Johnny Depp arrived at the High Court today to hear evidence from his security team and property managers as his high-profile libel case over allegations of domestic violence by his ex-wife Amber Heard continues.
The London court is due to hear evidence from Malcolm Connolly, part of Depp’s security team; Tara Roberts, the property manager at Depp’s Bahamas home; and Hilda Vargas, Depp’s housekeeper at his Los Angeles properties.
Heard’s assistant Savannah McMillan is also due to appear, one day after Depp, 57, finally finished giving evidence and claimed that allegations of domestic violence made by Heard, 34, ‘mirrored’ her abuse towards him.
On the final day of his evidence at the Royal Courts of Justice in London yesterday during his libel case against The Sun, Depp said: ‘It seemed like everything she would accuse me of was something she had done to me.’
The actor also accused Heard of throwing a ‘haymaker’ punch at him during a row after her 30th birthday party, just hours after he had learned during a ‘bad’ business meeting that he had lost $650million (£514million).
It was also claimed during another day of bombshell evidence in court yesterday that:
- Depp has a ‘remarkable’ ability to not get drunk despite drinking ‘a lot of alcohol’;
- The actor is accused of throwing a bottle of champagne at Heard, grabbing her by the hair, and pushing her;
- Depp was shown a photograph, apparently taken by Heard, of him with ‘ice cream spilled all over my leg’;
- Depp’s former personal assistant, Stephen Deuters, alleged Heard ‘was the abuser in the relationship’
- Front desk supervisor said she saw ‘no visible injuries’ to Heard’s face three days after Depp allegedly hit her;
- Elon Musk was staying with Heard on one day she was seen with facial bruises, according to a concierge.
Johnny Depp (left) and Amber Heard (right) arrive separately at the Royal Courts of Justice in London this morning
Heard leaves Ham Yard Hotel in London’s Soho this morning ahead of legal proceedings continuing at the High Court
Heard arrives wearing a face covering at the Royal Courts of Justice this morning as legal proceedings continue
Heard (left) arrives at the High Court today for her ex-husband Depp’s (right, also today) libel case to continue
Pirates of the Caribbean star Depp is pictured outside the Royal Courts of Justice in London this morning
Depp has claimed that allegations of domestic violence made by Heard (pictured today) ‘mirrored’ her abuse towards him
Yesterday, the High Court also heard that Depp has a ‘remarkable’ ability to not get drunk despite drinking ‘a lot of alcohol’, that cocaine simply ‘brought him to a normal level which normal people might operate at’.
Depp is suing The Sun’s publisher News Group Newspapers (NGN) and its executive editor Dan Wootton over an article in April 2018 which labelled him a ‘wife beater’.
His barrister David Sherborne referred yesterday to a ‘secret recording’ of the former couple in San Francisco in July 2016, after they had split and Heard had obtained a restraining order against the actor.
In the recording, Heard can be heard to say it was ‘unbelievable to imagine’ that she had either been ‘in a secret fight club’ or ‘plotting to do this for three years … just saving it up for the right time’ when she was not asking for any money, adding ‘no-one is going to believe that’.
Depp and Heard met on the set of 2011 film The Rum Diary. They are pictured at the London premiere in November that year
Amber Heard photographed Johnny Depp with ice cream spilled on his legs during a private flight from Boston to Los Angeles in May 2014 before showing it to him the next day and saying: ‘Look at what you’ve become’, the court heard yesterday
Photographs show bruising across the bridge of Heard’s nose and under her eyes after Depp allegedly headbutted her in 2015
Depp described Heard’s words as ‘a reverse confession’, adding: ‘It seemed like everything she would accuse me of was something that she had done to me, so I started to see this kind of pattern, a mirroring, and when she said that, I was real taken aback, for sure.’
Mr Sherborne said Depp can also be heard to say ‘you f****** haymakered me, man’ in the recording – which is said to refer to an incident after Heard’s 30th birthday party at the couple’s LA penthouse on April 21 2016.
The actor is accused of throwing a bottle of champagne at Heard, grabbing her by the hair, and pushing her during a row, after he arrived home late for the party. Depp denies the allegations.
The actor said that, at a business meeting on the day of Heard’s party, he was ‘in the early stages’ of finding out from a new business manager that ‘the former business managers had (taken) quite a lot of my money’.
Photos after the incident in December 2015 show bruising to Heard’s face after Depp allegedly headbutted her
Depp is alleged to have trashed a penthouse in Los Angeles, California, which Heard used as a colossal closet
Depp admitted to leaving graffiti on a bathroom mirror after the fight with Heard, which resulted in his finger being severed
Asked how much had been taken, Depp said: ‘It was put to me this way, because I had no idea about money or amounts of money.
Johnny Depp v The Sun: Key issues in libel trial
Hollywood star Johnny Depp’s libel claim against The Sun enters its second week on Monday. These are the key issues the trial judge, Mr Justice Nicol, has to determine.
– Whether the April 2018 article by the tabloid’s executive editor Dan Wootton was defamatory of Depp. Under the Defamation Act 2013, a statement is not defamatory unless its publication causes ‘serious harm to the reputation of the claimant’.
– The Sun’s publisher, News Group Newspapers (NGN), is defending the claim and relying on a defence of truth. It is for the publisher to prove that the allegations made in the article are ‘substantially true’.
– The meaning of the article, which is defined as what it would mean to the ‘reasonable reader’, will have to be determined by the judge. But NGN’s lawyers say the differences between the rival meanings contended by each side are ‘not significant’ and the outcome of the case will therefore not turn on meaning.
– Depp’s case is that the article bore the meaning that he was ‘guilty, on overwhelming evidence, of serious domestic violence against his then wife, causing significant injury and leading to her fearing for her life, for which he was constrained to pay no less than £5 million to compensate her, and which resulted in him being subjected to a continuing court restraining order; and for that reason is not fit to work in the film industry’. He strenuously denies the allegations and claims he ‘has never hit or committed any acts of physical violence against Ms Heard’.
– The meaning which NGN will seek to prove is true is that the Claimant beat his wife Amber Heard, causing her to suffer significant injury and on occasion leading her to fearing for her life. They rely on 14 separate allegations of violence and allege more generally that Depp was ‘controlling and verbally and physically abusive’ towards Ms Heard, particularly when he was under the influence of alcohol and or drugs, throughout their relationship. NGN’s lawyers say an important issue for the judge to decide will be what substances Depp was using during the relationship. They contend that he frequently lost control of himself, partly because of his heavy drug and alcohol use, and also that his memory has been impaired by his heavy use of drugs.
– If Depp wins his case, the judge will have to decide what level of compensation he should receive for the harm to his reputation and for the ‘distress, hurt and humiliation caused’. There is an upper limit on general damages for libel of £300,000 to £325,000. However, if he succeeds, Depp may also be entitled to aggravated damages. The actor is also asking for a final injunction against NGN, who his legal team say ‘have retained the article on their website and maintained their allegation to the bitter end’.
‘Since Pirates (Of The Caribbean) 2 and 3, I had – and this is ludicrous to have to state, it’s quite embarrassing – apparently I had made $650million and when I sacked them, for the right reasons, I had not only lost $650million, but I was $100million (£79 million) in the hole because they (the previous business managers) had not paid the government my taxes for 17 years.’
Depp was also shown a photograph, apparently taken by his ex-wife, which showed him in August 2014 with ‘ice cream spilled all over my leg’ shortly before he was due to go to the Bahamas for a detox.
The actor said the picture was taken at a time when he had been working 17-hour days and was ‘very tired, falling asleep’.
The court also heard evidence from Depp’s former personal assistant, Stephen Deuters, who alleged Heard ‘was the abuser in the relationship’.
Mr Deuters, who is now European president of Depp’s production company, Infinitum Nihil, said that during the period in which Depp is alleged to have been abusive towards Heard, he saw her ‘on many occasions’ and ‘at no point’ did she ‘ever mention any physical abuse’.
He told that court that he was ‘extremely surprised and outraged’ when it became public that Heard had filed for a restraining order.
Mr Deuters described the couple’s tempestuous relationship as ‘not great’, saying: ‘I think they were two people that were in love with each other that shouldn’t have been together.’
The front desk supervisor at Depp’s LA penthouse building also gave evidence that she saw ‘no visible injuries whatsoever to Heard’s face’ three days after Mr Depp allegedly hit his ex-wife in the face with her own mobile phone on May 21 2016.
Trinity Esparza said the first time she saw any marks on Heard’s face that week was on May 27, the day the Aquaman actress appeared in court to obtain a restraining order against Depp, which ‘disturbed’ Ms Esparza.
Ms Esparza, who owns the company that provided concierge services at the Eastern Columbia building where Depp previously owned five apartments, said in her witness statement that she ‘saw and interacted with Heard on May 23, May 24 and May 25 with a clear and unmarked face’.
Sasha Wass QC, representing NGN, said to Ms Esparza: ‘Isn’t it more accurate to say you saw her earlier in the week and you didn’t notice it?’ Ms Esparza replied: ‘That is not accurate, I saw her very clearly.’
Ms Esparza also told the court that she saw ‘a number of marks on Ms Heard’s body’ – including bruises on her neck, plasters on her arm and a mark below her left eye – on a day in June or July 2016, shortly after Tesla founder Elon Musk left the building at around 9am looking ‘like he had just woken up with messy hair’.
Depp is suing NGN and Mr Wootton over the publication of an article on April 27 2018 with the headline: ‘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 as true, and says Depp was ‘controlling and verbally and physically abusive towards Heard, particularly when he was under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs’.