Johnny Depp is not a “wife beater” and allegations of violence made by his ex-wife Amber Heard are “complete lies”, the High Court has been told by his lawyers on the first day of a libel trial.
The Hollywood star is suing The Sun’s publisher, News Group Newspapers (NGN), and its executive editor, Dan Wootton, over an article published in April 2018 which referred to “overwhelming evidence” that he attacked Heard during their relationship – claims which he has strenuously denied.
Both he and Heard are at London’s High Court today, having arrived separately wearing scarves as face masks.
Depp‘s legal team has said it is “not a case about money” but about “vindication”, with the star wanting to “clear his reputation” following the claims.
They have also argued that Heard, 34, has “invented these stories of serious violence” and that she was the “abuser” in the relationship.
In a written outline of the actor’s case, his barrister, David Sherborne, said The Sun’s article amounted to a “full-scale attack” on Depp as a “wife beater” with “defamatory allegations of the utmost seriousness”.
Mr Sherborne said: “The author deploys a panoply of cultural and topical references – namely the #MeToo movement, the Time’s Up movement and the disgraced film mogul and serial abuser of women Harvey Weinstein – in order to convey the seriousness of what the claimant is alleged to have done.
“They are allegations which the claimant absolutely denies, and which, at the time of publication, he had already publicly denied.”
Mr Sherbourne continued: “The claimant’s position is clear – Ms Heard’s allegations are complete lies.
“The claimant was not violent towards Ms Heard, it was she who was violent to him.”