In UK libel case, Johnny Depp denies hitting ex-wife Amber Heard
LONDON — Johnny Depp denied hitting ex-wife Amber Heard in a jealous rage, dangling her tiny dog out a car window and being a Jekyll-and-Hyde monster, as he was cross-examined for a second day Wednesday by a lawyer for British tabloid The Sun. The newspaper is defending a libel claim after calling the Hollywood star a “wife-beater.”
Depp is suing The Sun’s publisher, News Group Newspapers, and its executive editor, Dan Wootton, over an April 2018 article that said he had physically abused Heard.
The case opened Tuesday at the High Court in London, with Depp sitting in the witness box and denying Heard’s allegations that he assaulted her on multiple occasions.
The “Pirates of the Caribbean” star said Heard’s “sick” claims that he assaulted her on multiple occasions were “totally untrue.” He called his ex-wife sociopathic, narcissistic, and emotionally dishonest.
Depp, 57, and Heard, 34, met on the set of the 2011 comedy “The Rum Diary” and married in Los Angeles in February 2015. They divorced in 2017, and now bitterly accuse one another of abuse.
While Heard isn’t on trial, the case is a showdown between the former spouses, who accuse each other of being controlling, violent, and deceitful during their tempestuous marriage.
The Sun’s defense relies on Heard’s allegations of 14 incidents of violence by Depp between 2013 and 2016, in locations including Los Angeles, Australia, Japan, the Bahamas, and a chartered jet. He denies them all and says Heard, an actress and model, attacked him with items including a drink can and a cigarette, and severed his finger by throwing a vodka bottle at him.
Cross-examining Depp, The Sun’s lawyer, Sasha Wass, recounted an allegation of abuse that Heard says took place at her home in March 2013. She said Depp became enraged at a painting by Heard’s former partner, artist Tasya van Ree, that hung in Heard’s bedroom.
Depp acknowledged that he “could be jealous” but denied Heard’s claim that he took the painting off the wall, tried to set it on fire, and slapped Heard when she intervened.
“I did not hit Ms. Heard and furthermore I have never hit Ms. Heard,” said Depp, who wore a gray suit, blue shirt, and patterned tie for his court appearance.
He also denied hitting Heard in 2013 after she laughed at a tattoo he had that read “Wino Forever.” He said he’d had it altered from “Winona Forever” after he split up with actress Winona Ryder years earlier.
“I don’t recall any argument about any of my tattoos,” Depp said.
Depp rejected every allegation of violence put to him by Wass, dismissing the claims as “not correct” and “patently untrue.”
Asked about an incident in which he allegedly dangled Heard’s Yorkshire terrier, Pistol, out a car window, Depp said “it is absolute, utter falsity.”
“That is not my idea of fun, although my sense of humor is rather skewed,” he said.
He denied the lawyer’s suggestion that his memory had been impaired by alcohol and drug abuse.
Wass has tried to paint Depp as a volatile personality with a longstanding drug habit and an anger-management problem.
Depp acknowledged taking both prescription and illegal substances since childhood, but said Heard’s claim he became a “monster” when he drank and took drugs was “delusional.”
The lawyer read out an email to Depp that Heard had composed in 2013 but never sent, in which she said he was “like Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde” and called his behavior a “full-on disco blood bath.”
Depp said Heard’s claims of abuse were a “hoax” and said the email was evidence “that Ms Heard was building a dossier” as “an insurance policy for later.”
Depp and Wass also clashed over whether Heard had tried to curb his drinking and drug use. Heard claims she tried to support Depp to become sober and never took cocaine during their relationship.
“There were many times in our relationship, early on, where not only did she chop the cocaine with a razor blade into lines, she would then take the cocaine on her finger and rub it on her gums,” Depp said.
When Wass said Heard often had two or three glasses of wine during an evening, Depp shot back: “Two or three bottles.”
“That is complete nonsense, Mr. Depp,” the lawyer said.
Heard is attending court and is expected to give evidence later in the trial, which is scheduled to last three weeks.