Warning: This article may be triggering for some readers. Please read at your own discretion.
Johnny Depp said Thursday that he has lashed out at objects but not at people, on the third day of evidence in his libel suit against a tabloid newspaper that called him a “wife-beater.”
Depp denied assaulting ex-wife Amber Heard on a private Caribbean island and during a furious rampage in Australia.
The 57-year-old actor is suing The Sun’s publisher, News Group Newspapers, and its executive editor, Dan Wootton, over an April 2018 article headlined “Potty — How can JK Rowling be ‘genuinely happy’ casting wife beater Johnny Depp in the new Fantastic Beasts film?”
Under cross-examination by The Sun’s lawyer, Sasha Wass, Depp depicted a volatile relationship with Heard, during a period when he was trying to kick drugs and alcohol and sometimes lapsing. He said he came to feel he was in a “constant tailspin” but denied being violent.
The actor rejected Heard’s claim that he subjected her to a “three-day ordeal of assaults” in March 2015 in Australia, where Depp was filming the fifth installment of Pirates of the Caribbean.
“I vehemently deny it and will go as far as to say it’s pedestrian fiction,” Depp said.
He described his relationship with his ex-wife as a “constant barrage of insults and demeaning footnotes and accusations of things that never happened.”
Depp and Wass went back and forth over the alleged details of the Australia incident, which ended up with the couple’s rented house being trashed and Depp’s fingertip being severed to the bone.
The Sweeney Todd star accuses Heard of cutting his fingertip by throwing a vodka bottle at him. The 34-year-old actor denies being in the room when his finger was severed.
Heard alleges that Depp snorted cocaine, swigged Jack Daniels from the bottle, smashed bottles, screamed at her, threw her against a ping-pong table and broke a window.
“These are fabrications,” he said.
Depp denied taking drugs but agreed that they had an argument and at one point he “decided to break” his sobriety because he “didn’t care anymore.”
“I needed to numb myself.”
Wass also alleged that Depp had lashed out at Heard during an attempt to break an addiction to the opioid Roxicodone on his private island in the Bahamas in 2014.
Depp denied physical violence, but said Heard’s claim that he was “flipping” and “screaming” might be accurate.
He said he remembers that he was “in a great deal of pain and uncontrollable spasms… so flipping could be a word that was correct.”
“I was not in good shape. It was the lowest point I believe I’ve ever been in in my life.”
Depp went on to accuse Heard of telling “porkie pies” — slang for lies — about his behaviour and acknowledged striking objects.
He said that striking objects was better than “taking it out on the person that I love.”
Depp denied he could have been physically abusive and not remember it happening.
“There were blackouts, sure, but in any blackout there are snippets of memory,” Depp said.
On Wednesday Depp acknowledged that he may have done things he can’t remember while he was under the influence of alcohol and drugs.
“I may have done things that I have no memory of,” Depp said. But he insisted he is “certainly not a violent person, especially with women.”
The Sun’s defence relies on a total of 14 allegations by Heard of violence by Depp between 2013 and 2016.
Many people who are following Depp’s trial took to Twitter this week to mock a court sketch of the actor.
“Imagine being a court artist. And then one day you get told you’re going to be drawing Johnny Depp. And then this is what you come out with (this),” a Twitter user wrote.
Imagine being a court artist.
And then one day you get told you're going to be drawing Johnny Depp.
And then this is what you come out with
— Guy Bennett (@GuidoBennett) July 7, 2020
Another person said the sketch of Depp looked like the character Dwight Schrute from The Office, “dressed up as Johnny Depp for Halloween.”
Court sketch of Johnny Depp today looks like Dwight Schrute dressed up as Johnny Depp for Halloween. pic.twitter.com/OZzd0exLJQ
— Lard of Dorkness (@LardFDorkness2) July 7, 2020
Many others took to social media to criticize the courtroom sketch of the star.
Loving the court artist’s completely un-movie-star-like sketch of Johnny Depp 😂🤓 pic.twitter.com/CVzUTUrXVb
— Clodagh O'Leary (@cloleaf) July 8, 2020
Ouch! Courtroom sketch of Johnny Depp… pic.twitter.com/kZ3orBSYPQ
— Jules Beazley (@JulesBeazley) July 7, 2020
This courtoom sketch is supposed to be Johnny Depp!? pic.twitter.com/SVQGfPIw03
— Talking Movies: Oxford (@Oxford_movies) July 9, 2020
this courtroom sketch of Johnny Depp is me pretending to be ok in job interviews right now: pic.twitter.com/Z7T6ttx3Bw
— 😬 (@ant0inezmom) July 7, 2020
— Just Kat (@JustKatJustKat) July 8, 2020
Job interview for courtroom sketch artist:
“Are you good at drawing?”
— Jenefer McAleavy (@Jenefermc) July 7, 2020
I know court artists have to leave the room and draw these things from memory, so they often don’t render a great likeness. But when it’s Johnny Depp, they can practise all they like before arriving. There’s really no excuse for this. pic.twitter.com/lU72pZa0YI
— Dave Lee (@davelee1968) July 7, 2020
Depp and Heard — who met while filming The Rum Diary in 2011 — were married on Feb. 3, 2015. On May 23, 2016, Heard filed for divorce, seeking spousal support. She cited irreconcilable differences as the reason. They were officially divorced on Jan. 13, 2017.
Four days after filing for divorce, Heard requested a temporary domestic violence restraining order against Depp, which the judge granted after she submitted multiple photos as evidence of alleged assault, one of which purportedly shows the actress with what appears to be a bruise on her right eye. She claimed the incident took place on May 21, less than 48 hours before she filed.
In March 2019, Depp sued Heard in a US$50-million defamation lawsuit, citing a piece she wrote for the Washington Post about domestic abuse.
The complaint said that while Depp was not named in the Post article, it was clear Heard was talking about him. The lawsuit called her ongoing allegations of domestic abuse “categorically and demonstrably false.”
“They were part of an elaborate hoax to generate positive publicity for Ms. Heard and advance her career,” the lawsuit said, claiming: “She is the perpetrator.”
The suit said Depp has suffered financial losses because of the accusations, including being dropped from his role as Capt. Jack Sparrow in the Pirates of the Caribbean films.
In her article, published in the Post in December 2018, Heard also said she lost an acting role and a contract with a major fashion brand because she went public with her claims of abuse.
“I spoke up against sexual violence — and faced our culture’s wrath,” the actress wrote, adding that she felt as though she was “on trial in the court of public opinion.”
Heard asked a judge to dismiss the defamation lawsuit in April 2019.
While neither Heard nor Depp is on trial, the case is a showdown between the former spouses, who accuse each other of being controlling, violent and deceitful during their tempestuous marriage.
Heard is attending the three-week trial and is expected to give evidence later.
Depp’s $50-million lawsuit is due to be heard next year.
If you or someone you know is in crisis and needs help, resources are available. In case of an emergency, please call 911 for immediate help.
Are you or someone you know experiencing abuse? Visit the Department of Justice’s Victim Services Directory for a list of support services in your area.
Women, trans and non-binary people can find an additional list of resources here.
—With files from The Associated Press
© 2020 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.