Actor Johnny Depp “threatened to kill” ex-wife Amber Heard “many times”, the US actress has claimed.
“He is very good at manipulating people,” said Ms Heard, alleging he was violent and she feared for her life.
Mr Depp, 57, is suing the publisher of the Sun over an article that referred to him as a “wife beater” – but the newspaper maintains it was accurate.
He denies 14 allegations of domestic violence on which News Group Newspapers is relying for its defence.
Ms Heard took to the witness stand at London’s High Court on the 10th day of the case, and her written witness statement was also submitted to the court.
In it, she accused him of verbal and physical abuse including screaming, swearing, issuing threats, punching, slapping, kicking, head-butting and choking her, as well as “extremely controlling and intimidating behaviour”.
“Some incidents were so severe that I was afraid he was going to kill me, either intentionally or just by losing control and going too far,” she said.
Ms Heard, 34, claimed Mr Depp had a “unique ability to use his charisma to convey a certain impression of reality” and “he is very good at manipulating people”.
“He would blame all his actions on a self-created third party instead of himself, which he often called ‘the monster’.
“He would speak about it as if it was another person or personality and not him doing all these things.”
She said in the beginning of their relationship, he would be “intensely affectionate, warm and charming” and it felt like she was “dating a king”.
Ms Heard said Mr Depp had pursued her romantically while they were filming The Rum Diary in 2009 and they spent time together sometimes with the director “just drinking wine and talking”.
But she said nothing happened between them at that point because she was in a relationship.
“After that shoot, I didn’t hear from him directly, although he would send me gifts,” she said.
The next time they saw each other was when they were promoting the same film in 2011. She said his publicist invited her to meet Mr Depp and the director in a hotel room for a drink, but when she got there it was just Mr Depp. “Our romantic relationship then began,” she said.
Her witness statement added: “When Johnny puts his attention on you, with all his intensity and darkness, it is unlike anything I’ve ever experienced.
“When I say he was dark, he had a violent and dark way of speaking: the way he talked about our relationship being ‘dead or alive’ and telling me that death was the only way out of the relationship.”
Ms Heard alleged that he “functions off zero accountability” and it is rare to see anyone say no to him. “I tried to, but it didn’t go down well,” she said.
She also said she thought she could “fix Johnny”, saying: “I thought he could get better and that he would, and I wanted that so badly right to the end.
“After violent episodes, his team would try to convince me to stay with him or to come back, often telling me he was sorry and would get clean for me.
“I think I stayed not only because I had hope of him getting clean and things changing, but also because of the responsibility I felt, being told I was the one to motivate him and help him to get clean.”
Earlier, from the witness stand Ms Heard told the court that she had been subjected to repeated and regular physical violence by the time of the couple’s marriage in 2015.
Mr Depp’s lawyer, Eleanor Laws QC, asked her about her allegations of an argument in January 2015, and suggested it was over discussions with lawyers about a pre-nuptial agreement between herself and Mr Depp.
“There was an argument in a hotel room in Tokyo that resulted in Johnny kneeling on my back and hitting me on the back of the head,” Ms Heard told the court.
Ms Heard said Mr Depp told her he did not want a pre-nuptial agreement but it was his sister, Christi Dembrowski, who wanted the couple to get one.
“He mentioned… it was more about Christi, his sister, who handled most of his affairs.
“He said it was Christi, that he didn’t want that, that he trusted me and, as he said to me time and time again, the only way out of this was death.”
She added: “But then Johnny was also accusing me of having an affair with a co-star and that is what led to the actual argument.”
‘Not interested in money’
Ms Heard added that she had hired a lawyer who worked on a draft pre-nuptial agreement and it was sent to Mr Depp’s team but never signed.
She denied that she was interested in Mr Depp’s money, saying: “I never had been, I never was.”
The actress was also asked by Mr Depp’s lawyer, Eleanor Laws QC, whether she had had “ultimate control in the relationship”. Ms Heard replied: “No, absolutely not.”
Asked whether she took important decisions in the relationship, Ms Heard said: “No, I had very little decision-making power in that relationship.”
The case centres on an article published on the Sun’s website in April 2018. It was headlined: “Gone Potty: How can JK Rowling be ‘genuinely happy’ casting wife beater Johnny Depp in the new Fantastic Beasts film?”.
The article related to allegations made by Ms Heard, who was married to the film star from 2015 to 2017. The hearing is expected to last for three weeks.