Actor’s libel case against Sun over term ‘wife-beater’ begins in UK high court
Johnny Depp admitted the excessive use of alcohol, drugs and dirty hotel rooms, but denied accusing his ex-wife Amber Heard of abusing her in his battle for defaming the Sun, which accused him of “wife-beater”.
Depp’s lawyers said that the charges of violence brought forward by Hurd were “invented,” and he categorically denied that he had ever raped her.
Giving evidence at the Royal Courts of Justice in London, Depp repeatedly insisted that he was never a man prone to violence, but was the one who sought to become a “southern gentleman.”
On the opening day of the three-week trial, a 57-year-old Hollywood actor challenged Heard’s stories about domestic violence during their marriage.
The lawsuit was filed by Depp after Sun and executive editor Dan Wootton published an article describing him as beating his wife based on allegations made by Hurd. Heard, 34, who was in court, is due to testify for the newspaper in the coming days.
Written submissions by the parties were published at the beginning of the hearing. In one of the witness’s testimonies, Depp claimed that Hurd repeatedly hit him in the face and partially chopped off his finger by throwing a bottle of vodka.
In another statement, the Pirates of the Caribbean and Edward Scissorhands star described her as a “calculating, diagnosed borderline personality” and a daffodil who married him to advance her career path.
David Sherborne, Depp’s barrister, said Heard had “invented these stories of serious violence. He is not and never has been a wife-beater.”
“Indeed, he says that it was Ms. Hurd who was the one who started the physical battles, who punched him or punched him (and he could do little to stop it); she was the offender, not him.
In his statement, Depp also said that he decided to divorce Hurd after she or “perhaps one of her friends” defecated in their family bed, and she dismissed it as a “harmless joke.” He said it was the last straw in their crumbling marriage.
A statement released by the News Group newspapers by Sun publishers said it would demonstrate “that Mr. Depp’s description of” beating his wife “is absolutely accurate and truthful.”
He added: “The sting of the articles is correct – namely, that [Depp] beat his wife Amber Heard, as a result of which she was seriously injured and sometimes led to her being afraid for her life.”
The newspaper said that Hurd “paves its own path in the acting profession and does not want to play the role of the spouse of the applicant. As a result of her own career, disputes arose more and more when Ms. Hurd’s professional life was confronted with Mr. Depp’s desire to dominate the relationship. ”
After Depp entered the witness box, the charges and counter-charges intensified. The hearing showed a short clip shot by Hurd on his cell phone, which showed Depp drinking wine at the beginning of the day and breaking bottles or glasses in his kitchen.
Depp once admitted that he spent more than $30,000 a month on wine before heading for rehab. But he added: “Yes, I drank in excess, but drinking in large quantities does not mean that you are out of control … Violence is not what I am looking for.”
He recalled that he had avoided a confrontation with Hurd. “Whenever these situations escalated, I tried to go to my corner. I wanted to separate before things got out of hand. ”
When asked about Sasha Wass QC’s drug use for Sun, Depp said he first started taking his mother’s “nerve pills” at the age of 11. He supported an earlier interview that he gave to a magazine in which he said: “I made all kinds of drugs exist by 14 years.”
He denied ever engaging in “destructive behavior.” He took drugs at first, he said, because “it was the only thing I found to drown out the pain.” He did not take ketamine, but agreed that he used cocaine, ecstasy, LSD, mushrooms and cannabis.
Wass suggested that Depp was the one who often expressed his anger by “breaking” hotel rooms. She led him through one incident when he was said to have caused nearly $ 10,000 worth of damage to a room in a New York hotel.
“I don’t know the exact amount of damage,” Depp replied. “I made a few dents. Yes. “According to him, this was the culmination of a” particularly bad couple of days “because he was” spoiled by a friend. ”
“I was angry,” he added. “This does not mean that I have a problem with anger. Then I decided to express my anger. He denied that this happened because he had a falling out with a girlfriend.
His earlier relationship with actor Ellen Barkin was also investigated by Wass. She accused him of throwing a bottle in her direction.
Depp replied: “Miss Barkin’s statement about what she believes has happened is not what happened. “I do not want to call anyone a liar, but I can say that this never happened.”
Answering a question about his view of himself, Depp sometimes stopped for thought and offered personal thoughts. “When someone strives to become a great gentleman, to be a great southern gentleman, this does not exclude you from a family of people experiencing moments of disappointment,” he said in one of the answers.
Heard’s spokeswoman said in a statement before the court: “Amber was never asked to conduct this trial. Amber received an injunction against domestic violence against Depp back in 2016 and tried to continue her life.
“It was Johnny Depp who brought the case against the British newspaper and dragged it to British courts to testify about some of the saddest moments of her life.”