The trial of day one has brought Johnny questions about his Hollywood lifestyle, his use of drink and drugs, and his attitudes towards women. This is day one of the trial of his libel claim against The Sun.
Johnny sued the newspaper for an article posted on it calling him a ‘wife-beater’. The tabloid’s publisher News Group Newspapers (NGN) and its executive editor Dan Wootton, are being sued. In the article, they also mentioned that there was “overwhelming evidence” that he attacked his ex-wife, Amber Heard. Johnny Depp has denied claims of abusing Amber strenuously.
David Sherborne, Depp’s barrister, said that the article made defamatory allegations of the utmost seriousness” against Depp. In the article, Depp is being accused of committing serious assaults on Heard. It also claims that the injuries were so serious that she feared for her life. Sherborne said: “The articles amount to a full-scale attack on the claimant as a ‘wife beater’, guilty of the most horrendous physical abuse.”
He further states that Depp’s position is clear and Heard is lying. Sherborne said that Heard was the one who was abusing Depp and not the other way around. He also added that their marriage was physical sometimes because of her and when Depp had to defend himself from her violence.
Sherborne clearly stated, “He is not a wife beater and never has been.”
On being cross-examined by NGN’s lead counsel Sasha Wass QC, Depp appeared to be calm and often adding humor to his answers. He was questioned about wide-ranging series of topics. Depp was also questioned about his friendships with certain famous names, including Rolling Stones guitarist Keith Richards, writer Hunter S Thompson and musician Sir Elton John.
Sasha also asked Depp about his drug-taking and his violent outbursts in the past. Sasha pointed out that Depp seems to be charming and polite but said that there is another side of him that is less charming. Depp calmly responded that it is not for him to judge. He added: “Your statement is quite blanket and it would apply to every single human being.”
Wass, later on, claimed that Depp had a violent side and he regularly engaged in destructive and violent behavior. Depp denied the claims. He was further questioned about his meeting with Amber in 2011 while filming The Rum Diary. Sasha claimed he had a casting approval where he counted Amber as one of the three “ingenues” who were in line for the lead female role.
The court also played a video clip that Amber had recorded without Depp’s knowledge. Depp stated it to be an illegal wiretap. In the video, Depp was wearing a cowboy hat and denim shirt. He appeared to be drunk and slamming the cabinet glass doors. Sasha questioned him if he was violent at the time. Depp replied saying he was violent at the cabinet doors. He further said that he wasn’t in the right state of mind.
Sasha further asked if he was drunk in the video while referring to a ‘mega pint of red wine’. Depp was pouring wine in the clip and Sasha said is not everybody’s choice for breakfast. Depp claimed that ‘the monster’ is something Heard became obsessed with. Heard previously said that Depp turns into a monster when he snaps.
Sasha claims that ‘the monster’ is a name for Depp’s alter ego when he loses control and turns into the bad guy. She further said that his ‘alter ego’ also liked to smash up hotel rooms and also assaulted camera crewmen or paparazzi. Sasha questioned, “when you lose control and become violent thug, that’s ‘the monster’, isn’t it?”
Depp denied the claims and said with Heard, ‘the monster’ was when the argument heated up. He claimed it happened when they would argue and it would turn into a yelling match where she yelled and he yelled back. Depp also admitted to giving her daughter her first cannabis. Lily-Rose Depp was 13 the first time he gave it to her. Depp said he wanted her to trust him so when she said she was ready, he made the perfect setting and gave it to her.
“So you put Family Guy on the television and you fill the refrigerator with ice cream and… you make a situation where the experience will hopefully be as pleasant as possible,” he explained. He further explained saying he does not want his daughter to be paranoid. Depp said the marijuana he smokes is trustworthy and he was determined that his daughter should not try drugs from anywhere around the world because it can be dangerous.
Depp and Heard arrived for the trial on Tuesday at the High Court. Around 30 photographers were standing at the entrance to get a glimpse of the actors before they went in.
Depp’s case against The Sun arises after the publication of an article whose headline read: “Gone Potty: How can JK Rowling be ‘genuinely happy’ casting wife-beater Johnny Depp in the new Fantastic Beasts film?” NGN is defending the article to be true and claiming that the actor was violent with Heard while he was drunk/ on drugs. They claim he was violent between early 2013 and May 2016, when the couple split.
Originally, the trial was supposed to start in March but got delayed due to the pandemic. It is going to occupy five courtrooms to maintain social distancing. A separate libel claim was brought by Depp which claimed that Amber stated in a column in The Washington Post. Something about receiving “the full force of our culture’s wrath for women who speak out”. Although she did not take Depp’s name, it is due in January 2021.
The pair met in 2011 and started living together in 2012 before marrying in Los Angeles in February 2015.
Heard obtained a restraining order against Depp in LA shortly after the couple split in 2016. She donated her seven million US dollars (£5.5 million) divorce settlement to charity.
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