Johnny Depp finally finishes giving evidence in ‘wife beater’ libel case

PA Reporters
·6-min read

Johnny Depp finally finished giving evidence in his high-profile libel case against The Sun after around 20 hours in the witness box over five days.

The Pirates Of The Caribbean star, 57, claimed that allegations of domestic violence made by his ex-wife Amber Heard, 34, “mirrored” her abuse towards him.

On the final day of his evidence at the Royal Courts of Justice in London on Monday, Mr Depp said: “It seemed like everything she would accuse me of was something she had done to me.”

The actor also accused Ms Heard of throwing a “haymaker” punch at him during a row after her 30th birthday party, just hours after he had learned during a “bad” business meeting that he had lost 650 million US dollars (£514 million).

The High Court also heard that Mr Depp has a “remarkable” ability to not get drunk despite drinking “a lot of alcohol”, that cocaine simply “brought him to a normal level which normal people might operate at” and jokingly referred to himself as “Shatter” while playing The Mad Hatter in Alice In Wonderland.

Johnny Depp court case
Court artist sketch of actor Johnny Depp (Elizabeth Cook/PA)

Mr Depp is suing the tabloid’s publisher News Group Newspapers (NGN) and its executive editor Dan Wootton over an April 2018 article which labelled him a “wife beater”.

His barrister David Sherborne referred to a “secret recording” of the former couple in San Francisco in July 2016, after they had split and Ms Heard had obtained a restraining order against the actor.

In the recording, Ms Heard can be heard to say it was “unbelievable to imagine” that she had either been “in a secret fight club” or “plotting to do this for three years … just saving it up for the right time” when she was not asking for any money, adding “no-one is going to believe that”.

Mr Depp described Ms Heard’s words as “a reverse confession”, adding: “It seemed like everything she would accuse me of was something that she had done to me, so I started to see this kind of pattern, a mirroring, and when she said that, I was real taken aback, for sure.”

Johnny Depp court case
Actress Amber Heard (Aaron Chown/PA)

Mr Sherborne said Mr Depp can also be heard to say “you f****** haymakered me, man” in the recording – which is said to refer to an incident after Ms Heard’s 30th birthday party at the couple’s LA penthouse on April 21 2016.

The actor is accused of throwing a bottle of champagne at Ms Heard, grabbing her by the hair, and pushing her during a row, after he arrived home late for the party. Mr Depp denies the allegations.

The actor said that, at a business meeting on the day of Ms Heard’s party, he was “in the early stages” of finding out from a new business manager that “the former business managers had (taken) quite a lot of my money”.

Asked how much had been taken, Mr Depp said: “It was put to me this way, because I had no idea about money or amounts of money.

“Since Pirates (Of The Caribbean) 2 and 3, I had – and this is ludicrous to have to state, it’s quite embarrassing – apparently I had made 650 million US dollars and when I sacked them, for the right reasons, I had not only lost 650 million dollars, but I was 100 million dollars (£79 million) in the hole because they (the previous business managers) had not paid the government my taxes for 17 years.”

Mr Depp was also shown a photograph, apparently taken by his ex-wife, which showed him in August 2014 with “ice cream spilled all over my leg” shortly before he was due to go to the Bahamas for a detox.

The actor said the picture was taken at a time when he had been working 17-hour days and was “very tired, falling asleep”.

59th BFI London Film Festival – Black Mass Premiere
Amber Heard and Johnny Depp married in Los Angeles in February 2015 (Jonathan Brady/PA)

The court also heard evidence from Mr Depp’s former personal assistant, Stephen Deuters, who alleged Ms Heard “was the abuser in the relationship”.

Mr Deuters, who is now European president of Mr Depp’s production company, Infinitum Nihil, said that during the period in which Mr Depp is alleged to have been abusive towards Ms Heard, he saw her “on many occasions” and “at no point” did she “ever mention any physical abuse”.

He told that court that he was “extremely surprised and outraged” when it became public that Ms Heard had filed for a restraining order.

Mr Deuters’ described the couple’s tempestuous relationship as “not great”, saying: “I think they were two people that were in love with each other that shouldn’t have been together.”

The front desk supervisor at Mr Depp’s LA penthouse building also gave evidence that she saw “no visible injuries whatsoever to Ms Heard’s face” three days after Mr Depp allegedly hit his ex-wife in the face with her own mobile phone on May 21 2016.

Trinity Esparza said the first time she saw any marks on Ms Heard’s face that week was on May 27, the day the Aquaman actress appeared in court to obtain a restraining order against Mr Depp, which “disturbed” Ms Esparza.

Ms Esparza, who owns the company that provided concierge services at the Eastern Columbia building where Mr Depp previously owned five apartments, said in her witness statement that she “saw and interacted with Ms Heard on May 23, May 24 and May 25 with a clear and unmarked face”.

Sasha Wass QC, representing NGN, said to Ms Esparza: “Isn’t it more accurate to say you saw her earlier in the week and you didn’t notice it?”

Ms Esparza replied: “That is not accurate, I saw her very clearly.”

Ms Esparza also told the court that she saw “a number of marks on Ms Heard’s body” – including bruises on her neck, plasters on her arm and a mark below her left eye – on a day in June or July 2016, shortly after Tesla founder Elon Musk left the building at around 9am looking “like he had just woken up with messy hair”.

Mr Depp is suing NGN and its executive editor Dan Wootton over the publication of an article on April 27 2018 with the headline: “Gone Potty: How can JK Rowling be ‘genuinely happy’ casting wife beater Johnny Depp in the new Fantastic Beasts film?”

NGN is defending the article as true, and says Mr Depp was “controlling and verbally and physically abusive towards Ms Heard, particularly when he was under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs”.

On Tuesday, the court is due to hear evidence from Malcolm Connolly, part of Mr Depp’s security team; Tara Roberts, the property manager at Mr Depp’s Bahamas home; Ms Heard’s assistant Savannah McMillan; and Hilda Vargas, Mr Depp’s housekeeper at his LA properties.