Johnny Depp’s libel case in the U.K. concluded on Tuesday after an explosive three weeks. The trial focused on the actor’s tumultuous five-year relationship with Amber Heard, putting her claims of domestic violence back in the spotlight. Depp, who sued over the Sun’s article that called him a “wife-beater,” has adamantly denied Heard’s allegations and went to London to clear his name.
Both Depp, 57, and Heard, 34, were in court on Tuesday, as they were each day of the trial. In his closing submission, Depp’s lawyer told the high court that Heard is a “compulsive liar” and “unreliable witness” as the defense relied on her allegations of abuse. The Pirates of the Caribbean star is suing News Group Newspapers (NGN), owner of the Sun, and the tabloid’s executive editor, Dan Wootton, over the 2018 article that referred to “overwhelming evidence” he attacked the actress.
“From the big points to the small points, Ms. Heard has proved herself to be a wholly unreliable witness, and, frankly, a compulsive liar, and I don’t say that lightly,” Depp’s lawyer, David Sherborne, told the court. According to the Guardian, Depp’s lawyer once again claimed Heard was the aggressor, highlighting a recording of the former spouses in which she supposedly refers to hitting the actor. (She has denied Depp’s claims of abuse.)
“At its very core, we say it demonstrates that she is the abuser, not Mr. Depp. He is no wife-beater,” Sherborne told the judge. “If it was a man who had said what Ms. Heard said and who had admitted to what she admitted to, if this was Mr. Depp for example, and it was the other way around, can you imagine what consternation there would be?”
Sherborne called Heard a “complex individual with a complex history,” noting she got a restraining order against Depp in 2016 in front of a “barrage” of media in order to become an advocate for victims of domestic violence. “She has picked up her theme and run with it. New allegations of domestic violence have tumbled out over the years … even more in this courtroom. It is hard to keep up.”
Depp’s attorney argued the Sun “tried, convicted and sentenced” the actor over Heard’s claims. Depp is suing to clear his name, “subjecting himself to this painful, public process,” Sherborne noted.
“Why else would Mr. Depp, this private man as he explained, expose all the most intimate details of his private life,” Sherborne continued. Depp’s addiction issues with drugs and alcohol were a focus throughout the trial as Heard claimed she was often abused when he was intoxicated. However, Sherborne stated Depp “has never hit a woman in his entire life, period, full stop, nada.”
NGN’s attorney, Sasha Wass, said in her closing submission on Monday, “There is no doubt that Mr. Depp regularly and systematically abused his wife.”
Heard submitted 14 allegations of abuse from 2013 to 2016 and was the main witness.
“The characterization that he is a wife beater is entirely truthful,” she declared, calling the actor “a hopeless addict who repeatedly lost his self-control and all ability to restrain his anger.”
Wass added, “a deep misogyny … lay at the root of Mr. Depp’s anger.”
Heard spoke out on the steps of the Royal Courts of Justice in London on Tuesday as the trial concluded.
“After obtaining a restraining order in 2016 and finalizing my divorce, I just wanted to move on with my life. I did not file this lawsuit and, despite its significance, I would have preferred not to be here in court,” Heard said. “It has been incredibly painful to relive the break up of my relationship, have my motives and my truth questioned, and the most traumatic and intimate details of my life with Johnny shared in court and broadcast around the world.”
Heard said she “stands by” her testimony in court: “I now place my faith in British justice.”
“Although I did not bring this lawsuit, I am aware of the precious resources being consumed by his litigation and will be glad to see those resources redirected to more important legal matters delayed by the COVID-19 pandemic. I appreciate the dedication, the hard work and support of the defense legal team, as well as my U.K. and U.S. lawyers,” she added. (Depp is also suing Heard for defamation over abuse claims in the U.S.)
“I also wish to extend my thanks to the very diligent and kind court staff and the police, who have been so sensitive in ensuring my safety and protection so that I could testify in safety,” Heard continued, “And finally, my heartfelt thanks for the tremendous outpouring of support and the many messages I have received from around the world. You have given me so much strength and I send it back to you.”
A ruling in the U.K. isn’t expected for several weeks.