The judge agreed with most of that characterization, repeatedly highlighting Mr. Depp’s jealously and saying that his drug use impaired his memory.
During the trial, Mr. Depp’s team said that Ms. Heard was actually the abuser, provoking arguments and, in one case in an argument in Australia, throwing a vodka bottle at him, severing his fingertip. Ms. Heard testified that Mr. Depp had severed his own fingertip in the argument while smashing a phone next to her head.
In his ruling, the judge devoted 17 pages to discussing that fight. He pointed out that after sustaining the injury, Mr. Depp had admitted painting graffiti with his own blood on the walls of a house the couple was renting while he was filming a “Pirates of the Caribbean” movie. “It is a sign of the depth of his rage,” the judge wrote.
“What exactly caused the injury is uncertain,” he said, but added, “it may well be that Mr. Depp accidentally cut his finger on a piece of broken glass.”
Mr. Depp’s team also portrayed the accusations as a hoax that Ms. Heard had constructed as an insurance policy in case the marriage broke down. “She was, according to this scenario, nothing more than a gold-digger,” Justice Nicol wrote in his ruling. “I do not accept this characterization of Ms. Heard,” he added, pointing out she had claimed to have given all of her $7 million divorce settlement to charity.
“Her donation is hardly the act one would expect of a gold-digger,” the judge said.
Ms. Heard acknowledged having once hit Mr. Depp, but told the court that she had been trying to protect her sister, whom she thought the actor was about to push down some stairs. “I will never forget it, because it was the first time after all these years that I actually struck him back,” Ms. Heard said.