Johnny Depp and Amber Heard’s 'volatile' relationship is currently being re-lived in front of the High Court in London
Hollywood actor Johnny Depp is in London – but this time, it’s not for a glamorous film premiere.
Today he’s embroiled in a legal battle with the publishers of The Sun newspaper, over a 2018 article that called him a ‘wife beater’. The website headline read: ‘Gone Potty: How can JK Rowling be ‘genuinely happy’ casting wife beater Johnny Depp in the new Fantastic Beasts film?’
The Sun’s original article related to sexual violence allegations made by actress Amber, who was married to Pirates of the Caribbean star Johnny Depp from 2015 to 2017. In the column she wrote in 2018 for The Washington Post, Heard brought up the physical abuse allegations she had made against her former husband, without naming him directly.
In the High Court in London, the 57-year-old is giving evidence as a witness during his libel case. He denies 14 occasions when he is said to have assaulted her during cocaine and alcohol binges. He maintains that he never hit her.
The court has been told the A-Lister first attacked Amber in 2013, when she mocked the tattoo he had altered following his split from actress Winona Ryder. Depp said, ‘That is not correct. That’s not true. It did not happen. I did not hit Miss Heard.’
Other alleged incidents include claims Mr Depp held one of Ms Heard’s dogs out of a car window, that he hit her several times after an argument about a painting by her ex-partner, Tasya van Ree, which was hanging in her Los Angeles home, plus an alleged incident on a flight from Boston to Los Angeles in May 2014, where Depp is accused of slapping Amber ‘in a blind rage,’ and calling her a ‘slut’ and a ‘whore’.
Amber, 34, who watched from the witness box as he gave evidence, met the actor after they starred together in 2011 movie The Rum Diary. Amber, who was married to Johnny for 15 months, reached a $7 million (£5.6 million) divorce settlement in January 2017.
In a joint statement, the couple acknowledged their relationship was ‘volatile’ and that neither of them had intended any physical or emotional harm. Heard also mentioned she would donate the proceeds from the divorce to a charity.
The High Court also heard details of the email Amber wrote to the actor – but never sent – saying ‘It’s like Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde. Half of you, I love. Madly. The other half scares me.’
Depp, diagnosed by a doctor as being bipolar and suffering from ADHD, depression and chronic substance misuse disorder, is accusing his ex-wife of ‘building a dossier’ against him – starting from even before they married, which appeared to be an ‘insurance policy for later’.
Depp has also accused Heard of abusing him throughout the relationship. In one of the more sensational claims, Depp told the court that during their marriage, Heard or one of her friends had defecated in their bed.
Witnesses including Mr Depp’s former partners Vanessa Paradis and Winona Ryder are expected to give evidence via video link, in the case that is expected to last three weeks. The Sun is defending its article.