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Amber Heard testified against Johnny Depp this week. Here's what we learned

Amber Heard told the court she was scared of Depp, saying: "This is a man who tried to kill me." (Shawn Thew/Pool via Reuters)

When actor Amber Heard wrapped up her time on the witness stand this week, it was after two gruelling days of cross-examination in which she was questioned about the truthfulness of her allegations of physical and sexual abuse against actor Johnny Depp.

WARNING: This article contains disturbing content.

Depp is suing Heard over a 2018 opinion piece published in the Washington Post in which she does not mention him but refers to herself as "a public figure representing domestic abuse".

Heard is countersuing Depp, saying he smeared her by calling her a liar.

The Hollywood actors were married in February 2015 and finalised their divorce about two years later.

Heard told the court she loved Depp but knew she would not survive if she did not leave him.

The questioning was particularly intense when Depp's lawyer, Camille Vasquez, quizzed Heard about a March 2015 fight the couple had on a trip to Australia, when Depp was shooting the fifth film in the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise.

Heard says she was sexually assaulted with a liquor bottle during that fight, but Depp says he was the victim, having lost the tip of his middle finger when Heard threw a vodka bottle at him.

"You're the one who assaulted someone with a bottle in Australia, isn't that right, Ms Heard?" Ms Vasquez asked.

"I didn't assault Johnny in Australia," Heard said.

"I didn't assault Johnny ever."

Ms Vasquez grilled her further. "You weren't scared of him at all, were you?"

"Of course it's scary. He's also my husband."

Former partner describes Depp as 'jealous' and 'controlling'

Meanwhile, a key witness painted a picture of Depp as a violent man who was quite often under the influence of drugs and alcohol.

Johnny Depp has denied assaulting Amber Heard or any other woman. (Shawn Thew/Pool via REUTERS)

Actor Ellen Barkin testified in a taped deposition.

She said she met Depp in 1990 and they were friends for about 10 years. The two co-starred in the 1998 movie Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas.

Barkin told the court she was in a sexual relationship with Depp for several months after she moved to Hollywood in 1994.

She said Depp often drank to excess.

"He was drunk … a lot of the time," Barkin said.

She also testified that he took drugs in her presence "all the time" and he threw a wine bottle in her direction on one occasion.

She referred to him as angry and controlling.

"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."

Others who had previously been close to Depp charted his rise and fall as a man who went from being "the biggest movie star in the world" to someone who often failed to show up to film sets on time and battled a drug addiction.

Depp says Heard's article has cost him his lucrative career in Hollywood, but her lawyers argue his own bad behaviour has resulted in his professional undoing.

His former business manager, Joel Mandel, told the court he was concerned about Depp's finances, but was met with anger when he approached the actor.

Mr Mandel said each month Depp was spending more than $US400,000 ($568,000) on full-time staff, on a doctor to get him sober, and prescription drugs.

"The spending levels had grown very, very, very large and required that level of incredibly high income to be maintained," Mr Mandel said.

"And when it dropped off, the disconnect became untenable."

He said Depp fired him in 2016.

Johnny Depp's 'different self'

Raquel Pennington, a one-time friend of Heard's, cried as she testified in a recorded deposition played to the jury.

She said she saw bruises and cuts on Heard multiple times, but she never personally witnessed Depp strike her.

Ms Pennington said she took photos of Heard's face in December 2015 after a fight with Depp. In the photo Heard has a swollen nose, cut lip and both eyes are blackened.

She also took photos of strands of hair that she said were ripped from Heard's scalp.

The December 2015 fight is one of several disputed incidents.

Jurors have been shown a video of Heard's appearance on a late-night talk show the next day in which the injuries are not visible.

Ms Pennington said Heard "often had to cover bruises and injuries on her face" with make-up.

"Was there a name for what you describe as Mr Depp's different self?" Ms Pennington was asked by a lawyer.

Ms Pennington said she and Heard were no longer friends, having grown apart in the past year.

Heard's sister played role of 'marriage counsellor'

Heard's sister, Whitney Heard Henriquez, was the first witness to say she personally witnessed Depp hitting the actress when she testified in the civil trial this week.

Ms Henriquez said a month after their wedding in March 2015, the couple fought after Heard found evidence Depp had already had an extramarital affair.

Johnny Depp says Amber Heard's article harmed his acting career. (Reuters: Suzanne Plunkett)

She said Depp blamed Heard for his actions, and at one point she became caught between the pair, and she too was struck, with one of Depp's bodyguards intervening and breaking up the fight.

Depp has said he has never struck Heard or any other woman.

Ms Henriquez said she had the nickname "marriage counsellor" because she frequently tried to mediate between the pair.

She acknowledged under cross-examination that she sometimes sided with Depp in the disputes and had worked to keep the couple together, even after witnessing her sister being physically assaulted.

Depp lost a libel case against British tabloid The Sun in 2020 after it labelled him a "wife-beater", with a London High court judge ruling he had repeatedly assaulted Heard.

This current trial in the Fairfax County Circuit Court in Virginia is getting close to ending, with testimony expected to wrap up next week. The closing arguments are scheduled to take place next Friday, May 27.