In the wake of ongoing allegations of domestic violence against his ex-wife, Amber Heard, Johnny Depp’s career has been marred by several box-office flops and a series of legal fights, including a long court battle with his former money managers. He’s currently being sued by a crew member after allegedly punching him on the set of City Of Lies, a film about the killing of Tupac and Notorious BIG.
Now, Depp is alleging that it was actually his ex-wife, Heard, who was abusive in their two-year relationship, having “punched him twice in the face” for being late to her birthday party. The actor’s lawyers made the claims in documents submitted as part of his attempt to sue a newspaper – the actor’s most recent legal effort to dispute accusations that he was violent towards Heard.
According to the papers, Depp had arrived two hours late for Heard’s birthday dinner in April 2016. He claimed after the guests left, Heard “began criticising the claimant for being late”. They also outlined that he was “not drunk or high on drugs” and had gone to bed when “Ms Heard, who had been drinking, became aggressive and violent... punching him twice in the face”. Depp claims he “defended himself by grabbing Ms Heard’s arms to stop her punching again and told her to stop”.
Heard’s representatives swiftly responded to the claim with a statement. “These allegations are totally false,” it said. “One needs only read the recent Rolling Stone article about Mr Depp to understand his state of mind. Mr Depp is currently being sued in multiple venues, including for assaulting a location manager on the set of City Of Lies. On many occasions, eyewitnesses observed the extent of the abuse Mr Depp inflicted on Ms Heard.”
During a legal dispute last year, court documents emerged corroborating Heard’s claim that Depp physically abused her and that he tried to cover it up
One eyewitness account came from one of Depp’s own former managers. During a legal dispute last year, court documents emerged corroborating Heard’s claim that Depp physically abused her and that he tried to cover it up, outlining an incident where he had violently kicked her in 2014. In 2016, a video was released showing Depp being both verbally and physically violent toward Heard, throwing a mobile phone at her. In the footage, Depp can be heard shouting, "Did something happen to you this morning? I don't think so!" before smashing a wine bottle and muttering, "You want to see crazy, I'll give you fucking crazy."
In the same year, text messages alleged to be between Heard and Depp's assistant were released, which seemed to show the assistant apologising to Heard for a physical assault on Depp's part, saying, "When I told him he kicked you, he cried. It was disgusting. And he knows it. He's a little lost boy. And needs all the help he can get. He is so very sorry, as he should be." Depp's representatives claimed the messages were manufactured, but later court documents show Depp's former business managers confirming the texts were real.
In 2016, Heard was granted a restraining order against Depp. Court documents from during that time showed that Heard had claimed that "during the entirety of our relationship, Johnny has been verbally and physically abusive to me". The couple's friend, iO Tillett Wright (who has since cut ties with Depp, but remains close with Heard), confirmed Heard's account of abuse and said he witnessed it, even calling the police.
Still, Depp calls Heard’s experience into question time and time again. And now, at this most convenient time, or so a cynic might say, he wishes to be believed.