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Sister says at trial she witnessed Johnny Depp strike Amber Heard

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Sister says at trial she witnessed Johnny Depp strike Amber Heard
Amber Heard's sister, Whitney Heard Henriquez, testified that she witnessed her sister's ex-husband Johnny Depp strike her and that she acted as a "marriage counselor" for the couple. File Photo by Bonnie Cash/UPI | License Photo

May 18 (UPI) -- Amber Heard's sister testified Wednesday that she was present during a physical altercation between actor Johnny Deep and Heard, his ex-wife, and was seen by the pair as their "marriage counselor."

Heard's sister, Whitney Heard Henriquez, took the stand on Wednesday after Heard completed her testimony a day earlier, saying that she personally witnessed Depp strike her sister.

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Depp, who has claimed he never struck Heard, is suing his ex-wife for defamation over a 2018 Washington Post op-ed in which she described herself as "a public figure representing domestic abuse," alleging the piece cost him roles and other opportunities although it did not mention him by name.

Henriquez recounted a March 2015 incident in which the couple argued after Heard found evidence Depp had an extramarital affair just one month after their wedding.

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She said that Depp was inebriated and blamed Heard for forcing him into the extramarital encounter after initially denying the affair.

"Amber made me do it ... of course I'm cheating," Depp said, according to Henriquez.

Henriquez said she was caught between the couple as Depp charged up a staircase to confront Heard.

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"I'm at the back of the stairs, with my back to the stairs and that's when Johnny runs up the stairs," she said. "And again, I'm facing Amber. He comes up behind me and strikes me in the back."

Henriquez said that Heard became enraged and "landed one" on Depp.

One of Depp's bodyguards broke up the fight but Henriquez said Depp had "already grabbed Amber by the hair with one hand and was whacking her repeatedly in the face with the other."

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The incident was the only time Henriquez witnessed Depp hitting Heard, she said.

She added that she frequently mediated fights between the couple, earning her the nickname of "marriage counselor," while acknowledging that she sometimes sided with Depp and once joked in a text message that Depp should hit Heard, while adding she didn't fully understand what her sister was going through at the time.

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"If my sister said that she still wanted to be with Johnny and if I could help with that in any way I was going to support her. I was going to be there for her," Henriquez said.

Also Wednesday, Raquel Pennington, who described herself as a former friend of Heard, said in recorded testimony she never personally witnessed Depp strike Heard but that she saw the bruises and cuts left following multiple incidents of abuse.

Pennington cried when she was shown photos of Heard's injuries. She testified that she took photos of Heard's face in December 2015 after a fight in which Heard said Depp head-butted her and possibly broke her nose and of strands of hair she said were ripped from Heard's scalp.

When asked if Heard ever used makeup to fake an injury, Pennington testified that "the opposite" was true.

"She often had to cover bruises and injuries to her face with makeup," Pennington said.

Heard's former makeup artist Melanie Inglessis, testified that she helped Heard cover up injuries from the December 2015 incident for Heard's appearance on The Late Late Show With James Corden.

Inglessis said she saw bruising around Heard's nose and eyes that looked like she may have been head-butted as well as a bloody lip.

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"We covered the discoloration, the bruises, with slightly heavier concealer," she said, adding that she used concealer with a more peach undertone as it cancels out blue.

"Although Amber always has red lip ... I remember clearly talking we had no other option that night then to use a really red lipstick to make sure we could cover up the injuries on the lip," Inglessis added.

The court also heard testimony from Kristina Sexton, Heard's acting coach from 2010 to 2017, who said she witnessed the couple's relationship change from "lovey-dovey and passionate" to sad.

"Johnny became ... much darker as time went on," Sexton said. "Figuratively and literally, he would sit in dark rooms."

Sexton added that Depp was controlling of Heard's career, saying that she would see the actress less frequently as time went on and that she often showed up to coaching sessions in tears.

"I would say the last year they were together, probably 80-90% of our sessions began with her crying and that would be increasing as it went on," she said.

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