A lawyer for British tabloid The Sun said Monday that Johnny Depp abused Amber Heard during their relationship, committing acts of violence fuelled by misogyny and unleashed by addiction to alcohol and drugs.
Attorney Sasha Wass was summing up at Depp’s libel case against the newspaper over an article alleging he physically abused ex-wife Heard — a high-stakes celebrity trial in which the reputations of both former spouses are at stake.
Depp is suing News Group Newspapers, publisher of The Sun, and the newspaper’s executive editor, Dan Wootton, at the High Court in London over an April 2018 article, which called him a “wife-beater.” He strongly denies being violent to Heard.
The case is due to end Tuesday, but judge Andrew Nicol is not expected to deliver his ruling for several weeks.
In closing arguments, Wass said the newspaper’s defense “is one of truth — namely that Mr. Depp did indeed beat his wife.”
Wass said there was “overwhelming evidence of domestic violence or wife-beating behaviour, catalogued over a three-year period.”
She said Depp was “a hopeless addict who repeatedly lost his self-control and all ability to restrain his anger.”
“Permeating all of the evidence in this case is the character of Mr. Depp himself — his well-documented evidence of violence and destruction over his adult life which have occurred when he was under the influence of drink and drugs.”
She said Depp “was subject to irrational mood swings and abnormal behavioural patterns, which would not have been present when Mr. Depp was clean and sober, and Mr. Depp has a name for this metamorphosed entity — namely, The Monster.”
Depp, 57, and Heard, 34, met on the set of the 2011 comedy “The Rum Diary” and married in Los Angeles in February 2015. Heard filed for divorce the following year, and the divorce was finalized in 2017.
The former spouses have both been in court throughout three weeks of testimony at the grand neo-Gothic court building, though Depp did not attend on Monday morning. His lawyer is due to sum up on Tuesday.
Lawyers, journalists and members of the public have heard lurid details of the couple’s tempestuous relationship, including prodigious drinking and drug consumption, furious arguments, hurled objects and a deposit of excrement left in a bed — whether by dog or human is disputed.
The Sun’s defense relies on 14 allegations made by Heard of Depp’s violence between 2013 and 2016, in settings including his private island in the Bahamas, a rented house in Australia — where Depp’s finger was severed in contested circumstances — and the couple’s downtown Los Angeles penthouse, which was trashed during the couple’s altercations.
Wass said that the first year of the couple’s relationship, during which Depp was sober, was “idyllic,” but that the violence started in 2013 after he relapsed.
During four days in the witness box last week, Heard claimed Depp flew into jealous rages and turned into violent alter ego the “Monster” under the influence of alcohol and drugs. She accused him of slapping and hitting her and throwing bottles at her “like grenades,” and claimed that she often feared for her life during their relationship.
Heard’s evidence was backed by witnesses including her sister Whitney Henriquez, who said she had seen Depp hit Heard “multiple times” during a fracas at the couple’s Los Angeles apartment in March 2015.
Depp, who gave evidence for almost five days, denies all the allegations and claims Heard was the aggressor during their volatile relationship, which he has likened to “a crime scene waiting to happen.” Several current or former employees gave evidence backing his version of events, and former romantic partners Vanessa Paradis and Winona Ryder said in written witness statements that he had never been violent to them.
He acknowledged using a wide variety of drugs including marijuana, cocaine and opioid painkillers, but denied drugs made him violent.
Summarizing the defense case, Wass said that “a deep misogyny… lay at the root of Mr. Depp’s anger.”
“He created a misogynistic persona of (Heard) as the stereotype of a nagging woman,” Wass said. She said Depp branded Heard “a gold-digger, a shrew and an adulterer” in order to discredit her.