Johnny Depp has suggested the domestic abuse allegations his ex-wife Amber Heard brought against him transformed him from being viewed as a beloved figure like Cinderella into a shunned one like Quasimodo.
The actor told a Virginia courtroom on Tuesday that Ms Heard was bringing “heinous and disturbing” allegations against him and it was “diabolical” that his children had been exposed to them at school.
Mr Depp is suing the Aquaman star for libel over a 2018 article she wrote in The Washington Post, which his lawyers say falsely implies he physically and sexually abused her.
The Pirates of the Caribbean actor said at the time the accusations had “permeated” the entertainment industry and had become a “quote, unquote fact”.
“It’s been six years of trying times, very strange when one day you’re Cinderella, so to speak, and then in 0.6 seconds you’re Quasimodo,” he said, as he described how attitudes towards him changed after Ms Heard’s op-ed was published.
“I didn’t deserve that, nor did my children, nor did the people who have believed in me all these years.”
After denying Ms Heard’s abuse allegations, Mr Depp spoke at length about a childhood in which physical abuse from his mother was “constant”.
The abuse came in the form of ashtrays being flung or a high-heeled shoe or telephone being used to beat him, he said.
When he became a father, Mr Depp said, he made sure his children didn’t experience that kind of upbringing.
The trial began more than a week ago, but, before Tuesday, jurors had only seen the Hollywood star sitting silently with his team of lawyers.
So far, Mr Depp’s friends, family and employees have testified that Ms Heard was the aggressor in the relationship, physically attacking him on multiple occasions.
Jurors have seen text messages in which Mr Depp uses vulgar language to describe Ms Heard and spells out his desire to get revenge against her.
Mr Depp apologised for the text messages on Tuesday, saying they were written in the “heat of the moment” and he was “ashamed of some of the references made.”
Why are Johnny Depp and Amber Heard back in court and what has been said so far?
Ms Heard’s lawyers have also said he physically and sexually assaulted her on multiple occasions, often in situations where he drank so much he later blacked out. They have filed their own countersuit against Mr Depp and say nothing in the article libels him.
They say the abuse allegations are true, and that the damage to Mr Depp’s reputation — which he says got him booted from the lucrative “Pirates of the Caribbean” movie franchise – came from his own bad behaviour.
Mr Depp denies any abuse.
His testimony is expected to stretch into Wednesday, with Ms Heard scheduled to testify later in the trial being held at Fairfax County District Courthouse.