American actor Johnny Depp today made a surprise appearance at London’s High Court today as he sues British tabloid The Sun Newspaper over claims he physically abused his ex-wife Amber Heard.
Depp is suing The Sun’s parent company, News Group Newspapers, and the newspaper’s executive editor, Dan Wootton, over a 2018 article in which the Pirates of The Carribean star was called a “wife-beater”.
In the article, Wotton slammed author JK Rowling for casting Depp in her 2016 Fantasy film Fantastic Beasts. Wootton detailed Amber’s claims that he physically and verbally abused her during their brief union.
Depp, 55, wearing a blue suit and sunglasses, has robustly denied the claims and has accused Ms Heard of being the “aggressor” in their relationship, which ended in May 2016.
At a pre-trial hearing today, Johnny Depp’s lawyers said he denies allegations of violence against Ms Heard ‘100 per cent’ – and he is determined to clear his name by giving evidence in open court.
Aquaman actress Heard, 33, will also fly in from the US to give her side of the story.
Heard has claimed that Depp was a ‘monster’ who repeatedly beat her during a series of drug-fuelled attacks before and during their marriage.
The US actress alleged that Depp, 55 left her fearing for her life after he choked her and ripped out chunks of her hair in more than a dozen violent altercations.
She filed for divorce in May 2016 and alleges that the violence started in 2013, even before the couple married.
David Sherborne representing Depp told the court that:
“The Sun’s article contains serious and criminal accusations against Mr Depp; that he beat his wife and caused her significant injury.
“Mr Depp has the right to have himself publicly vindicated. This is a vital function of the libel trial when it takes place.”
The High Court was told that Depp is producing 17 witnesses to prove that he is innocent, including testimony from two Los Angeles police officers.
New video and audio evidence are also being submitted to disprove claims that he beat Heard.
Mr Sherborne also revealed that the actress is making new allegations of violence and that a number of her friends will be travelling to London to give evidence on her behalf.
“New, horrible allegations are being made by Ms Heard, which Mr Depp completely denies.
“One side is lying, and one side is not. We say that it’s Ms Heard.”
The full hearing is due to start on March 23.
Depp is also suing Heard for libel in the United States.