lot of jealous and don’t do this, and I never heard that from him again after that.”

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Past Problems

Barkin previously testified as a witness for Heard in Depp’s failed libel suit in 2020 after he took a U.K. publication to court for calling him a “wife beater” in a piece related to Heard’s allegations.

Barkin recalled an incident in which Depp threw a wine bottle at her during an argument in a jealous fit of rage.

Amber Heard during cross-examination at the Fairfax County Circuit Courthouse in Fairfax, Va., May 16, 2022. 

Amber Heard during cross-examination at the Fairfax County Circuit Courthouse in Fairfax, Va., May 16, 2022. 
(Steve Helber)

“Untrue,” Depp replied, before adding it was Barkin who held a grudge. “I do not have an anger management problem.”

Depp sued the site over a 2018 article, “Gone Potty: How can J.K. Rowling be ‘genuinely happy’ casting wife beater Johnny Depp in the new Fantastic Beasts film?”

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After a 16-day trial, Depp lost when Judge Andrew Nicol ruled the article was “substantially true” and that “the great majority of alleged assaults of Ms. Heard by Mr. Depp have been proved to the civil standard.”

Heard’s lawyers reacted to the verdict. 

“For those of us present for the London High Court trial, this decision and judgment are not a surprise,” they said. “Very soon, we will be presenting even more voluminous evidence in the U.S.”

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