The "Pirates of the Caribbean" star is suing British tabloid The Sun for a 2018 article that claimed he was a wife-beater. The paper’s publisher is relying on 14 separate claims of domestic violence by Heard, Depp's ex-wife, in its defence.

US actor Johnny Depp at the High Court in London on July 9, 2020.
US actor Johnny Depp at the High Court in London on July 9, 2020. (Reuters)

Hollywood actor Johnny Depp has denied claims that he slapped actor Amber Heard, his ex-wife, as he faced a second day of questioning in his high-profile libel trial in London on Wednesday.

The "Pirates of the Caribbean" star is suing British tabloid The Sun for a 2018 article which claimed he was a "wife-beater".

Both Depp, 57, and Heard, 34, were in court as lawyers for The Sun's publisher, News Group Newspapers (NGN), questioned him about allegations of violence during the couple's time together.

NGN is disputing the claim for libel and said there is "overwhelming evidence" that he attacked Heard while under the influence of drink and drugs between 2013 and 2016.

'I didn't hit Ms Heard'

The couple first met on the set of the 2011 film "The Rum Diary", married in 2015 but divorced two years later.

Lawyer Sasha Wass, representing NGN, put it to Depp that he had slapped Heard three times after she made fun of a "Wino Forever" tattoo on his arm in March 2013, when he was drinking heavily.

"I'm sorry but that is not true, you are mistaken ... I didn't hit Ms Heard," the actor replied.

The tattoo originally read "Winona Forever" and referred to the actress Winona Ryder, with whom he had had a previous relationship. He changed it after they broke up.

Withholding medication

Depp told the court it was the "lowest point of my life", when he was in a great deal of pain, suffering uncontrollable spasms and sobbing like a child on the floor.

He accused Heard of withholding medication that would ease the process, calling it "one of the cruellest things that she has ever done", the court was told.

However, The Sun's lawyer Sasha Wass said Heard, 34, was following instructions from Depp's medical team and pointed out she had contacted a nurse who was staying on the island to say he was screaming and had pushed her.

"I did not push Miss Heard or attack her in any way," Depp said. "I was not in a condition to do so in any case."

In text messages Depp sent to Heard's mother at the time, read to the court by Wass, he praised her daughter for her "heroism" in "taking care of this old junkie" and that "it was Amber and Amber only who got me through it".

He also sent a text to Heard herself saying "Thank you so much for getting me f***ing clean baby".

'Complex individual'

NGN is relying on 14 separate claims of domestic violence in its defence, all of which Depp denies.

The case opened at the High Court on Monday with Depp insisting in a witness statement that had "never abused Ms Heard, or, indeed any other woman" in his life.

He said Heard, an actress, was calculating, sociopathic, narcissistic and emotionally dishonest, with a diagnosed borderline personality disorder, and was intent on destroying his life.

Much of the questioning has involved his drinking and drug-taking but he insisted he did not have a "nasty side" and did not lose control while under the influence, as Heard has asserted.

His legal team called Heard's allegations "complete lies". They said she was a "complex individual", prone to wild mood swings under a variety of prescription medication and other drugs.

Rather than Depp being the perpetrator, she had subjected him to verbal and physical attacks, and he had to defend himself on occasions, they argued.

"He is not a wife-beater and never has been," his lawyer David Sherborne said.

Depp maintains The Sun article, which was published despite a previous public denial of violence, had caused "significant reputational damage" to his career.

READ MORE: Johnny Depp's libel case against tabloid can go ahead – UK judge

Source: AFP