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Kate James, Amber Heard's former assistant, testified at the actress' defamation trial on Thursday.
Johnny Depp has accused ex Amber Heard of defaming him by suggesting that he abused her.
James said she never witnessed the couple fighting, but said Heard verbally accosted her regularly.
Amber Heard was painted as a boss from hell on Thursday, as her former personal assistant testified in the actress's defamation trial in Virginia.
Heard is being sued by her ex-husband, Johnny Depp, for $50 million, on allegations that she defamed him by describing herself as a "figure representing domestic violence" in a 2018 op-ed in the Washington Post.
Heard responded to Depp's lawsuit by countersuing, and claiming that he physically assaulted her on 10 occasions throughout their relationship. The couple divorced in 2016, after Heard filed for a protective order in court, with what appeared to be a bruise on her face.
Lawyers for Depp presented a prerecorded video deposition to jurors on Thursday taken by Kate James, who worked as Heard's personal assistant for three years, between 2012 and 2015.
During that time, James said she never witnessed Heard and Depp arguing or getting into physical altercations, nor did she notice any evidence of domestic violence during her regular visits to the couple's respective homes.
She said Heard did, however, contact her in distress after arriving back to their home in Los Angeles after a private flight with Depp in May 2014. Heard alleged in court filings that Depp kicked her and threw objects at her on the flight because he was upset about a romantic scene she had filmed the day prior with James Franco.
But James expressed some disbelief in Heard's story, commenting that she found her behavior strange that day.
James said the "first thing that flagged" in her mind was the fact that Heard went to the Chateau Marmont hotel after arriving in Los Angeles, instead of her own home in West Hollywood.
James said Heard then spent the day drinking by the pool, surrounded by her friends.
Boss from hell
James, who said she had 10 years of experience by the time Heard hired her, painted the actress as a bad boss.
She said she initially took the position for $25 per hour because the schedule was flexible enough for her to be able to pick up her son after school. But about six months into the job, James said, it became a full-time position. She says Heard screamed at her when she pushed back against the $50,000 salary Heard offered, which she said was about half of what she usually makes.
"She leapt out of her chair and put her face approximately four inches from my face, spitting in my face, how dare I ask for the salary I'm asking for," James recalled.
James said a handyman witnessed the exchange and was "mortified and so embarrassed" to hear Heard speak to her like that.
James said the salary offer was "very insulting" but she decided to take it anyway because she had grandfathered in the ability to pick up her son from school and bring him to work with her in the afternoons.
James's work for Heard overlaps with the period in which Heard alleged in her countersuit that Depp abused her on numerous occasions. According to Heard, Depp abused drugs and alcohol and often worked himself up into episodes of violence in which he'd physically assault her.
Depp alleges the abuse came from the other direction — that Heard belittled him for his age and physical shape, and often slapped or punched him. His lawyer alleged that Heard wanted to undermine his career.
In the view of James, Heard flew into irrational rages on numerous occasions. She described one incident when Heard yelled at her for leaving some magazines out in the house that were supposed to be stored in the garage.
When Heard found the magazines lying out she went "absolutely ballistic," James testified.
James couldn't recall exactly what Heard said but said Heard went into a "blind rage ... screaming, yelling abuse."
James said Heard also regularly screamed at her over the phone and would send "a barrage of abusive text messages" to her, often in the early hours of the morning.
"Between 2 and 4 a.m., the barrage would start, all incoherent, not really making sense," James said.
She said that Heard "often appeared intoxicated."
In awe of Depp
Meanwhile, James had only nice things to say about Depp, who she described as "a total Southern gentleman.'
She said she learned that Heard was dating Depp about a month into working with her, and met Depp not long after at Heard's home in West Hollywood.
James' first impressions of Depp were that he was "peaceful, calm, and very quiet."
Over the years she worked with Heard, she regularly interacted with Depp and said she never saw him be rude or yell at anyone.
"He was always completely passive," she said.
She also said that Depp took an interest in her son, who was 4 years old when she first started working with Amber.
James says Depp would give her son guitar lessons, brought him gifts back from vacations, and even played around with him in his elaborate prosthetic makeup for his 2015 movie "Black Mass."
"He gave my son a little guitar pick that he cherishes to this day," she said.
While she didn't see evidence of domestic violence, James said that she didn't think Heard and Depp's relationship was on solid footing. But she blamed that mostly on Heard.
"It did not seem like a perfect relationship to me based on a lot of insecurity on her behalf," she said.
She said some of Heard's text messages suggested she had some personal issues, but they were never made clear to James.
"Occasionally, she would send a text message about her 'mental state,' but it was never clear what was going on," James said.
Heard's lawyers tried to portray James as a bitter ex-employee through their questioning, which highlighted the awkward way that James was terminated in 2015.
James said she was let go shortly after Heard returned home from her wedding in the Caribbean in February 2015, saying that her mother was sick and that she would need to let James go in order to take care of her.
James said she felt shocked and "blindsided" by the decision, and wished that Heard would have given her some notice so that she could look for another job.
Heard's lawyers also got James to admit that she asked to be put on Depp's payroll, and to stay in one of Depp's homes since she was worried about making mortgage payments while out of work, but was denied both.
James hadn't been working for Heard for more than a year by the time that Depp and Heard split amid accusations of domestic violence on Depp's part.
But she admitted to meeting with Depp after the breakup, after he sent her a text message asking her to come over, and saying "we'll fix her flabby ass nice and good" — an apparent reference to Heard.
James said she couldn't recall what was discussed the afternoon she went over to Depp's house, but said Heard was likely discussed since she was how they both knew each other.
Read the original article on Insider