Hollywood star Johnny Depp accused his ex-wife, actress Amber Heard, of conducting extra-marital affairs and lying about him beating her up as he began libel action in a London court yesterday against a British tabloid newspaper.
Depp, the 57-year-old star of the Pirates of the Caribbean films, is suing The Sun’s publisher, News Group Newspapers, and its executive editor, Dan Wootton, for libel over an article Wootton wrote in April 2018 calling him a “wife beater”.
The paper’s lawyers said they would show the claim was true and that he had beaten Heard, causing her to fear for her life, during violent rages brought on by alcohol or drugs, sometimes when he had falsely accused her of infidelity.
The actor became an alternate persona which he himself described as “the monster”, they said.
“For the avoidance of any doubt, I have never abused Heard, or, indeed, any other woman, in my life,” Depp said in a witness statement in which he characterised his ex-wife as a calculating, sociopathic, emotionally dishonest narcissist.
Wearing a dark suit and glasses and speaking in a deep clear tone, Depp gave evidence at the beginning of the case at London’s High Court.
Heard, who arrived wearing a red scarf tied around her face, is also due to give evidence.
In a written statement outlining Depp’s case, his lawyer David Sherborne said Heard had first aired the abuse allegations in May 2016, saying it was hard to think of “more extreme or violent” claims of abuse than she would make during the trial.
“The claimant’s position is clear; Heard’s allegations are complete lies,” Sherborne said.”The claimant was not violent towards Heard, it was she who was violent to him.”
In papers submitted to the court, Depp’s team also said Heard had begun an affair with Tesla chief executive Elon Musk in early 2015 shortly after they had got married and had engaged in at least one extra-marital relationship with her co-stars, with actor James Franco named.
Appearing in the witness box, American Depp said he was the victim of attacks from his ex-wife and had himself sought to avoid confrontation.
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