Johnny Depp admitted heavy drinking, drug-taking and trashing hotel rooms, but dismissed claims by his former wife Amber Heard of being abusive against her in his defamatory fight against the Sun, accusing him of being a “wife-beater.”
Lawyers for Depp said Heard’s allegations of abuse were “invented” and he vigorously denied that he had ever been abusive toward her.
Depp repeatedly argued at the Royal Court of Justice in London that he had never been a violent person, but that he was someone who aspired to be a “southern gentleman.”
The 57-year-old Hollywood actor refuted claims of domestic violence given by Heard during their marriage on the opening day of a three-week trial.
The legal action has been brought by Depp after the Sun and its executive editor, Dan Wootton, published an article describing him as a wife-beater based on allegations Heard had made. Heard, 34, who was in court, is due to give evidence for the newspaper in the coming days.
The parties’ official statements were released at the beginning of the hearings. Depp claimed in one witness statement that Heard had repeatedly hit him in the face and partially severed his finger by throwing a bottle of vodka.
The Pirates of the Caribbean and Edward Scissorhands star described her in another statement as a “calculating, diagnosed borderline personality” and narcissist who had married him to achieve her goals.
Depp’s lawyer David Sherborne said Heard had “invented these stories of serious violence. He is not and never has been a wife-beater.”
In a statement, Depp had said that after she or “possibly one of her friends” had defecated in their marital bed, he had wanted to divorce Heard and she dismissed it as “a harmless prank” In their declining marriage he said it was the last point.
A statement by News Group newspapers, the Sun’s editors, said it will prove “that the description of Mr Depp as a ‘wife-beater’ is entirely accurate and truthful”.
The allegations and counter-accusations escalated once Depp reached the witness box. A short clip filmed by Heard on a cell phone showing Depp drinking wine early in the day and breaking bottles or glasses in their kitchen was shown at the hearing.
Depp confessed to spending more than $30,000 (£24,000) a month on wine at one point before he went into rehabilitation. But, he added, “Yes, I drank to excess but drinking to great excess doesn’t mean that you are out of control … Violence is not something I go looking for.”
He had avoided confrontation in his relationship with Heard, he recalled. “Whenever these situations would escalate, I would try and go to my own corner. I wanted to separate before things got out of hand.”
He remembered he avoided confrontation with Amber in any such situation, “Whenever these situations would escalate, I would try and go to my own corner. I wanted to separate before things got out of hand.”