Christi Dembrowski, Hollywood star Johnny Depp's sister, spoke in court on Tuesday about being abused by their mother Betty Sue Palmer when they were children.
Depp, 58, is suing his ex-wife Amber Heard for defamation for a Washington Post op-ed she penned in 2018 on surviving domestic abuse, but she never mentioned Depp by name. According to a report by People, Dembrowski, spoke on Tuesday before the Fairfax County Courthouse in Virginia, remembering cruelty she and her brother experienced at home throughout their childhoods.
"We would run and hide," she remembered witnessing her mom being abusive toward their father, who she said would not respond. Dembrowski added, "She would hit us. She would throw things."
When questioned if Depp ever hit back at his mother when she was abusive, Dembrowski said no, "He never went to that place."
"Really early on as a young child," she said, "none of what was happening in our home felt good. And so, as I got older, both Johnny and I actually, we decided that once we left, once we had our own home, we were never going to repeat, ever, anything similar in any way to our childhood. We were gonna do it different."
Betty "softened" as she got older, according to Dembrowski. She died in May 2016, only days before Heard filed for divorce from Depp, at the age of 81. Depp and Heard, who met while filming The Rum Diary in 2011, ended their relationship in May 2016 after she filed for a domestic violence restraining order against him, accusing him of abusing her. Depp rejected the allegations, and the former couple reached an out-of-court settlement in August 2016.
The $50 million lawsuit was initially filed in March 2019, but it was postponed owing to the pandemic.
Depp lost his widely publicised U.K. libel lawsuit against British tabloid The Sun for labelling him a "wife-beater." in November 2020. The outlet's accusations were found to be true by the court, and Heard testified to back up the claims. His appeal to reverse the judgement was rejected in March 2021.
Heard said on Instagram on Saturday that she will be avoiding social media until the trial is over, thanking her fans 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. At this time, I recognize the ongoing support I've been fortunate to receive throughout these years, and in these coming weeks I will be leaning on it more than ever."