Johnny Depp libel trial: Actor says Amber Heard’s domestic abuse claims part of ‘conspiracy’

Former spouse ‘put her heads together’ with others to frame star as ‘wife beater’, court hears

Kate Ng
Friday 10 July 2020 16:03
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Johnny Depp believes his ex-wife Amber Heard and “various other people” collaborated in creating a “hoax” to accuse him of domestic violence, the High Court heard on the fourth day of the actor’s libel case against The Sun.

The 57-year-old Hollywood actor previously said during the second day of hearings that the allegations of abuse were a “hoax” his ex-wife built up over the years as an “insurance policy”.

Depp is suing The Sun’s publisher, News Group Newspapers (NGN) and its executive editor, Dan Wootton, over a 2018 article that labelled him a “wife beater” and alleged that he attacked Heard, 34, during their relationship.

He has strenuously denied the accusations. On Friday, Sasha Wass QC, representing NGN, asked Depp about “the hoax which you have put forward as an explanation for Heard’s conduct”.

“As I understand it, she has put her heads together with various other people to make it look as if you were a wife beater, when the reality is that you weren’t,” she said.

Depp said that was the case.

The High Court also heard of a “defecation incident” in which faeces was found in the former couple’s bed. Depp told the court he had been “convinced it was either Ms Heard herself or one of her cohort involved in leaving human faeces on the bed”.

Ms Wass suggested that it had been left by Boo, one of the couple’s two Yorkshire terriers, who “had problems with her toilet habits”.

But the Pirates of the Caribbean actor said the dogs were “very well-trained” and the faeces “was not left by a three- or four-pound dog”.

He told the court it was “a mystery”, but added that he thought the incident was an “oddly fitting end to the relationship”.

Over the past three and a half days in the witness box, Depp has described in detail his volatile relationship with Heard that descended into screaming matches which sometimes turned physical, involving drugs and alcohol. But he has strongly denied allegations by Heard that he hit her or physically abused her by throwing things at her, including a claim that he threw a magnum bottle of champagne at her after her birthday party in April 2016.

Actress Amber Heard with Bianca Butti (right) arriving at the High Court in London

The two actors met in 2011 on the set of The Rum Diary and married in Los Angeles in February 2015. Heard filed for divorce the following year and obtained a restraining order against Depp on the grounds of domestic abuse.

After their separation, the court heard, Depp sent a text message to his ex-wife in which he said: “All my love and regrets… I wish you nothing but good”.

However, by June 2016, Depp said he had become “quite bitter” about the relationship because he felt he was being publicly depicted as a “wife beater” and had gone from “Cinderella to Quasimodo in 0.6 seconds and I was without a voice”.

Johnny Depp with ex-wife Amber Heard in September 2015 (AFP/Getty)

He wrote a foul-mouthed text to an associate that Heard was “begging for total global humiliation… she’s gonna get it”.

Depp’s lawyer, David Sherborne, read out medical notes on Heard, which referred to her own “history of substance abuse, including addiction to cocaine and liquor”.

The notes also referred to Ms Heard having had “severe outbursts of anger and rage” and having “reported [an] increase in verbal disagreements resulting in anxiety”.

It also added that Heard “expressed she had difficulty dealing with feelings of insecurity and jealousy when not in the presence of her husband”.

Ms Sherborne asked Depp if the medical notes accorded with how he experienced his relationship with Heard, which Depp confirmed they did.

The trial is expected to last three weeks.

Additional reporting by Press Association

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