Johnny Depp has lost his libel case against The Sun, who described him as a ‘wife-beater’.
In 2018, A-list Hollywood actor, Johnny Depp sued The Sun Newspaper after an article that questioned his casting in the film ‘Fantastic Beasts’. The Sun claimed to have seen ‘overwhelming evidence’ that Depp (57) was attacking Amber Heard (34) from 2013 until the dissolution of their marriage in 2016.
Heard showed the court images of her face beaten and bruised and video footage of a drunken angry Johnny Depp. She spoke of the times Depp had slapped, hit, pushed her, ripped her clothes, pulled her hair, head butted, kicked and threw things at her. Depp claimed the photos were a ‘hoax’ and that Heard was a ‘gold digger’, using the photographic evidence against him for an ‘insurance policy’. The judge, Mr. Justice Nicol, said he did not accept Depp’s characterisation of Ms. Heard. “I recognise that there were other elements to the divorce settlement as well,” Nicol added, “but her donation of $7m to charity is hardly the act one would expect of a gold-digger.”
Depp spent around 20 hours in the witness box where he answered questions about his lifestyle choices, such as his relationship with and drugs, and strongly denied all allegations of violence throughout the trial. Judge Nicol, however, found enough evidence to assess that 12 out of the 14 incidents Heard had reported were accurate; on this basis he found The Sun’s allegations to be “substantially true”. The judge expressly endorsed the notion that Depp had a ‘monster side’ and claimed that he did assault Heard and put her ‘in fear of her life’.
The Sun thanked Heard for “her courage in giving evidence to the court” and said “domestic abuse victims must never be silenced.” Depp’s lawyers, on the other hand, are calling the ruling “perverse” and “bewildering” and will be making an appeal. “Most troubling”, claimed Jennifer Aifa, Depp’s solicitor, “is the judge’s reliance on the testimony of Amber Heard, and corresponding disregard of the mountain of counter-evidence from police officers, medical practitioners, her own former assistant, other unchallenged witnesses and an array of documentary evidence which completely undermined the allegations, point by point. All of this was overlooked.” Aifa added, “The judgment is so flawed that it would be ridiculous for Mr.
not to appeal this decision.”