Johnny Depp’s former friend says Marilyn Manson isn’t to blame for actor’s drug use

‘But yeah, him and Manson would it hit it pretty hard as well,’ Bruce Witkin gave evidence in the multi-million dollar defamation lawsuit on Thursday (19 May)

Maanya Sachdeva
Thursday 19 May 2022 17:08
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Johnny Depp’s former long-time friend Bruce Witkin testified on Thursday (19 May) that Marilyn Manson isn’t to blame for the Pirates actor’s drug use.

While on the stand, Depp – who was briefly married to Witkin’s sister-in-law Lori Anne Allison – claimed he once gave Manson a pill to stop him from talking so much.

Depp’s admission was part of his testimony in the $50m defamation lawsuit he filed against ex-wife Amber Heard. The actor claims Heard’s 2018 op-ed in The Washington Post, implying he abused her, has adversely impacted Depp’s ability to land big-ticket Hollywood roles.

Heard is countersuing Depp for $100m for nuisance and immunity from his allegations.

Witkin, former bass player for The Kids – Depp’s band before he became an actor – testified that Depp and Manson would “hit it pretty hard”.

When asked whether Witkin had any “personal knowledge of observing Depp and Manson together”, the music producer replied: “Yeah but you can’t blame somebody’s drug use on someone else. But yeah, him and Manson would it hit it pretty hard as well.”

Clarifying his statement, Witkin added: “They would drink and smoke weed, I don’t know if I ever saw Manson do blow, but I would assume that he did. He’s done everything else.”

Manson has been accused of physical, sexual and psychological abuse by multiple women, including actors Evan Rachel Wood and Esmé Bianco. He has vehemently denied all of the allegations against him.

Earlier in his testimony, when Witkin was asked whether Depp abused any illicit drugs, the former responded: “I think abuse is the wrong word, but yeah, it was going on. It wasn’t like crazy rock and roll house, no. But I wouldn’t call it abuse.

“Getting high,” Witkin said, when Heard’s lawyer asked him what word he would use to describe Depp’s drug usage instead.

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Evidence submitted on behalf of Ms Heard in the multi-million dollar defamation trial

Witkin also testified to a period of sobriety in Depp’s life “right around when he did Lone Ranger.”

“He seemed really focused, and wasn’t drinking,” Witkin told the court, adding, “I went to visit him in New Mexico, Amber was there. Everything was different. He was proud of it, he wasn’t drinking. Think he was smoking a little weed but that was it.”

During her testimony, Heard told the court that Depp “would pass out, and get sick, and lose control of himself. And people would find him, and fix him up ... I would take pictures to document it.”

The court has been shown pictures of Depp appearing to be asleep in a chair. Heard said this image was taken in the Bahamas and came after a “stint of sobriety”. She added that Depp then started drinking again with his friend, British actor Paul Bettany.

In another picture shown to the court, Depp is slumped forward. Heard said he was “on a drugs binge, no eating, little or no sleep ... and that would just go on all day long”.

Heard and Depp met on the set of the film The Rum Diary in 2011 and began dating in 2012, after the actor split from his longtime partner, French actor Vanessa Paradis.

The couple were married in February 2015 but, in May 2016, Heard filed for divorce from the actor – citing irreconcilable differences.

That same month, a judge granted the Aquaman actor a restraining order against Depp over allegations of domestic violence on his part.

Follow live updates of the trial here.

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