Johnny Depp has lost his libel battle against News Group Newspapers over an article published in The Sun which branded him a “wife beater”.
The actor – who denied ever being violent towards his wife Amber Heard – sued for libel over the story, which was published in 2018, and the trial took place at London’s High Court over the summer.
The judgement was handed down today.
The trial took place over 16 days in July and featured testimony from Depp himself as well as his ex-wife Heard.
The case rested on 14 alleged incidents of domestic abuse which lawyers for NGN argued demonstrated the article by The Sun was not libellous.
The claims included details of alleged bust-ups between the pair which were said to have occurred between 2013 and 2016.
Depp repeatedly denied ever being violent towards Heard during their relationship and marriage, which lasted from 2015 until 2017.
In court, he claimed it was actually Heard who was the aggressor in the relationship and alleged she had actually been violent towards him.
Depp spent around 20 hours in the witness box over five days and was quizzed over his Hollywood lifestyle, booze and drugs, allegations of violence and his celebrity friendships.
There was also testimony from Heard, as well as friends and relatives of the couple and several former and current employees.
The court heard shocking tales from the former couple’s tempestuous marriage, including a bitter bust-up in Australia in 2015.
Depp, who had been in the country filming one of his Pirates of the Caribbean movies, suffered a severed finger tip, which led to his hospitalisation.
He alleged Heard had caused the injury by flinging a glass bottle at him during a blazing row, while the actress claimed Depp had hurt himself by smashing a plastic phone repeatedly against a wall.
Depp told the court he’d used the stump to scrawl messages in blood across the house they had been renting and pictures of the grim writings were shown during the trial.
Heard claimed she came back to the house and found food smeared all over the house, a live bird indoors, broken glass everywhere and blood dripping down the walls.
The trial also featured testimony about an incident in which faeces was found in the couple’s bed at their home in Los Angeles.
Depp claimed he decided to end his marriage after finding the poo in his bed.
During her testimony, Heard was asked if she was the one who had pooed in the bed and she denied it, calling the allegations “disgusting” and claiming the excrement had been left by one of the couple’s dogs.
During the trial a series of disturbing texts between the actor and his pal Paul Bettany in 2014 were read out.
One text from Bettany, called Heard a “witch” and suggested they should burn her.
Depp’s message responded: “Let’s drown her before burning her. I will f**k her burnt corpse afterwards to make sure she is dead.”
Depp responded, telling the court that Bettany and Heard “had their differences and did not like each other very much”.
The former couple began dating after meeting on the set of their movie The Rum Diary following the breakdown of his longtime relationship with French star Vanessa Paradis
They married in 2015 but split less than a year later.