By Estelle Shirbon
London – Johnny Depp was a drug addict prone to violent rages and a misogynist who assaulted his wife and used abusive language about women, a London court was told on Monday as the actor’s libel trial against a British tabloid neared its ending.
The “Pirates of the Caribbean” star is suing News Group Newspapers, publishers of The Sun, and one of its journalists, Dan Wootton, over a 2018 article that called him a “wife beater”.
Depp and Heard both gave evidence at the trial. Depp said he was never violent towards Heard or any other woman and she was the one who had attacked him. Heard described multiple incidents when she said he physically assaulted her.
Summarising the defence case, which is that the allegation of wife beating was true, lawyer Sasha Wass portrayed the actor as “a hopeless addict” whose substance abuse, jealousy and anger made him a danger to his partner.
She said his excessive drug-taking led to uncontrolled outbursts during which he would metamorphose into a violent alter ego he called “The Monster”, and that his own memories of the extent of his behaviour were impaired by drugs and alcohol.
Citing texts and emails in which Depp had used words like “whore”, “slut” or “worthless hooker” about Heard and other women, Wass said he was far from being the “Southern gentleman” on which he had told the court he modelled himself.
She quoted from texts he had sent in 2013 to the actor Paul Bettany, in which he had spoken about drowning and burning Heard.
Wass accused him of “deep misogyny” and said jealousy of Heard’s supposed other partners was the catalyst of many violent episodes.
“BOOZE AND DRUGS”
“Mr Depp has sought to deploy the more old-fashioned methods used to discredit women. She is a gold-digger, a shrew and an adulterer,” the lawyer said.
She said Heard denied cheating on Depp and it was irrelevant anyway. She also said Heard was a successful actress and was financially independent.
By accusing Heard of physically assaulting him, Depp was seeking to reverse the roles of offender and victim, Wass said. Accused of violence and excessive drug-taking, he had responded by levelling the same accusations at her.
Addressing one of the arguments made by Depp’s legal team, which was that no witness apart from Heard or her sister said they had seen Depp hit Heard, Wass said this was not a valid point because domestic violence took place behind closed doors.
She also rejected the Depp team’s accusation that Heard had made up her allegations as part of a hoax, saying it was “risible” to suggest that Heard would have accumulated a dossier of false information over the entire course of the relationship.
Describing it as a “critical piece of evidence,” Wass read from an email that Heard had sent to herself in 2013, before the couple were married, in which she recorded her feelings about Depp’s drug-fuelled rages. The email was addressed to Depp but not sent to him.
“You have hit me repeated. something you should Never have done … And None of this would be possible without the booze and drugs. NONE,” Heard wrote.
Wass was due to continue her closing speech for the whole of Monday’s hearing. Depp’s lawyer, David Sherborne, is due to make his own closing arguments on Tuesday. A ruling is not expected immediately.