In April 2018 The Sun newspaper wrote an article claiming US film star Johnny Depp had beaten his actress wife Amber Heard. Depp has always denied he was guilty of domestic violence and the libel trial at the High Court in London is drawing to an end.
Hollywood star Johnny Depp’s libel trial against News Group Newspapers, publishers of the Sun newspaper, and executive editor Ben Wootton is expected to end next week.
Depp, 57, has always denied committing any violence towards his second wife, Amber Heard, 34, and is suing over a 2018 article which labelled him a “wife beater” and questioned his casting in the “Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them” franchise.
Depp and Heard met in 2011, married in 2015 and divorced two years later.
The libel trial at the High Court in London has heard evidence involving a number of celebrities, although none of them have testified in person. So who is taking whose side?
Johnny Depp’s supporters included his former partners Winona Ryder and Vanessa Paradis, both of whom had been prepared to give evidence in court but were told at the last minute it was not necessary as The Sun was not suggesting he had been violent to anyone but Heard.
Ryder, a Hollywood actress who Depp dated between 1989 and 1993, gave a witness statement in which she said: “I understand that it is very important that I speak from my own experience, as I obviously was not there during his marriage to Amber, but, from my experience, which was so wildly different, I was absolutely shocked, confused and upset when I heard the accusations against him.”
She said: “The idea that he is an incredibly violent person is the farthest thing from the Johnny I knew and loved. I cannot wrap my head around these accusations.”
Ryder, 48, added: “I truly and honestly only know him as a really good man – an incredibly loving, extremely caring guy who was so very protective of me and the people that he loves, and I felt so very, very safe with him.”
Paradis, who was in a relationship with Depp between 1998 and 2012, said: “I have known Johnny for more than 25 years and we raised our two children together. Through all these years I’ve known Johnny to be a kind, attentive, generous and non-violent person and father.”
The French singer and model, 47, said she was aware of the allegations Heard had made but insisted: “This is nothing like the true Johnny I have known and from my personal experience of many years I can say he was never violent or abusive to me.”
The court also heard evidence about text messages between Depp and his close friend Paul Bettany, a British actor who has starred in Avengers: Infinity War and Captain America: Civil War.
Depp and Bettany appeared together in three films – The Tourist, Mortdecai and Transcendence – and the High Court heard they shared a similar dark sense of humour.
At one point The Sun’s barrister, Sasha Wass QC, read out a text message exchange between Depp and Bettany in which they joked about burning Heard “because she was a witch”.