Johnny Depp Gets Emotional As Sister Testifies About His Abusive Childhood And Cruel Nickname
| Last updated
Johnny Depp’s older sister took the stand at his defamation trial to discuss the abuse they suffered at the hands of their mother.
Depp, 58, is suing his 35-year-old ex-wife Amber Heard in a $50 million (£38.2 million) defamation lawsuit over domestic abuse claims she made in an article in The Washington Post.
Depp’s sister Christi Dembrowski, 61, spoke at the trial yesterday (12 April) where she described how Depp had sworn never to perpetuate domestic violence after experiencing it from their ‘high strung, nervous’ and ‘angry’ mother, Betty Sue Palmer.
Testifying at the Fairfax County courthouse in Virginia, she responded to questions led by Depp’s lawyer Benjamin Chew, saying: “Mom would scream, yell at him, she would hit him, call him names, that kind of thing.”
Depp appeared emotional as his sister recalled moments from their childhood and at times looked to the floor.
When asked if their dad ever hit back, Dembrowski said: “No, dad never reacted when mom hit him or screamed at him.
“Basically he would let her scream and get it out and be done. The way you dealt with my mom, he always tried to keep the peace.”
Dembrowski went on to describe how their mum treated her brothers and sisters, to which she replied: “Similarly in how she treated dad. She screamed, she yelled, she hit, she threw things, she called us names.
“We each had our own set of names. Some we wouldn't repeat. My name was Violet. Violet was my father's mother and my mom hated my father's mother.
“She had a few for Johnny, her favourite was ‘one eye’ and she called him that as when he was young the doctors thought he had a lazy eye and would put a patch on his good eye to strengthen the other one.
“He did not respond in any negative way. They were a way of life, we got used to them. We accepted all of it.”
Dembrowski said Depp never hit their mum back, adding: “He was a typical little boy where if it hurt he would cry for the most part, he just wanted to get away from her.”
The actor’s sister also opened up about Heard’s treatment of Deep, discussing a moment when she was ‘not nice’ to him that ‘really stayed with her’.
“On one occasion I was at the office, I had a meeting with Dior who wanted to sit with Johnny and talk about working together,” she said, The Independent reports.
“Amber had come in and asked if she was interrupting, we said no, Johnny told Amber that I had just had a meeting with Dior and they were interested in him.
“Her reaction to that was that she was in disbelief and sort of disgust, and she said ‘Dior? Why would Dior want to do business with you? They are about class and style and you do not have style.’
“It was insulting, kind of taking away that one moment, that insult was there.
“I have seen the insults, multiple times actually. She called him an ‘old, fat man.’ I believe he heard her call him that.”
The trial continues, centring on a 2018 opinion piece Heard wrote for The Washington Post titled 'I spoke up against sexual violence – and faced our culture’s wrath. That has to change'.
Although Depp wasn’t named in the article, Depp’s lawyers say the article falsely implies Heard was physically and sexually abused by him when they were married.
He says the accusations have made it difficult for him to get the sorts of roles he used to, and launched the lawsuit in 2019.