Actor Johnny Depp has denied he kicked and slapped his then-wife, Amber Heard, on a private flight in a drunken rage brought on because he believed she was having an affair with her co-star, James Franco.
- Court hears Johnny Depp flew into a rage over a perceived affair Amber Heard was having with James Franco
- Depp claims Heard was building “an insurance policy for later” by plotting allegations
- The actor also denied holding one of Heard’s small dogs out a car window
Mr Depp, giving evidence in London’s High Court in his libel trial against The Sun newspaper over an article describing him as a “wife beater” accused Ms Heard of being the aggressor and said he had tried to placate her.
During the first two days of what is expected to be a three-week trial, the court heard evidence about Mr Depp’s heavy drinking and drug use and about his relationship with Ms Heard, who he married in 2015.
She filed for divorce 15 months later.
On Wednesday, the 57-year-old actor was accused of abusing Ms Heard on a flight from Boston to Los Angeles following a row over Mr Franco, who appeared with her in the 2015 film The Adderall Diaries.
Mr Depp told the court he was surprised she agreed to make the film with Mr Franco, having previously described him as “creepy” for making aggressive sexual advances towards her.
On the flight, Mr Depp screamed obscenities at Ms Heard, said she liked having sex on film sets and called her a “go-getter slut and a whore”, The Sun’s lawyer, Sasha Wass, said.
In a “blind rage”, he kicked her in the back as she tried to walk away from him, and slapped her across the face, Ms Wass said.
Mr Depp denied the accusations.
He later added that he might have passed out on the flight.
Ms Wass said that on the day after the flight, Mr Depp sent Ms Heard a text message that said: “I don’t know why or what happened but I will never do it again.”
Asked why he had apologised, Mr Depp said he had perhaps done so because he had said something “ugly” or to placate her.
Asked if someone who kicked a woman should be called a wife beater, Mr Depp said he would call them a savage or an animal.
“It’s one of the most disgusting things someone has ever said about me or accused me of,” he said.
‘Wino forever’ tattoo tantrum
Earlier, Mr Depp said Ms Heard’s allegations were a hoax built up over years during their relationship as an “insurance policy”.
In an unsent email composed by Ms Heard in June 2013, three years before she publicly accused him of abuse, she said Mr Depp had hurt her physically and that she did not know if she was dealing with him or “the monster” — his alter ego brought on by anger and jealousy, and fuelled by alcohol and drugs.
“It’s like Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde,” the email, read to the court by Ms Wass, said.
It added that friends and assistants had to deal with the actor after he passed out in his own vomit and soiled himself, with no recollection later of his actions.
Asked if the email meant Ms Heard had been plotting the allegations for three years, Mr Depp said: “By the evidence that I have seen.
The court heard the first alleged incident of violence took place at Ms Heard’s home in March 2013 when Mr Depp had “fallen off the wagon” and started drinking again after months of sobriety.
Ms Wass said Mr Depp slapped Ms Heard three times when she mocked one of his tattoos, which he had changed from “Winona Forever” — a reference to his former girlfriend Winona Ryder — to “Wino Forever”.
“That’s not the case, that’s untrue. It didn’t happen,” Mr Depp said.
“I don’t recall any argument about any of my tattoos.”
Ms Wass also said Mr Depp had struck Ms Heard, 34, when he tried to remove a painting from her bedroom given to her by her former partner Tasya Van Ree and tried to set it alight, one of 14 episodes of violence of which he is accused in the case.
Ms Wass asked Mr Depp if he had held Ms Heard’s small Yorkshire terrier Pistol — one of the dogs at the centre of a biosecurity standoff with Australian authorities in 2016 — out of the window of a moving car.
“I can say it is a very enduring image but it’s an utter falsity,” he said, while agreeing that there was a running joke with Ms Heard and her family about putting Pistol in the microwave as he was “ludicrously tiny”.