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AFP
July 8, 2020

Depp ‘not a wife-beater’, libel trial told

World

AFP
July 8, 2020

Johnny Depp strenuously denied being violent to his ex-wife Amber Heard and claimed a British tabloid article that accused him of being a "wife-beater" caused "serious harm" to his reputation, a London court was told on Tuesday.

The Hollywood star’s denial came at the start of his defamation case in the British capital against The Sun newspaper, which made the allegations in a 2018 article. Depp, 57, is suing The Sun’s publisher News Group Newspapers (NGN) and the author of the article, executive editor Dan Wootton, for libel.

Wearing a dark suit, white shirt and facemask, he was met by a throng of waiting cameras at the court’s front entrance. Heard, a 34-year-old actress, arrived by a separate back entrance. The case is expected to lay bare the nature of the couple’s relationship -- and lift the lid on the life of some of Hollywood’s biggest names.

In a written outline to the court of Depp’s position, his legal team accepted the couple’s relationship was at times "physical" but insisted it was at Heard’s instigation. On occasions, the "Pirates of the Caribbean" star had to defend himself from her violence, his lawyer David Sherborne said, adding: "He is not a wife-beater and never has been." The lawyer said Heard’s claims that he seriously assaulted and injured her were "complete lies" and that he had already publicly denied the assertion before The Sun published it.

"The claimant (Depp) was not violent towards Ms Heard, it was she who was violent to him," he said. Heard was a "complex individual who suffered extreme mood swings, would provoke endless circular arguments, and fly into violent rages", he added. She was on a "wide range of prescribed medication and other drugs". Her behaviour, which was attention-seeking and "extremely unpredictable", included having affairs.