Actor Johnny Depp lost his long and fraught public libel court case against British newspaper The Sun, after they called the actor a "wife beater" and said there was evidence that he had abused his ex-wife Amber Heard.
Judge Andrew Nicol of the UK High Court in London ruled on November 2 that The Sun’s 2018 article with the allegations was “substantially true," and that there was enough evidence to support at least 12 out of 14 of Heard's claims of physical assault by Depp.
"When Johnny puts his attention on you, with all his intensity and darkness, it is unlike anything I've ever experienced," Heard wrote in a witness statement submitted to the court. "Some incidents were so severe that I was afraid he was going to kill me, either intentionally or just by losing control and going too far. He explicitly threatened to kill me many times, especially later in our relationship."
The evidence included photos, audio recordings, and Depp's text messages, which The Sun's lawyers claimed to show that the actor "beat his wife Amber Heard, causing her to suffer significant injury, and on occasion leading to her fearing for her life." These assaults included head-butting Heard, tearing out clumps of her hair, and hitting her head with a telephone.
Depp admitted to struggling with substance abuse problems during his and Heard's relationship but maintained that the allegations of violence were "completely untrue."
Judge Nicol wrote in his lengthy judgement: “I accept her evidence of the nature of the assaults he committed against her. They must have been terrifying. I accept that Mr. Depp put her in fear of her life.”
After meeting on set of The Rum Diary in 2011, the two married in February of 2015, and separated just over a year later May of 2016. Heard was granted a restraining order against Depp just after she filed for divorce, which was finalized in 2017.
It's been a lengthy and very publicized battle between Depp and Heard, but unfortunately, it doesn't end here. Depp also sued Heard for defamation in the United States over an essay she wrote in 2018 for The Washington Post, titled “I spoke up against sexual violence — and faced our culture’s wrath. That has to change.” In the piece, she asked Congress to strengthen its protections for survivors of violence. Depp said the article was the reason he was dropped from the Pirates of the Caribbean movie franchise.
If you are experiencing domestic abuse, please visit the Ending Violence Association of Canada to find a local hotline. In the event of an emergency, call 911.