Johnny Depp; A Wife Beater, Court Rules.
Hollywood Star Johnny Depp With Wife Amber Heard
byNovember 4, 2020
Hollywood star Johnny Depp has lost his libel battle with a British tabloid that labelled him a "wife-beater", after a London High Court judge ruled he had repeatedly assaulted his former partner and put her in fear for her life.
In a ruling that could severely damage the 57-year-old's reputation and career, Judge Andrew Nicol said he accepted claims from the actor's ex-wife, actress Amber Heard (34), that he had violently assaulted her during their turbulent five-year relationship.
"I have found that the great majority of alleged assaults of Ms Heard by Mr Depp have been proved to the civil standard," said Nicol. "The claimant has not succeeded in his action for libel."
Depp's lawyers described the ruling as "perverse as it is bewildering", and said it would be ridiculous for him not to appeal. Depp, star of films including Pirates of the Caribbean and Edward Scissor hands, had sued News Group Newspapers, publishers of the Sun, and one of its journalists, Dan Wootton, over a 2018 article which stated he had been violent towards Heard.
Depp will appear in the new Fantastic Beasts film, which Warner Bros and JK Rowling are behind. It has just started shooting in London. However, experts now warn film bosses may shun him, and he faces a fight to salvage his career. Reputation management lawyer Mark Stephens said the ruling was "immensely damaging" and the only way the Pirates of the Caribbean icon can bounce back is to admit his issues and get treatment.
He also said:
"It's very difficult to see how children's authors like JK Rowling or children's entertainment companies like Disney can continue to promote somebody who is a wife-beating drug (user) and that, I think, is going to be the problem that he has to deal with."
Over three weeks at London's High Court in July, the judge heard evidence from both Depp and Heard about their fiery marriage, alleged affairs, his hedonistic lifestyle and battle with drink and drugs, and their furious rows.
Each accused the other of violent outbursts. Heard said Depp would turn into a jealous alter ego, "the monster", after bingeing on drugs and alcohol. He had often threatened to kill her, she said.
Heard detailed 14 occasions of extreme violence when she said the actor choked, punched, slapped, head-butted, throttled and kicked her.
Nicol said he accepted 12 of these accounts were true, including assaulting her after her 30th birthday party and one other incident which left her with black eyes. He also supported her description of a three-day ordeal of "sustained and multiple assaults" while they were in Australia.