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Johnny Depp Struggled to Detoxify from Drugs During Amber Heard Relationship, His Doctor Testifies

Johnny Depp‘s history of addiction and attempts to detoxify from drugs amid his tumultuous relationship with ex-wife Amber Heard are being discussed in court.

During Depp’s defamation trial against Amber Heard in Fairfax, Virginia, on Thursday, Beverly Hills doctor David Kipper’s deposition (recorded on Feb. 22) was played for the courtroom. In the testimony, Kipper recalled his time spent with the Pirates of the Caribbean star as the actor attempted to “detoxify from his substance abuse” while engaged to Heard.

The substances included alcohol, opiates, benzodiazepines and stimulants, according to Kipper.

Depp, 58, who also experienced depression and anxiety, was “fearful” of coming off opiates after becoming dependent on them following a dental procedure, according to the doctor. Kipper said he and Depp planned for a two-week drug detoxification at the actor’s home in the Caribbean Islands.

Kipper said there were moments when Depp was hesitant about the process, “not wanting to proceed” with the detox. “He didn’t think he could do it. That changed after a conversation; he was back on board,” said Kipper, whose text messages with Depp from over the years were also read aloud. He also said that later in the marriage there were concerns about Depp abusing Xanax pills.

Depp is suing Heard, 35, for defamation over a 2018 op-ed she wrote for the Washington Post about surviving domestic violence, though she never mentioned Depp by name in the article.

During opening statements Tuesday, Heard’s attorney Ben Rottenborn said evidence will show she suffered domestic abuse by Depp that “took many forms,” including physical, emotional, verbal and psychological, as well as “sexual violence at the hands of Depp.” A spokesperson for Depp denies the allegation as “fictitious.” Also during opening remarks, Heard’s lawyer Elaine Bredehoft said Depp’s “monster would come out when he was drinking and when he would take the drugs.”

Johnny Depp

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The pair, who met while making the 2011 movie The Rum Diary, broke up in May 2016, when Heard sought a domestic violence restraining order against him, accusing him of abusing her. Depp denied the claims, and the former couple settled their divorce out of court in August 2016.

Back in November 2020, Depp lost his highly publicized U.K. libel lawsuit case against British tabloid The Sun for calling him a “wife-beater.” The court upheld the outlet’s claims as being “substantially true” and Heard testified to back up the claims. In March 2021, his attempt to overturn the decision was overruled.

In that overseas case, Depp testified about his drug addiction struggles, saying that he started taking drugs “at a very young age, when it was not a particularly stable or secure or safe home life.” He added that his early drug and alcohol use was “the only way that I found to numb the pain.”

Johnny Depp

Court documents obtained by PEOPLE at the time showed that Depp said he was in recovery from alcohol and drugs during “significant parts” of his marriage with Heard, and accused the Aquaman actress of encouraging him to drink and take drugs “instead of supporting my sobriety.”

Depp has yet to take the stand in the current defamation trial, which is expected to last five more weeks.

On Saturday, Heard wrote on Instagram that she will be avoiding social media until after the trial, thanking her followers for their support. She said, in part, “Hopefully when this case concludes, I can move on and so can Johnny. I have always maintained a love for Johnny and it brings me great pain to have to live out the details of our past life together in front of the world.”

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