Johnny Depp snickered in the courtroom as his childhood friend took the stand Wednesday morning in the actor’s defamation trial against Amber Heard.
The court heard from Isaac Baruch, who had known Depp since they were teenagers growing up in Florida and has been described as his best friend.
Baruch later moved to California where he worked as a musician and artist and the office manage at the notorious club in Los Angeles that Depp used to own.
Baruch testified that Depp loved his artwork so much that he gave him a penthouse apartment he owned in the Eastern Columbia Building rent free and paid him around $100,000 during the more than three years he lived there.
Asked if he took up Depp’s offer he said: ‘Yeah, of course!’ which earned a laugh from the public gallery and Depp.
Baruch told the jury how Johnny had given him roughly $100,000 over four years to work on his art. He said he had to tell Johnny his paintings were taking longer than expected to finish.
‘He looks at me and starts laughing and says ”Ike, don’ worry, I do not care. I just want you to paint, however long it takes. I want you to paint every day.’
Depp smiled and chucked as his friend spoke.
At one point, Baruch described his relationship with Heard as positive, and said ‘she has great teeth,’ prompting the courtroom, and Heard, to erupt in laughter.
Depp’s childhood friend Isaac Baruch took the stand and at several moments, had the court erupt into laughter with his answers
Johnny Depp snickered in the courtroom as his childhood friend took the stand Wednesday morning in the actor’s defamation trial against Amber Heard
At one point, Baruch described his relationship with Heard as positive, and said ‘she had nice teeth,’ prompting the courtroom, and Heard, to erupt in laughter
Baruch said: ‘I started crying. One day you’re in your mother’s garage selling paints for $200 on eBay next thing you’re at an art show and you don’t have to worry about diddly squat. I was flipping out’.
Soon after Depp and Heard moved into another apartment on the same floor, followed by Heard’s friend Rocky Pennington and her sister Whitney – all paid for by Mr Depp, Baruch said.
Baruch said he ‘fell in love with all of them’ and they became ‘great friends’.
Asked about Heard, he said: ‘I fell in love with her just like Johnny did. She’s totally respectful, gracious, she’s got great teeth. She treated me with complete respect. Humor wise total locker room humor, demented humor.
‘Every time I walked into that place Isaac you want something to eat, you want something to drink
‘Only one time she didn’t offer. She’s in the kitchen and she’s doing her beautiful facial mask – I said is that something that can help me. She looked at me and said no. I loved her’.
Depp asked him to paint 25 paintings and when it took longer than the few months he initially said, Depp gave him more time, Baruch said.
Baruch said that Depp and Heard were ‘always loving with each other’ and that they ‘treated each other like gold’.
He never saw them being violent to each other and only saw them argue twice.
Johnny Depp gave a thumbs up while smoking as he left his hotel Wednesday morning and went to court
Heard has countersued for $100 million, claiming vengeful Depp has waged a years-long smear campaign, using media allies and internet trolls to silence her and derail her acting career
Baruch said: ‘First argument I remember, it was a telephone argument. Johnny is at the kitchen table and he’s screaming about something and on the other line because it’s on speaker, he’s talking at the phone, the other person is Amber. She’s in New York, he’s at the kitchen table.
Baruch said Depp was saying: ‘Who is it? Who is it?’ while Heard replied: ‘What are you doing baby, why are you being like this baby?
Depp called back and he was saying: ‘Who is it, what’s going on’. Heard was saying: ‘What are you doing baby?
Depp hung up again and and the phone rang again, but Baruch grabbed the phone because he thought there was ‘no solution’ to the conversation.
He told her: ‘Hey amber this is isaac, this conversation is now over. And I hung up the phone. She didn’t call back again and he went to the couch’.
The second argument was when Depp, Heard, Pennington and another friend were ‘trying to plot’ a way to force Heard’s sister to move out.
Depp got up and was ‘completely flustered and frustrated’ and and told the others to ‘figure it out’, Baruch said.
Before Baruch took the stand, Heard’s team of lawyer continued cross-examination of Depp’s sister Christi Dembrowski.
The jury was shown texts between Dembrowski and Amber Heard from May 2016 after a flight from Boston to Los Angeles where he was supposedly abusive and blacked out drunk after consuming two bottles of champagne, half a bottle of whiskey and cocaine with no food for days.
Dembrowski’s text to Heard read, ‘I love him so much but he needs help and I don’t have all the information.’
Benjamin Rottenborn, Heard’s lawyer, asked Dembrowski what she meant.
Dembrowski said, ‘I wanted to help him with that medication he was on, that I know. I know that I wanted to be able to be helpful in life because they were arguing all the time.’
Before Baruch took the stand, Heard’s team of lawyer continued cross-examination of Depp’s sister Christi Dembrowski
On Tuesday Dembrowski was asked if there were occasions where Heard was not nice to Depp. She said there was one that ‘really stayed with me.’
They were at Depp’s office and Christian Dior had called saying they were interested in working with Depp.
She said: ‘Johnny told Amber they were interested in him.
‘Her reaction to that was she was in disbelief and sort of disgust because she said Dior, why would Dior want to do business with you? They’re about class and style and you don’t have style. It was insulting, kind of taking away that one moment. That insult is there.
‘I’ve seen the insults, multiple times actually.’
Asked what Heard would say about Depp’s physical appearance, Dembrowski said she would call him ‘an old, fat man.’
Benjamin Chew, Depp’s lawyer, began the line of questioning.
Dembrowski admitted that she still works closely with her brother and has been called his ‘personal manager’ in the past.
‘Did mother get angry with father?’ Chew asked.
‘Yes,’ Dembrowski said.
‘How?’ Chew asked.
‘Mom would scream, yell at him, she would hit him, call him names, that kind of thing.’ Dembrowski said.
‘Did your father hit your mother back?’ Chew asked.
‘No, dad never reacted when mom hit him or screamed at him.’ Dembrowski said. ‘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.’
‘How did your mother treat you and your brothers and sisters?’ Chew asked.
‘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 said.
Depp with parents Betty Sue Palmer (second from left) and John Christopher Depp (second from right) and ex Vanessa Paradis when Johnny received a star on the Walk of Fame in 1999
Like father like son: Johnny and dad John Christopher pose at Depp’s Walk of Fame ceremony
Though their relationship was difficult, Johnny does have a tattoo of mom Betty Sue’s name
Betty Sue and John Depp divorced in 1978 when Johnny was 15 and Christi was 18.
Depp has described their family home as a ‘ghost house’, which helped turn him into a more ‘nurturing person’.
But the chaos was difficult too and Depp began using drugs at just 11 years old.
Betty died of cancer in 2016 aged 81. Depp got a tattoo of his mom’s name on his left arm in 1988.
After receiving his first Hollywood paycheck, Depp bought her a small house farm in Kentucky. He used to rub her feet after long days waitressing.
John Depp was Betty’s second husband. She married twice more after the divorce, lastly to Bob Palmer, who died in 2000. Johnny described Bob as an ‘inspiration’.
John ‘Jack’ Depp was absent for much of Depp and Dembrowski’s childhoods. He is still alive at 84 years of age.
At Betty’s funeral, Johnny Depp described his mom as the ‘meanest human being I have ever met in my life’. In a 2018 interview with Rolling Stone he also called her a ‘b***h on wheels’.
But Depp also said he ‘worshipped her’ and that she was ‘funny’.
Betty even once threw an ashtray at her son.
‘Did you mother have special name for Johnny?’ Chew asked.
‘She had a few, some to not repeat,’ Dembrowski said. ”One eye” was her favorite. Because when he was young the doctors thought had a lazy eye, they put a patch on his good eye to strengthen his other eye.’
‘Did Johnny respond?’ he asked.
‘Those names were just a way of life. We got used to them,’ Dembrowski said.
‘Did your mother get angry with you?’ Chew asked. ‘Physical?’
‘Yes, she did but I was also very quiet, very shy, I learned early on to step back. I would stay away from trouble,’ Dembrowski said. ‘She would hit us, threw things, go pick a switch off a tree, that would be what she’d hit us with. One that’s nice and green. If it wasn’t a nice green twig it wouldn’t break.’
Dembrowski added that her mother would get angry at Johnny and hit him as well.
‘How if at all did Johnny react when his mother would hit him?’, Chew asked.
‘He was a typical little boy, when hurt he would cry. For the most part he just wanted to get away from it,’ Dembrowski said, adding that he never hit his mother back.
‘When he was older even if she hit or threw things he never went to that place he would get away, he would leave the area, go to him room.’ Dembrowski said.
The former spouses are squaring off over a 2018 op-ed she wrote for the Washington Post calling herself a domestic violence survivor.
The article did not mention Depp by name but the veteran actor sued for $50 million, claiming he was booted from the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise because of the ‘clear implication’ he was the abuser.
Depp’s suit claims Heard presented the world with a ‘hoax’ account of the infamous May 21, 2016 dust up that brought the couple’s tumultuous marriage to an end, complete with faked injuries and crocodile tears.
He further alleges that his ex-wife was the actual ‘perpetrator’ of the violent bouts that scarred their relationship, including a notorious incident in Australia where she allegedly severed his finger with a vodka bottle.
Heard has countersued for $100 million, claiming vengeful Depp has waged a years-long smear campaign, using media allies and internet trolls to silence her and derail her acting career.