Actor Johnny Depp has lost his libel case against the British tabloid The Sun, which called him a “wife beater.”
Johnny Depp filed a suit against News Group Newspapers, who publishes The Sun, and The Sun’s executive editor, Dan Wooton. In the article in question, Wooton wrote in 2018 that there were at least 14 different occasions in which Depp had been violent towards his ex-wife, Amber Heard. Both Depp and Heard gave their evidence over three weeks this July at London’s High Court.
On Monday, November 2, 2020, Justice Andrew Nicol said that both News Group Newspapers and Wooton had “shown that what they published…was substantially true.” Nicol also said of Heard, “taking all the evidence together, I accept that she was the victim of sustained and multiple assaults by Mr. Depp in Australia.” Johnny Depp’s lawyers have called the ruling “perverse” and that the actor plans to appeal.
Johnny Depp also has a separate case against Amber Heard, this one over an article Heard wrote in the Washington Post in which she alleged Depp had been violent towards her. Currently, Depp is hoping to delay the trial until 2021, so that the actor can complete shooting on Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them 3, which is currently shooting.
In the upcoming Washington Post case, Johnny Depp is suing Amber Heard for $50 million, however, Heard’s lawyer Elaine Charlson Bredehoft is confident that her defendant will once again win. She stated that Heard’s win was not a surprise and that, “Very soon, we will be presenting even more voluminous evidence in the U.S. We are committed to obtaining justice for Amber Heard in the U.S. court and defending Ms. Heard’s right to free speech.”
During London’s libel case, Johnny Depp told the court that he had never been violent towards Heard. Instead, Depp claimed that Heard often attacked him, even saying that during a fight, Heard had thrown a vodka bottle at him, which had led him to lose the tip of a finger. Justice Nicol said of the incident, “It is a sign of the depth of his rage that he admitted scrawling graffiti in blood from his injured finger and then, when that was insufficient, dipping his badly injured finger in paint and continuing to write messages and other things.”
While Justice Nicol did agree that 12 of the alleged domestic violence incidents had occurred, there were two incidents the Justice would not rule as having occurred. In one incident, which occurred on December 2014, Justice Nicol said he was not persuaded the event counted as a physical assault. Another in November of 2015 was not able to be proven because it was not discussed with Johnny Depp in cross-examination.
Justice Nicol also said that a theme in Johnny Depp’s evidence was stating that Amber Heard had constructed these incidents as part of a hoax in order to get money from Depp. Despite Depp claiming this, Nicol stated, “I do not accept this characterization of Ms. Heard.”
In a written testimony presented to the court in July, Amber Heard stated that Johnny Depp has threatened to kill her many times and that the actor had subjected her to “punching, slapping, kicking, head-butting and choking” during their relationship. In this statement, Amber Heard also detailed an incident in January 2015, while she and Johnny Depp were in Tokyo, where a fight over their prenuptial agreement led to Depp kneeling on her back and hitting her in the back of the head.
Heard also said that Depp is “very good at manipulating people” and that he would blame these incidents on another person that he would call the “monster.” Heard stated that while some of these incidents were intentional by Depp, some of them involved him losing control and going too far. In her testimony against Depp, Heard said that because of the alcohol and drugs that he used, it was as if from his perspective, these incidents weren’t happening to him.
Johnny Depp’s lawyer, David Sherborne, had argued that Amber Heard was a compulsive liar and had Depp’s ex-girlfriends Winona Ryder and Vanessa Paradis give character witness statements claiming that Depp had never been violent towards them.
Johnny Depp and Amber Heard began their relationship soon after Depp and Vanessa Paradis split in 2012. The two had met on the set of The Rum Diary in 2009, and the couple was married in February 2015. By May 2016, Heard had filed for divorce from Depp, and obtained a restraining order against him, claiming he was physically and verbally abusive. The two reached a settlement in August 2016 and were finally divorced in January 2017. Johnny Depp paid $7 million to Amber Heard due to their settlement, which Heard donated to charity.
In a joint statement made after the pair’s relationship had ended, Johnny Depp and Amber Heard stated, “Our relationship was intensely passionate and at times volatile but always bound by love.” The statement continued, “Neither party has made false accusations for financial gain. There was never any intent of physical or emotional harm. Amber wishes the best for Johnny in the future.”
The troubles between the couple are far from over, as Johnny Depp’s case against Amber Heard for her Washington Post article is still to come, yet the evidence and the courts as of right now seem to point in Amber Heard’s favor.