Johnny Depp called his ex Vanessa Paradis, the mother of his children, a “French extortionist c***” in an email to British singer Elton John, according to the legal team for Amber Heard, Mr Depp’s ex-wife.
The defamation trial between Mr Depp and Ms Heard began on Monday 11 April in Fairfax, Virginia following Mr Depp’s lawsuit against his ex-wife in March 2019. Mr Depp is arguing that she defamed him in a December 2018 op-ed published in The Washington Post titled “I spoke up against sexual violence — and faced our culture’s wrath. That has to change”.
During his testimony, Mr Depp, 58, said Ms Heard, 36, told him that his two children, Lily-Rose Depp, 22, and John Christopher Depp III, 20, didn’t like him and that he was a “bad father”. Mr Depp said that in reality, his children didn’t like Ms Heard.
Ms Heard’s legal team pushed back against the claim by sharing a 2013 email from Mr Depp to Sir Elton, in which Mr Depp shared his displeasure with Ms Paradis, 49 – his partner from 1998 until 2012.
Mr Depp wrote to Sir Elton concerning his mother’s health problems – Betty Sue Palmer later passed away in 2016 – before adding that his kids had “fallen head over heels” for Ms Heard and that Ms Paradis would be attempting to “brainwash” their children to go against her.
“On the other side of the coin… my kids have fallen head over heels in deep love with Amber (my girl) and that pressure off my shoulders is f***ing gone!!!,” Mr Depp wrote. “That is unlike the ‘French extortionist (ex c***) attempts to brain wash them against her… which, I’m sure is imminent.”
Mr Depp spoke about his friendship with Sir Elton, saying he helped him to get sober and to get away from the “monster” of alcoholism early on in his relationship with Ms Heard. Mr Depp said he drank a lot following his 2012 split from Ms Paradis. Mr Depp and Ms Heard married in 2015 after having met on the set of The Rum Diary in 2011.
Mr Depp said he texted Sir Elton in 2012 to thank him. “If it weren’t for you, I would’ve been swallowed up by the monster if it weren’t for you. That is a simple fact,” he wrote.
“Elton was a dear friend who had been sober for 40 years … We had [a] discussion, and he wanted me to get clean, sober,” Mr Depp said in court.
In her 2018 op-ed, Ms Heard wrote that “like many women, I had been harassed and sexually assaulted by the time I was of college age. But I kept quiet — I did not expect filing complaints to bring justice. And I didn’t see myself as a victim”.
“Then two years ago, I became a public figure representing domestic abuse, and I felt the full force of our culture’s wrath for women who speak out,” she added at the time.
While Mr Depp isn’t named in the piece, his legal team argues that it contains a “clear implication that Mr Depp is a domestic abuser”, which they say is “categorically and demonstrably false”. Mr Depp is seeking damages of “not less than $50m”.
Ms Heard has filed a $100m counterclaim against Mr Depp for nuisance and immunity from his allegations.
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