Actor Johnny Depp and ex-wife Amber Heard are still squaring off against one another in court.
The couple is facing each other at the Fairfax County Circuit Court in Virginia. The “Pirates of the Caribbean” actor is suing his ex-wife for $50 million over a December 2018 op-ed Heard wrote for the Washington Post where she claims that she is a domestic violence survivor. Although she did not mention Depp by name, he claims that he has lost movie roles due to the “clear implication” that he was the “Aquaman” actress’ abuser. Heard is countersuing for $100 million dollars.
A spokesperson for Depp told PEOPLE, “As Mr. Depp’s counsel correctly predicted in their opening statements last month, Ms. Heard did indeed deliver ‘the performance of her life’ in her direct examination.” However, a body language expert analyzed Heard’s testimony and felt that Heard was telling the truth when she recounted graphic allegations of physical, sexual, and psychological abuse.
Body Language Expert Analyzes Amber Heard On The Stand
Body language expert Judi James told the Daily Mail that both actors probably received coaching from their respective legal teams as to how to respond on the stand, but noted that some body language tells are hard to disguise.
James explained that one thing that Heard did was smile toward the jury in order to “humanize” herself to them. “Amber’s direction of gaze and speech when she first takes the stand is important,” she said. “It is quite common for people to address their answers to the jury in the U.S. but Amber seems to create personal connections and tie-signs quickly here, beginning by smiling in the direction of the judge before turning her head towards the jury to offer her answers to questions from the legal team.”
“Her hair is also draped to her left, meaning that the jury has a clear view of her face, both in silhouette and as she turns to address them directly,” she continued, noting, “The effect would be to ‘humanize’ herself to the jury rather than isolating herself as a celebrity who they will presumably have been hearing negative comments about.”
“It shows them a certain amount of respect to them to want to address them directly as it shows a consideration of them as being in ultimate control in terms of the verdict,” James added. “It helps to build some early connections.”
“’The jury also gets to see her eyes and eyes tend to be considered one of the most revealing body parts in terms of inner feelings and emotions,” she continued. “We tend to trust people more when we can see their eye expressions so this gesture could suggest she has nothing to hide. It is of course in visual contrast to her ex-husband at the same time, who sits hunched with his eyes hidden by tinted glasses, gazing down and writing or just communicating with his team.”
Amber Heard Was Accused Of Pretending To Cry During Harrowing Testimony
Heard was visibly emotional during some of the more graphic allegations against Depp, one of which included a time when Depp allegedly gave Heard a “cavity search” while on vacation at a trailer park in Hicksville.
“The cameras made it hard to pick out if they had formed in her eyes or if her eyes had reddened. This, like everything, is a complicated point,” James noted. “When guilty people perform tears they often try to hide their dry eyes, poking them with fingers, squeezing them shut tight or prodding them with a hankie.”
“When they do cry for real the streaming tears are often prompted by self-pity,” she continued. “Amber’s seemed to be truncated, but is that acting or bad acting or the innocent complex response of someone with mixed emotions?”
James also noted that “Amber’s facial expressions became more animated when she spoke about the abuse. She spoke in detail and her expressions seemed to range from shock and bewilderment to disgust and anger. She kept her head held up and any suggestion of tears came from a change in her vocal tone and a chin-crumple.”
Although Amber Heard seemed cool and collected while Depp gave his testimony, she broke down on the stand. “Amber self-diminished during the first questions and hunched forward as she began to give her account,” James noted and said that Heard’s gestures were “congruent” with the emotions she said she was experiencing.
“Her right hand was visible as she related dramatic moments from her past and in general her gestures began before her words were formed, which is usually a sign of authenticity,” she explained. “She used whole volleys of illustrative or mime gestures as she related moments and events in detail, which would again suggest she was seeing them in her mind.”
Although Amber Heard often looked at Depp while she gave her testimony, Depp refused to look up at her at all.
“While Johnny rarely if ever looked at his ex-wife, who was sitting directly in front of him, she did seem to look at him,” James noted. “This, too, can be analyzed in two different ways: was it a signal of dominance and power, or was it a sign of openness and honesty?”
Body Language Expert Thinks Heard’s Testimony Is ‘Genuine’
James said that she also saw body language that made Amber Heard’s testimony seem “more genuine rather than rehearsed.”
“We saw her talk about her childhood and her siblings and it would be true to say that her facial expressions tend to be complex, suggesting mixed emotions, even when she is talking about something that makes her happy,” she noted.
She also looked to other facial expressions to draw her analysis. She noted that Heard’s smile “only involved the raising of one side of her mouth” and noticed that she often wrinkles her nose when she was speaking.
James said that Heard was doing this when she was “trying to search for the right words,” which is a sign of a “genuine” testimony.