Johnny Depp has lost his libel case against News Group Newspaper after claiming The Sun had falsely labelled him a “wife beater”.
The actor denied everything, but today a judge has ruled in the newspaper’s favour.
Mr Justice Nicol dismissed the Pirates Of The Caribbean star’s claim, saying NGN had proved what was in the article to be “substantially true”.
The judge said: “The claimant has not succeeded in his action for libel.
“Although he has proved the necessary elements of his cause of action in libel, the defendants have shown that what they published in the meaning which I have held the words to bear was substantially true.
“I have reached these conclusions having examined in detail the 14 incidents on which the defendants rely as well as the overarching considerations which the claimant submitted I should take into account.”
US Counsel for Amber Heard, Elaine Charlson Bredehoft, released a statement, saying: “For those of us present for the London High Court trial, this decision and Judgment are not a surprise.
“Very soon, we will be presenting even more voluminous evidence in the U.S. We are committed to obtaining Justice for Amber Heard in the U.S. Court and defending Ms. Heard’s Right to Free Speech.”
It comes after an explosive three-week trial at London’s High Court earlier this year.
It was the biggest English libel trial of the 21st century and was watched by people around the world.
Depp spent three days giving evidence, while his ex-wife Heard, 34, was in the witness box for four days.
The court also heard from several of Depp’s former employees, including his assistant Stephen Dueters, Heard’s sister Whitney Henriquez and her acting coach Kristina Sexton, among others.
During the trial, Depp denied he’d ever been violent towards Amber and claimed she’d been abusive towards him during their relationship.
The court heard allegations of violence from both sides, as well as grim testimony about a poo being left in the marital bed, a scene of destruction at the former couple’s rented home in Australia and Depp’s severed finger.
Here’s a look back at the most explosive moments from the trial…
Possibly the most surprising and stomach-churning moment of the 15-day trial came when Depp ended his marriage to Heard after finding a poo in his bed.
The Edward Scissorhands star claimed Heard and her friends had left a pile of excrement in the marital bed after her 30th birthday party at their Los Angeles home in April 2016.
He said he was so disgusted by the incident, he resolved to end the marriage that day.
In his witness statement, Depp claimed: “I understand that the following morning [after the party] Ms Heard (or possibly one of her friends) defecated in our shared bed…
“I resolved to divorce Ms Heard on that day.”
During her testimony, Heard was asked if she was the one who pooed in the bed and she replied: “I did not. It’s absolutely disgusting. That’s appalling. No.”
She blamed the poo on the couple’s teacup Yorkshire terriers, but Depp had previously insisted the animals were too small to jump onto the bed or to leave such a large deposit there.
The court heard the actor even demanded a DNA test to prove the faeces was human.
One of Heard’s friends, iO Tillet Wright, later told the court he didn’t think the actress could have been responsible for the poo because she’s “faecal phobic”.
During the trial, the court was shown pictures of the poo that was found in the bed.
Heard claimed Depp was so enraged by the poo that he threw a phone at her and it struck her in the face.
Depp denied throwing the phone at his then-wife.
House of horrors
Depp and Heard jetted to Australia in March 2015 so he could start working filming one of the Pirates of the Caribbean movies.
The pair became embroiled in a furious argument at the rented home they were sharing, and the court heard the house was left with $150,000 damage.
In her testimony, 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.
She also claimed Depp had attempted to set fire to the sofa, smashed the TV and urinated on the furniture.
Heard told the court: “There was mashed potato and gravy smeared on the door outside.
“There was a bird in the house… It scared me to death when I entered the room. It must have flown in the window. There was blood everywhere…”
Heard said there was writing “all the way down the stairs and stairwell” and there was “blood on the walls, on lampshades and everywhere with written messages”.
Depp admitted scrawling messages in his own blood throughout the house, which was described as looking like a scene from horror movie The Shining by Heard’s sister Whitney in her witness statement.
During her testimony, Heard also claimed that Depp threw 30 bottles at he “like grenades” and she was left with cuts on her arms and feet.
The actor denied being violent towards Heard, and insisted she was the one who attacked him.
During the trip to Australia, Depp was left with a severed finger which needed hospital treatment and surgery after he returned to Los Angeles.
The court was shown gory pictures of the injury, which he claimed had been caused by Heard throwing a glass bottle at him during a row.
The actress denied she was responsible for the injury, and told the court Depp had severed the digit himself by smashing a plastic phone repeatedly against a wall.
In his witness statement, which was presented to the court, Depp claimed: “Ms Heard threw that bottle at me as hard as she could from a fairly short distance.
“The bottle smashed against my hand, which was resting on the marble top of the bar, severing the top of my finger and fracturing multiple bones.”
Heard alleged he picked up a wall phone and he “hit it repeatedly over and over and over again on the wall.
She told the court: “I watched as this phone was just disappearing in front of my own eyes.
“It was breaking off in shreds. That phone – it just disappeared. I didn’t know he had severed his finger.”
Heard told the court she didn’t realise that was the time when he cut his finger, but she when she believes it happened.
One of the most hotly-disputed incidents brought up during the trial was an incident that allegedly took place on a private jet from Boston to Los Angeles in 2014.
Heard alleged Depp called her a “whore”, kicked her in the back and then laughed when she cried.
An email written by the actress, but was never sent, was read out in court in which she detailed the allegations against her husband.
Heard wrote: “The man I love and want to marry called me an embarrassment and a whore, among other things, in front of a plane full of people who did NOTHING before kicking me – kicking me in the back and then mocked me for crying about it immediately after.”
A series of text messages were read out in court which were sent between Dueters and Heard a day after the plane journey.
In one message sent by Deuters, he wrote: “He [Depp] was appalled. When I told him he kicked you, he cried.”
Another added: “It was disgusting. And he knows it.”
During the trial, the court heard claims that Depp had accused Heard of cheating on him with a number of famous men, including actor James Franco and tech mogul Elon Musk.
During the trial, the court was shown CCTV footage that showed Heard and Franco getting out of a lift as they headed to the apartment she shared with Depp on 22 May 2016.
The Franco claims were said to have been the trigger for the argument on the private jet, with Depp telling the court he didn’t remember the subject being brought up.
The actor added: “I suspected she was having an affair with JF and it’s subsequently has been confirmed she was.”
He then clarified: “I’d been told she was.”
The court heard Depp had a list of nicknames for the men he accused Heard of having affairs with.
The Pirates of the Caribbean actor had names for a number of stars, including Leonardo DiCaprio, who was “pumpkin-head”, Channing Tatum (potato-head) and “Jim Turd Sturgess”.
Heard denied she’d cheated on her husband, and insisted her romance with Musk did not start until after she’d filed for divorce in May 2016.
‘I will f**k her burnt corpse’
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”.
Heard later told the court Depp had threatened to “f**k her corpse” during a row in Australia in 2015.
She called it a “three day hostage situation” and alleged Depp shoved her against the fridge, threatening to “crush her neck”, before choking and spitting at her.
She alleged when she tried to escape he grabbed her by the hair before throwing her on a ping pong table and then grabbing her by the neck.
Heard claimed: “He was screaming at me, over and over again, ‘You ruined my life, I hate you, I’m going to f**king kill you and I’ll f**k your corpse.'”
Depp denied being violent towards Heard during the Australia trip and claimed she was the one who attacked him.
Heard told the court she was “smothered”, “slapped” and “suffocated” in the “most violent night” of her relationship with Depp.
She claimed he attacked her on the night of their Thanksgiving bash at their Los Angeles home on November 26 2015.
In her testimony, Heard alleged Depp as high on cocaine when he violently attacked her.
She told the court: “We got into a fight on Thanksgiving, where Johnny ripped my shirt and threw me across the room. He threw a wine glass and a heavy glass decanter at me, which thankfully both missed me.”
She alleged Depp slapped her, grabbed her by the hair and dragged her from room-to-room in their apartment.
Heard went on to allege he headbutted her, grabbed her by the throat, pushed her face down into a mattress, smothered her, pulled out more hair and put his knee on her back as he suffocated her with such force the bed broke.
Depp denied being violent towards Heard on the night of the party.
Headbutt claims and the James Corden show
Heard alleged she was left with two black eyes, a broken nose and had pus oozing from wounds on her scalp after Depp allegedly pulled her hair and headbutted her during a row at their home in Los Angeles on December 15 in 2015.
She appeared on James Corden’s US TV show the day after the alleged attack and said none of her injuries were visible because they were covered with make-up.
A video of her appearance on the show was played in court and Heard insisted she’d “caked herself” in make-up to hide “tons of injuries.
Eleanor Laws QC, for Depp, asked Heard: “That’s what you looked like on the show. There is no sign of you having any injuries.”
Heard replied: “I have tons of injuries.”
Ms Laws then said, “You don’t have a split lip”, and Heard replied, “Of course I do,” adding she “caked on red lipstick” and “caked on makeup” to cover her injuries.
Depp has previously admitted headbutting Heard during the row, but insisted it was an accident. He’s denied being violent towards his wife during the argument.
During her testimony, Heard let slip a shocking claim as she told the court she’d heard Depp has pushed his ex-girlfriend Kate Moss down the stairs.
During questioning, Heard was asked about a heated row with Depp at their home in Los Angeles in March 2015.
Heard’s sister Whitney was there as they argued on a landing between two staircases, and the actress told the court she punched Depp to defend her sibling.
She went on to told the court she behaved this way because she’d her “a rumour” that Depp had “pushed” his ex-girlfriend Kate Moss “down the stairs.”
Heard said: “I heard the rumour he pushed an ex-girlfriend down the stairs – I think it was Kate Moss – and that was fresh in my mind… So I reacted quickly.
“I have been Johnny’s punching bag for years… And I remember this as it was the first incident when I ever struck him back.”
Depp dated Moss from 1994 until 1998. He has yet to comment on the allegation made by Heard.
During the trial, Depp was accused of dangling one of the former couple’s pet dogs, Pistol, out of the window of a moving car following a cocaine binge.
In her witness statement, Heard’s sister Whitney Henriquez alleged the actress cried and begged him to stop as he laughed “this awful, evil laugh”.
She stated: “He suddenly held Pistol – Amber’s dog – out the window. I remember freezing because he was so f****d up and if Pistol had wriggled, he would have dropped her and that would have been it.
“I remember Amber was crying saying, ‘please baby, please let me have Pistol’.
“Johnny was laughing this awful, evil laugh and was shouting and teasing her about dropping her dog out the window. Amber was pleading with him, and somehow managed to get the dog back.”
During his time in the witness box, Depp denied he’d held the dog out of the car window but admitted he’d made a sick joke about putting the creature in a microwave.
Depp told the court: “That sort of humour was a running joke between myself Ms Heard, her family because they [the dogs] are so ludicrously tiny.
“I wasn’t the inventor of that joke. I wasn’t the only one who brought things like that up.”
The trial heard claims of Depp’s drug use and drinking binges. The actor was accused of using drugs including cocaine, MDMA, ecstasy, oxycontin and marijuana, and he described his attempts to get sober.
He claimed he writhed in agony and “sobbed like a child” as he went through detox on his private island in the Bahamas.
One picture show in court showed Depp slumped on the floor of a hotel room.
Sasha Wass QC, for NGN, told the court he had “passed out” but the actor insisted he was “sleeping, not passed out”.
Another picture shown featured lines of white powder on a marble work top next to a credit card with Depp’s name on.
Depp was questioned about the picture, with Ms Wass saying: “If I were to say to you these were lines of your cocaine?”
The actor responded: “If they were mine I would wonder why they had been photographed.”
Another picture showed lines of white powder alongside a box with the actor’s initials on, drinks, a credit card and a tampon applicator.
Whitney Henriquez was asked about the image, taken in March 2013, and she claimed she had given Depp a tampon applicator so he could use it to take cocaine.
She added: “He was quite fond of that trick.”
Depp’s assistant Deuters, who has worked for the actor for 16 years, also spoke about his boss’ drug use.
During his testimony, Deuters admitted he had helped Depp get controlled drugs but for the first eight years of his employment – he had never seen him take anything.
He said Depp took marijuana which was legal in California. The actor was a registered user and could acquire it legally.
He said Depp had taken cocaine but it was a “rare occurrence”.
Deuters said Depp did drink alcohol but “did not get drunk”, adding: “It was almost remarkable. He had a very strong constitution.”
Another picture show in court, showed Depp slumped unconscious on a sofa after falling asleep while eating a tub of ice cream.
The desert had toppled over and melted all over his clothes.
Depp said when Heard showed him the picture she said: “Look at what you’ve become. It’s pathetic.”
During his testimony, Depp claimed he was left broke after losing his entire $650 million movie fortune and wracking up $100 million in debt.
Depp revealed he lost his entire earnings from the lucrative Pirates of the Caribbean franchise and was left $100 million in debt due to spiralling tax bills.
Th movie star said he found out the bad news shortly before Heard’s 30th birthday party on April 21 2016.
He had a meeting at which he claimed discovered his former business managers had cost him a huge amount of money.
The actor’s lawyer, David Sherborne asked: “Can I ask how much?”
Depp replied: “It was put to me this way. It was put to me since Pirates II and III I had made – and it seems a ludicrous number – $650 million.
“When I fired them for the right reasons I had not only lost the $650 million but I was $100 million in the hole because they had not paid the government my taxes for 17 years.
“It was a bad meeting.”
He went on to claim Heard had attacked him after he turned up at her party in a bad mood following the meeting.
Depp said she attacked him swinging “haymakers” at him while he was sitting in bed reading a book.
Asked what a “haymaker” was, he relied: “It’s a bit of a wild swing but effective if it reaches the target.”
However, he denied he’d been violent towards Heard.
Scratched and bruised face
Bett told the court he had never seen Depp being violent towards his wife, and was shown a picture, said to have been taken in March 2015.
Heard admitted striking the star during a row in March 2015 – claiming she was defending her sister.
Another picture, said to have been taken in December 2015, showed the actor with red marks on his face.
When asked about the cause of the injuries, Bett said: “Mr Depp told me Ms Heard had slapped him round the face a few times”.
During the trial, the court heard how Depp had taken exception to two pictures Heard had hung in their home which were by her former partner, artist Taysa van Ree.
A picture taken by Depp in 2014, and shown in court, showed he’d scrawled on the glass frame of one picture changing Ms Van Ree’s signature to Taysa van Pee.
The court heard Depp texted Heard’s sister Whitney about what he’d done and sent her a picture of the damage.
Whitney replied saying: “Well done, my friend, well done. The van Pee painting earns you 20 points in my book.”
Depp then replied: “Can’t stand that f***ing hovering vulture.”
“She’s the worst. Did sis [Heard] notice the van Pee yet?” Whitney replied and Depp texted back: “Oh yes, she laughed her a*** off.”
Heard told the court Depp had asked her to remove the picture as well as another painting by her ex, which she claimed he’d try to set on fire.
She said there was minimal damage to the artwork as Depp had been “too inebriated” .
Heard told the court she was left covered in blood after Depp “popped her teeth” and split her lip in a row over claims she had affairs with two men.
She alleged he hit her in the face in a fight in March 2013 which she referred to as the “disco bloodbath”.
The actress told the court she was left covered in blood, which also spattered onto the wall and across the kitchen.
“Back then it was just slaps or backhands, and at the time it was a shock… I felt his rings hit my mouth, my teeth…
“All I can tell you is Johnny wore these rings… He backhanded me… We got into an argument because he said I’d had affairs with two people I never had an affair with”.
She claimed the incident happened on 8 March 2013 – not 22 March which had previously been cited as the date of the “disco bloodbath”.
The judge, Mr Justice Nicol, asked for an explanation of the term “disco bloodbath” and Heard replied: “He hit me, and split my lip, blood went on the wall and on my shirt”.
The actress told the court Depp started using the phrase in reference to the row, and it is the title of a book.
Depp has denied hitting Heard.
During the trial, Heard claimed Depp had threatened to kill her many times and she’d feared for her life on several occassions.
In her witness statement Heard, 34, said Depp told her “death was the only way out” of their marriage and he threatened her life.
Heard said: “Some incidents were so severe that I was afraid he was going to kill me, either intentionally or just by losing control and going too far.
“He explicitly threatened to kill me many times, especially later in our relationship.”
Heard claimed Depp told her he would kill her if she ever tried to leave him.
She added: “[H]e talked about our relationship being ‘dead or alive’ and telling me that death was the only way out of the relationship; the way he would describe what he wanted to do to me if I left him or hurt him.
“(For example, carving my face up so no one else would want me); and in his language towards others who he didn’t like or was threatened by (detailing how he wanted to have someone tortured or how cheap and easy it would be to have someone knocked off).”
Depp has denied being violent towards his ex-wife.
The court released Paradis’ witness statement in which she defended her former partner, who is the father of her two children.
She said: “I have known Johnny for 25 years. We have been partners for 14 years and we raised our two children together.
“Through all these years I’ve known Johnny to be a kind, attentive, generous and non-violent person and father…
“I am aware of the allegations which Amber Heard has publicly accused Johnny of for more than four years now.
“This is nothing like the true Johnny I have known, and from my personal experience of many years, I can say he was never violent or abusive to me.
“I have seen that these outrageous statements have been really distressing and also caused damage to his career because unfortunately people have gone on believing these false facts…”
Ryder also defended Depp in her witness statement, slamming the “horrific” abuse claims and hinting Heard is “liar”.
The actress, 48, insisted her relationship with Depp in the 1990s was “wildly different” to his marriage to Heard, adding: “I do not want to call anyone a liar but from my experience of Johnny, it is impossible to believe that such horrific allegations are true.
“I find it extremely upsetting knowing him as I do.”
Heard’s sister Whitney Henriquez was sensationally accused of lying in court when she said the actress had never been violent towards her after a bombshell video emerged.
Henriquez was asked whether her sibling had ever been violent towards her or shown a tendency for violence and she answered no.
Depp’s lawyer David Sherborne later presented a video, which was played in court, which showed a group of women chatting by a swimming pool.
In the video, said to have been filmed in 2006 or 2007 as part of a reality TV project, the women are examining what appear to be marks on Henriquez’s face and body and sympathising with her.
One of the women questioned Henriquez about Heard “beating her up”.
The woman said: “I can’t believe Amber beat your ass. I know you could beat her ass” and Henriquez says several times: “I’m not talking about it.”
The woman went on to say: “She really did whip your butt.”
Sherborne said Henriquez had lied to support her sister.
Henriquez then returned to the witness box to be questioned about the video and she denied there was a “physical fight” between the sisters.
She told the court: “They were trying to make a narrative that wasn’t there. Trying to make a really, really boring conversation more interesting…
“It was a really bad reality show. We were referencing a verbal argument me and my sister got into the night before.
“It was nothing other than a verbal argument.”
‘Now I can punch her in the face and no one can do anything about it’
The last witness to give evidence was Heard’s friend iO Tillet Wright, who claimed Depp made a chilling joke on the day of his wedding to the actress.
The couple tied the knot in the Bahamas in in February 2015, with Tillet Wright acting as Heard’s best man.
He claims after the ceremony, Depp made a joke about punching his new wife.
Tillet Wright told the court: “The first thing Johnny said to me after the ceremony, as we walked to the reception, was ‘Now I can punch her in the face and no one can do anything about it’.
“He probably intended it as a joke, but it is only a joke if it’s not real – and by then I knew he was hitting her.”