Johnny Depp’s 2020 trial: The most hair-raising truths to come out
Johnny Depp lost the 2020 libel suit he filed in London against the newspaper The Sun for running an article that called him a “wife beater”, in reference to his relationship with ex-wife Amber Heard. It was an ugly case, dragging both actors’ private lives into the spotlight. It was also a complicated case and each accused the other of abuse.
In the United Kingdom, the burden of proof is on the party accused of libel – that is, The Sun had to prove that what it published about Depp was true. The judge concluded that “the great majority of alleged assaults” on Amber Heard by Johnny Depp had been “proved to the civil standard”. Of the fourteen alleged assaults heard in open court the judge found that twelve of them were proved on the balance of probability.
The first assault allegedly took place in early 2013 in Los Angeles after Heard joked about a tattoo Depp had. Heard claimed Depp had got angry, knocked her to the floor, then cried & apologized, saying he sometimes turned into “the monster”. The judge in the 2020 trial accepted Depp used the term to “refer to that part of his personality when, affected by drink and/or drugs he would do things which he would not otherwise do”.
On a private airplane trip from Boston to New York in 2014, Heard claimed in the 2020 suit that Johnny Depp, after drinking heavily, had thrown objects at her, slapped her in the face and then kicked her in the back, causing her to fall over. He threw his boot at her on the floor, and passed out on the toilet.
Denying the account, Depp said he had given her a “playful tap on the bottom with his foot”, and when she reacted badly, he took a pillow to the toilet and slept there. The judge said “this was more than a playful tap”.
Wrench and repeat
Over three days in Australia filming Pirates of the Caribbean in 2015, Johnny Depp was said to have put Heard “in fear of her life”. She claimed Depp assaulted her multiple times and that he severed his fingertip and scrawled bloody graffiti on the walls. The judge did not accept Heard had been responsible for the severed fingertip by throwing a vodka bottle at Depp. He accepted Heard had been the victim of “sustained & multiple assaults”.
The list of alleged abuses by Depp that the judge judged high in probability in 2020 continues, culminating in an alleged incident in 2016 when Depp threw a phone at Heard, allegedly smashed items, and kicked a hole in a door at their apartment. Heard then filed for dissolution of her marriage and applied for a domestic restraining order against Depp.
“There is evidence which I find compelling of witnesses who saw Ms. Heard with injuries to her face and who took photographs of these,” the judge said in the 2020 trial.
On the flip side
However, Stephen Deuters told London’s High Court that Amber Heard, thirty-four, subjected Johnny Depp, fifty-seven, to “years of abuse”. Depp has denied the domestic violence allegations which News Group Newspapers used in its defense. Deuters, 2020 European president of Depp’s production company, Infinitum Nihil, said he’d worked for Depp since 2004.
In his written witness statement, Deuters said he saw Heard “on many occasions” during the period Depp is alleged to have abused her. “At no point did Ms. Heard ever mention any physical abuse and I never saw evidence of any injury to Ms. Heard,” he claimed.
Deuters said he was “extremely surprised & outraged” when it became public that Ms. Heard had filed for a temporary restraining order in 2016. “I knew that Ms. Heard was the abuser in the relationship and I was appalled that she would behave in this way,” he said.
Madness at 10,000 feet
Deuters wrote he was with the couple on the flight from Boston to Los Angeles in May 2014. He claimed Heard was speaking “in an increasingly aggressive manner” to Johnny Depp, who “did not engage with the abuse he was receiving”. Deuters “could not hear the specifics” because he had headphones on, but “could see her gesticulating”.
Deuters stated in his 2020 statement that Depp “made a playful attempt to tap her on the bottom”, adding that he did not believe that Depp actually made contact. “Ms. Heard took great offense at what was clearly a harmless gesture and increased her abuse of Mr. Depp in an extremely unpleasant manner,” Deuters reported in 2020. Apparently, Deuters & Depp’s former private security guard intervened and Depp spent the rest of the flight in the bathroom.
In 2009, Heard was arrested for allegedly assaulting her ex-wife, Tasya Van Ree, in Seattle-Tacoma International Airport. Van Ree called the police after Heard reportedly grabbed her hand and struck her following an argument at the airport. Heard spent a night in jail and appeared before a judge in court. No charges were filed.
There is also a Change.org petition in 2020 to ban Heard from acting in Aquaman 2 posted online with 843,173 signatures. The petition says in part, “. . . Heard recounts fabricated incidents of Johnny Depp hitting her in the face when she had, in fact, punched him.
“Though staff & neighbors in the building where she lived reported seeing no marks on her face in the hours & days after she says Johnny Depp hit her, yet she appeared in court six days later with bruises on her face, asking for a temporary restraining order, which was granted. Photos of Heard from the very next day show her full face, without makeup, and not a single bruise,” the 2020 petition states.