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  • Writer's pictureThe M Word Consulting


The world is watching on as the high-profile court case between Johnny Depp and Amber Heard plays out with startling revelations surrounding violence, substance abuse and what appears to be a highly tumultuous relationship. Evidence and testimony so far shows enormous degrees of conflict, emotional distress and verbal abuse at the very least.

One big lesson we can learn so far from Johnny Depp and Amber Heard’s relationship is this: they bring out the worst in each other. This is an important lesson to note when it comes to our own personal safety and self defence, because the same incident can play out very differently depending on the personalities of those involved. As an individual, you should be aware of your own triggers and weaknesses. As a potential victim, you also need to be aware of how the things you do or say can be triggering to those around you. When drugs and alcohol are thrown into the mix, combined with high emotion and childhood trauma, it’s a classic recipe for violence. In the true spirit of self defence, this knowledge can be your best weapon of all, as it can help you avoid dangerous situations and prevent an altercation in the first place.

Lets look a little closer at how it appears the failed marriage of Depp and Heard brought out in each other enormous pain, rage and unresolved issues. Johnny Depp and Amber Heard were married for 4 years, divorcing in 2017. In 2018, Depp sued UK News Group Newspapers over an article calling him a “wife beater.” Depp lost the suit: The judge ruled that the newspaper presented sufficient evidence of Depp’s alleged violent behaviour toward Heard on 14 occasions – evidence including photos, audio recordings and Depp’s own text messages.

Depp fans, close friends and family were angry; they simply could not believe that Depp could be abusive; they labelled Heard as a liar. Now Depp is suing Amber Heard in the US, for defamation for an op-ed article she wrote in 2018 about surviving domestic violence.

Both Depp and Heard were victims of abuse in their childhood homes, so a strong precedent for domestic violence was set. However, it seems that the impact of their childhoods was well controlled in both actors for decades. But their relationship together appears to have triggered them both and, regardless of the final outcome of the court case, seems to have led to some degree of mutual abuse. Depp told his counsellor Heard gave as good as she got. Heard showed her doctor bruises, both in photos and in person, but she would also “strike him to keep him there” – to prevent Depp from leaving.

Stop, and think about this: For more than two decades, neither Depp nor Heard are reported to have been violent or abuse any of their former partners. So, what happened? They brought out the darkest, worst parts of each other! They triggered the pain, anger, bitterness, rage, and unresolved issues in each other. Then they added pressures of fame, excessive alcohol and constant drug use to an already volatile mix.

Winona Ryder, Depp’s former fiancé of 4 years said Depp was “an incredibly loving man” who was never violent towards her, and she felt “so very, very safe with [him.]” Ryder said she found Amber Heard’s accusations against Depp “impossible to believe.” Ryder was shocked by the allegations because she did not bring out the worst in Depp, so she never saw or experienced any abuse by him.

In our experience at COBRA, having seen an unfortunate high number of violence and abuse scenarios, it is clear that if you have pain from the past, it needs to be healed. If you are with someone who triggers that pain, you need to heal the pain. When you realize that you are ‘living with your mother/father’ then work to heal that childhood trauma. If you are with someone who brings out the worst in you and vice-versa, then try to get out of the toxic, destructive relationship. Women need to stop trying to change, rescue or heal the man. And men need to stop letting their past play out in their current lives and on the women in their future.

Also be aware that with drugs and alcohol, you will also bring out the worst in each other. By his own admission, Depp has been struggling for decades with drugs and alcohol. In February 2014, Christi Dembrowski (Depp’s sister) texted him: “Stop drinking, stop coke, stop pills.” Depp also hired a doctor to provide 24/7 private treatment for his addiction to alcohol, opioids, benzodiazepines, and cocaine.

Of course, drugs change your brain; they change your mental and emotional state; they bring out the worst in you. Depp has been violent and out of control under the influence of drugs. But Depp had turned to drugs to escape his own pain over his troubled childhood: The verbal and physical abuse he and his siblings experienced by their mother, and the complications of stardom and being a celebrity (Depp says his fame from Pirates of The Caribbean destroyed his privacy and way of life). Depp was reliving the issues from his childhood with Amber Heard.

“You slowly realize you’re in a relationship with your mother, in a sense,” Johnny Depp said testifying in the defamation lawsuit, comparing the abuse he says he experienced by his mother to Heard’s alleged abuse.

“I wanted to try to make it work…Ms. Heard had spoken of suicide on a couple of occasions, so that also becomes a factor, that’s something that lives in the back of your brain.” The threat of suicide is a tactic abusers use to control the other person. “[At first], she was attentive, she was loving, she was smart, she was kind, she was funny, she was understanding. We had many things in common.” During their marriage, Depp repeatedly called Heard a “c**t” and once texted a friend that he hoped her “rotting corpse was decomposing in the fu*king trunk of a Honda Civic.”

While the court trial continues, Depp and Heard’s relationship points to the fact that you cannot run away from your unresolved issues and pain. And if you get together with someone who triggers your worst, and then you add drugs to the relationship, you will destroy your life – even if the drugs and alcohol are in response to the pain of the relationship and stardom.

The situation becomes clear from Johnny Depp’s bodyguard, Sean Bett, who testified, “I said, ‘Amber, this can’t continue. You guys are either going to kill each other or wind up in jail.’ And with tears and everything, she said, ‘But I love him and I’m not going to lose him.'”

It goes without saying that the lawsuit and the relationship between Depp and Heard is incredibly sad and concerning on many levels. But the lesson for us all so far? Get out of any relationship where you bring out the worst in each other. Look for someone where you bring out the best in each other!

Because, as always, you are valuable and worthy of safety, peace and love. Everyday and forever, please believe in yourself and know you deserve the best. Please like and follow for more from COBRA Sunshine Coast.

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