London, United Kingdom | AFP | Tuesday 07/07/2020 - Coming to court to defend his reputation, the American actor Johnny Depp found himself on the grill Tuesday, forced to explain his excesses at the opening of the defamation lawsuit filed in British tabloid The Sun who portrayed him as a violent husband.
Three years after her divorce from Amber Heard, the 57-year-old Hollywood star, who played Jack Sparrow in the “Pirate of the Caribbean” saga, found the 34-year-old actress at the High Court in London.
This jurisdiction will consider for the next three weeks the case of the Sun and its owner “News Group Newspapers” (NGN), to whom the actor accuses of having presented as a proven fact, in an article published in April 2018 , that he hit his ex-wife.
After the arrival of the ex-spouses separately, each with a scarf on their face, the first hearing turned to great unpacking on their relationship both in the documents brought to the proceedings and at the bar.
In written testimony by his defense, Johnny Depp, who rejects any violence, says that Amber Heard was violent with him, verbally and physically. He describes it in person “calculating”, “sociopathic”, “narcissistic”, “completely dishonest emotionally”.
At the hearing, Johnny Depp was confronted with close questioning by NGN’s lawyer Sasha Wass about his drug and alcohol use, as well as his behavior.
“In my youth … my experiences with narcotics and stimulants started at a young age,” he said, when asked about an interview in which he explained that he had tried roughly all drugs at age 14.
“Not Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde”
“We now see you very charming and polite, speaking very softly, but there is another side of yourself, which is less charming,” the lawyer called out to him.
“Your statement is fairly general, it can apply to every human being,” retorted the actor in a deep voice.
The actor defended himself from being the “monster” designated by Amber Heard. “She was yelling at me, I was yelling at her, that’s what she called the monster,” he said. “It wasn’t Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. I don’t think I was the monster.”
Seeking to accredit the thesis of a quick-tempered and violent Johnny Depp, the lawyer returned to a series of incidents, notably exhuming an old episode where the actor had ransacked a hotel room in New York, causing 10,000 dollars of damage.
The two ex-spouses met on the set of “Rhum Express” in 2011 before getting married in February 2015 in Los Angeles. The couple had divorced their parents at the start of 2017. The 34-year-old actress had then evoked “years” of “physical and psychological” violence, accusations strongly contested by Johnny Depp.
In the divorce proceedings, Amber Heard had withdrawn her complaint and Johnny Depp had paid her seven million dollars, which the actress had given back to associations.
During the trial, French singer and actress Vanessa Paradis and American actress Winona Ryder should testify by video conference in favor of Johnny Depp. Originally scheduled for mid-March, the trial has been postponed due to the new coronavirus pandemic.
In written testimony to the proceedings, Vanessa Paradis, who had been in a relationship with Johnny Depp for 14 years, portrayed him as “a nice, attentive, generous and non-violent man and father”.
Johnny Depp’s lawyers also rely on the testimony of Winona Ryder, who had a relationship with Johnny Depp in the 1990s. “He was never violent with me,” she said.
The defense of the Sun is based on 14 accusations of violence against the actor between early 2013 and May 2016.
The actor has also started another defamation proceeding against Amber Heard in the United States.