Heard's 'sexual violence' evidence against Depp will be kept secret

Amber Heard’s ‘sexual violence’ evidence against Johnny Depp will be kept secret in his libel claim against The Sun despite him arguing claims should be made public

  • Amber Heard, 33, is to give evidence at Johnny Depp’s libel trial at High Court 
  • Depp, 56, is suing The Sun’s publisher News Group Newspapers for 2018 article 
  • In it the tabloid’s executive editor Dan Wootton called him a ‘wife-beater’ 
  • At a Skype hearing on Wednesday the judge ruled Ms Heard’s evidence relating to allegations of sexual violence will be heard in private at forthcoming trial  

Amber Heard’s ‘sexual violence’ evidence against Johnny Depp will be kept secret at his libel trial against The Sun newspaper despite him arguing that the claims be made public.  

The Pirates Of The Caribbean star is suing the tabloid’s publisher, News Group Newspapers (NGN), and its executive editor Dan Wootton over an April 2018 article which referred to the 56-year-old as a ‘wife-beater’.

A two-week trial was due to start in London on March 25 at which the actor, Ms Heard, 33, and a number of Hollywood figures would have had to give evidence, but it was put on hold due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

At a remote Skype hearing on Wednesday, Mr Justice Nicol ruled part of Ms Heard’s evidence relating to allegations of sexual violence will be heard in private during the forthcoming trial.


Amber Heard’s ‘sexual violence’ evidence against Johnny Depp will be kept secret at his libel trial against The Sun newspaper despite him arguing that the claims be made public

At a remote Skype hearing on Wednesday, Mr Justice Nicol ruled part of Ms Heard’s evidence relating to allegations of sexual violence will be heard in private during the forthcoming trial (pictured: the High Court in London)

He made his ruling following an application by lawyers for NGN, saying the orders sought by the publishers were ‘necessary and proportionate’.

Mr Justice Nicol said: ‘I stress that nothing in this judgment will pre-judge the issues that I will have to decide at trial. Neither party will be disadvantaged by the fact that part of the trial will take place in private.

‘Either in public, or in private, the claimant (Mr Depp) will have a full opportunity, so far as is proper, to challenge the evidence of Ms Heard by cross-examination.’  

NGN’s counsel Adam Wolanski QC told the court Ms Heard, who is a defence witness in the case, had said she found the prospect of having to give evidence in public on the confidential matters ‘terrifying’.

He said: ‘Your lordship will know this case has generated a great deal of publicity already and one of Ms Heard’s concerns… is that she has been the subject of a great deal of vilification in the press, in particular on social media.

‘She is very concerned that the nature of these allegations is such that that would be the case if this confidential material is reported.’

David Sherborne, for Mr Depp, argued that allegations Ms Heard has made of both sexual and physical violence against her former husband – which Mr Depp vehemently denies – have been published previously and aired in open court.

He said Ms Heard was ‘no ordinary witness’, adding: ‘She has consistently promoted herself as a victim… and characterised her allegations as being not just about physical abuse, but sexual violence.’

Mr Sherborne said Ms Heard has ‘promoted herself as an activist’ during an appearance before the United Nations General Assembly, which took place in 2019, and in an opinion article for the Washington Post, which is the subject of separate libel proceedings by Mr Depp in the US.

However, Mr Justice Nicol found the part of her evidence which will remain confidential was ‘of a different order’ to allegations already in the public domain.

The exact nature of the allegations was not disclosed to the press or public and remain unknown.

Mr Depp (pictured leaving the Royal Courts of Justice in February) claims Ms Heard threw a glass bottle at him which smashed and fractured his finger before she ‘put a cigarette out on the claimant’s right cheek’

The Pirates Of The Caribbean star, 56, (pictured in February) is suing News Group Newspapers – the publishers of The Sun – and its executive editor Dan Wootton over an April 2018 article which alleged he was violent and abusive towards Ms Heard and referred to him as a ‘wife-beater’ 

The libel claim against NGN and Mr Wootton arises out of publication of an article in The Sun in April 2018, under the headline ‘Gone Potty – How can JK Rowling be ‘genuinely happy’ casting wife-beater Johnny Depp in the new Fantastic Beasts film?’

Mr Depp has brought separate libel proceedings against Ms Heard in the US, which the court has previously heard are ‘ongoing’.

Timeline of Amber Heard and Johnny Depp’s relationship

February 3, 2015

Johnny Depp and Amber Heard marry in a private civil ceremony at their LA home, four years after they met as co-stars on the set of The Rum Diaries. The couple celebrate with a lavish reception on an idyllic private island in the Bahamas that Depp bought in 2004 for $3.6 million. 

April 21, 2015

Heard breaches Australia’s biosecurity laws after she and Depp fail to declare their two Yorkshire terriers when they arrive Down Under on a private jet for the filming of Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales. Charges of illegally importing animals are dropped but Heard admits falsifying quarantine documents and is placed on a $1,000 one month good behavior bond.

May 23, 2016

Heard files for divorce after 15 months of marriage, citing irreconcilable differences. Four days later a judge issues a temporary restraining order against Depp over domestic violence allegations. Pictures of Heard’s alleged injuries hit the tabloids but the LAPD finds no evidence of a crime. 

August 16, 2016

Heard retracts her allegations as she and Depp reach a $7 million divorce settlement. Their marriage was ‘intensely passionate and at times volatile, but always bound by love,’ the former actors say in a statement. ‘There was never any intent of physical or emotional harm’.

December 18, 2018

The Washington Post publishes an op-ed by Heard, an ambassador for women’s rights at for the American Civil Liberties Union, urging support for women who suffer domestic violence. ‘Two years ago, I became a public figure representing domestic abuse, and I felt the full force of our culture’s wrath for women who speak out,’ Heard writes.

March 1, 2019

Despite not being named in the article, Depp files a $50 million defamation suit in Fairfax Circuit Court, Virginia saying it insinuated he was an abuser and got him fired from the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise. Depp dismisses Heard’s allegations as a ‘hoax’ and claims he was actually the victim of her violence.

April 10, 2019

Heard files a motion to dismiss the complaint, cataloging more than a dozen instances of abuse between 2012, when she moved in with Depp, and the May 2016 bust up that preceded their divorce. She refers to him as ‘the monster’ in the 300-plus page filing.

May 20, 2019

Depp hits back against the motion to dismiss claiming Heard painted bruises on her face, scrubbed metadata and fabricated evidence against him. He denies ever abusing any woman and says of her allegations: ‘I will continue to deny them for the rest of my life.’ 

A spokeswoman for Ms Heard said: ‘We welcome Mr Justice Nicol’s decision to allow evidence relating to ‘sexual violence’ to be heard in closed court.

‘There is simply no reason for such sensitive evidence to be exposed to the world’s press.

‘We are pleased that the court made this order despite Mr Depp’s troubling argument that Amber should not benefit from the right to privacy in relation to sexual violence, because of her public association with the #metoo movement and her advocacy for victims of sexual violence at the United Nations.’ 

The former couple met on the set of The Rum Diary in 2011, married four years later but split in May 2016 amid a slew of blood-curdling domestic violence allegations and tabloid headlines.

They looked to have put their feud behind them after agreeing to a $7 million (£5.5 million) divorce settlement in 2017 until Ms Heard wrote her Washington Post article in December 2018 about being a domestic abuse victim.

The article did not mention Mr Depp by name but he filed a $50 million (£40 million) defamation suit in Virginia in March 2019, saying it led to speculation that he was the abuser and caused him to lose the role of Captain Jack Sparrow.  

‘Ms. Heard is not a victim of domestic abuse; she is a perpetrator,’ Mr Depp’s US suit claimed.

‘She hit, punched and kicked me. She also repeatedly and frequently threw objects into my body and head, including heavy bottles, soda cans, burning candles, television remote controls and paint thinner cans, which severely injured me.’

The American lawsuit is due to be heard in August.

Mr Depp has always argued that he was the victim of an ‘elaborate hoax’ instigated by his ex-wife, who ‘faked’ her injuries with makeup after a blowout May 2016 fight that finally ended their toxic marriage.

Ms Heard responded with a lurid 300-page filing of her own, cataloging the ‘horrific’ abuse she claims to have suffered at Mr Depp’s hands, describing him as ‘the monster’ and recalling many of the allegations she made during their divorce.

The filing included photos of bruises and scars, clumps of hair apparently torn from Ms Heard’s head and pictures of smashed up furniture to illustrate the violence she was allegedly subjected to.

Ms Heard had a restraining order slapped on Mr Depp following an altercation on May 27, 2016, during which she claimed the actor threw a cellphone at her face at their downtown Los Angeles condominium.   

Ms Heard claimed police had evidence of the attack but two LAPD officers later said in a deposition that they found nothing to suggest a crime took place.

DailyMail.com obtained exclusive tape recordings which were made in 2015, around a year before the alleged fight, as the pair tried to talk through their caustic marriage problems. 

Their heart-to-heart quickly descends into bickering as Ms Heard accuses Mr Depp of taking her for granted, behaving like a ‘vacation husband’ and ‘splitting’ every time they have an argument.

Mr Depp complains he’s forced to leave when she becomes ‘manic and angry’, telling Ms Heard: ‘I’m not going be in a physical f**king altercation with you… you f**king hit me last night.’

He goes on to add: ‘I’m not the one who throws pots and whatever the f**k else at me.’

The vodka bottle Ms Heard allegedly threw, exploded and tore off Mr Depp’s finger (above after surgery). He said he had to undergo multiple surgeries and almost died after contracting MRSA three times

Ms Heard responds: ‘That’s different. That’s different. One does not negate the other. That’s irrelevant, that’s a complete non sequitur.

‘Just because I’ve thrown pots and pans does not mean you cannot come and knock on my door. ‘

When Mr Depp cuts in to suggest he’s also had vases hurled at him, she replies: ‘Just because there are vases does not mean that you come and knock on the door.’

‘Really, I should just let you throw?’ Mr Depp replies, tailing off as they carry on sniping.

‘The only time I ever threw anything at you was when you f**king threw the cans at me in Australia,’ he admits.

Ms Heard asks: ‘Why are you trying to justify who throws things based on whether or not you come knocking on the door? I don’t get why one informs the other.’

Mr Depp says, raising his voice: ‘Because that is a f**king irrational and violent f**king maneuver. So a man would want to get out of that area so that he doesn’t get so f**king angry that he actually does pop the f**king wife.’

The exchange doesn’t point to any specific event but it has a possible reference to the contentious and bloody incident in which Mr Depp suffered a severed finger one month into their marriage in Australia in March 2015.

Details of that incident were ventilated at the High Court earlier this month, during which NGN’s barrister Mr Wolanski QC said Mr Mr Depp lost the top of his finger ‘whilst in an alcohol and drug-addled rage against Ms Heard.’

He told the court Ms Heard alleges Mr Depp had ‘shoved Ms Heard into a ping-pong table’, grabbed her and then ‘tore her nightgown’ before he ‘slammed her against the countertop and strangled her’.

She claims that during the attack, which left her ‘scared for her life’, Mr Depp ‘severely injured his finger, cutting off the top’ while he was smashing a telephone against a wall, Mr Wolanski said.

Mr Depp, however, claims Ms Heard threw a glass bottle at him which smashed and fractured his finger before she ‘put a cigarette out on the claimant’s right cheek’.

Mr Wolanski said there were ‘diametrically opposed accounts of what happened’ in Australia, and submitted that two ‘highly damaging’ text messages sent by Mr Depp to his personal doctor, Dr David Kipper, later in March 2015 undermined his account.

One message sent shortly after the incident read: ‘I cut the top of my middle finger off… What should I do!?? Except, of course, go to a hospital… I’m so embarrassed for jumping into anything with her… F*** THE WORLD!!! JD.’

Two ‘diametrically opposed’ accounts of how Johnny Depp lost the top of his middle finger in a heated row with ex-wife Amber Heard (pictured together in 2016) is at the centre of his libel battle against The Sun newspaper 

A second message, sent around two weeks later, read: ‘Thank you for everything. I have chopped off my left middle finger as a reminder that I should never cut my finger off again. I love you brother. Johnny.’

Mr Wolanski said the texts had been disclosed in a separate libel case between the pair in the US but had only recently been disclosed to NGN’s lawyers, which he said demonstrated ‘the claimant just cannot be trusted when it comes to disclosure’.

The barrister also said that after another alleged attack, Mr Depp had told Ms Heard ‘it was as if there was another personality having done it’, which he referred to as ‘the monster’.

Mr Wolanski added that Ms Heard said: ‘He would blame all his actions on a self-created third-party… he would speak about it as if it was another person or personality.’

He applied for further disclosure of Mr Depp’s medical records from a psychiatrist and a relationship counsellor who treated him while he was in a relationship with Ms Heard and when, Mr Wolanski said, ‘he was under the influence of alcohol, illegal drugs and prescription drugs’.

He added Ms Heard’s evidence was that Mr Depp would ‘usually when under the influence of drugs and alcohol, but not always, flip and suddenly turn into ‘the monster’ and it was on those occasions that, she says, he lost control and attacked her’.

Mr Justice Nicol ordered Mr Depp to take further steps to secure evidence from consultations he had with the two doctors.

What Amber Heard told Johnny Depp during ‘informal’ two-hour therapy session day after actress ‘hit’ Pirates of the Caribbean star 

Johnny Depp: I’m not going be in a physical f**king altercation with you. 

Amber Heard: Don’t. Then don’t.

JD: You f**king hit me last night. You f**king… 

AH: What about all the other times you split? C’mon you cannot act like that’s about that. 

JD: Well on a plane, I can’t split. 

AH: No, and you hit back. So don’t act like you don’t f**king participate.

JD: I pushed you. 

AH: I’m not going to get into the details of that fight. You and I both know that you split when there is no physical violence involved and that you do it… like at the very beginning of fights these days. And if you split and you go into a different room and you don’t actually leave that house, it does nothing but perpetuate the fight and you don’t actually do it respectfully.

JD: You were f**king screaming at me.

AH: I’m not going to validate my actions last night. I feel very bad about what I did.

JD: No, I’m talking about Toronto. 

AH: I did not start screaming until you had f**king said all the s**t – you poke an animal enough, it is eventually, it doesn’t matter how friendly it is, it’s not cool.

JD: That’s not true. It’s the same for me, it’s the same for me.

AH: I stayed cool for so long and you kicked and kicked and kicked. 

JD: I need the same things but when you start flipping out, and I can’t get a word in, and it’s manic and angry, what the f**k Amber?

AH: I get angry. I’m human. This is the kind of situation when one gets angry. 

JD: Just try. Let’s both try. If there’s anger, if there’s something really, really poking us in the a** let’s try not to f**king fight. Try to address it without jumping down each other’s throats because all that’s gonna do is build a mountain of f**king, uh, resentment, some species of f**king hatred. 

AH: You take me for granted.

JD: It’s not true. It’s not true. I’m not the one who throws pots and whatever the f**king else at me. 

AH: That’s different. That’s different. One does not negate the other. That’s irrelevant. That’s a complete non sequitur. Just because I’ve thrown pots and pans does not mean you cannot come and knock on my door. 

JD: Vases and f**king…

AH: Just because there are vases does not mean that you come and knock on the door. 

JD: Really, I should just let you throw? 

AH: No, I’m not saying that. You’re saying that. You’re putting words in my mouth. 

JD: The only time I ever threw anything at you was when you f**king threw the cans at me in Australia. 

AH: Why are you trying to justify who throws things based on whether or not you come knocking on the door? I don’t get why one informs the other. 

JD: Because that is a f**king irrational and violent f**king maneuver. So a man would want to get out of that area so that he doesn’t get so f**king angry that he actually does pop the f**king wife.

JD: You’re just afraid that the truth will come out. 

AH: What truth? 

JD: That you lied. No, I said to you, tell Travis what you just did, did you punch me in the f**king jaw.

AH: What are you f**king talking about? I didn’t f**king even have a f**king thing to lie about. What are you f**king talking to? Every f**king fight. There’s a new thing that you’ve convinced yourself there’s a lie.

JD: No, I said to you, Amber, tell Travis what you just did. Did you just f**king did you punch me in the f**king jaw? Did you f**king kick? Did you? Did you? And you wouldn’t say a f**king, you said I don’t know what you’re talking about. I never f**king, it never f**king happened.

AH: I see the lie. I see the lie. You should really run with this. In fact maybe you and Travis can like, go and like do a tell about a, you know an investigative study.

JD: Listen, I was not high. You lied your a** off. 

AH: You’re f**king full of s**t. 

JD: You lied your a** off. 

AH: What conversation did I have with Travis, big, big investigative study you’ve done. I’m not sitting here fighting with you about the fight that we had last night.

JD: No I was in a situation with you. After you physically f**king got violent with me, I texted Travis, I said come up here, because I didn’t want anything to happen. 

AH: I know, come and save me.

JD: Come and what, save me?

AH: No go ahead, continue, Travis to the rescue. 

JD: No, that was the last one. You can go, ah, you can go. That was the last insult. 

AH: Oh yeah, you called me a liar, and yet, yet…

JD: I watched you lie. 

AH: You called me a liar. 

JD: I watched you lie.

AH: You’re full of s**t. You still haven’t told me what lie it is. 

JD: We’ll talk to Travis..

AH: You do this every single f**king time. 

JD: We’ll talk to Travis…

AH: I’m not f**king talking to nobody. F**k that. You go f**king j**k, go j**k him off. I don’t care. I really could care less. It’s you every single f**king time, you latch onto some sort of thing. I already told you. I don’t know what you’re f**king talking about. You don’t even know what you’re talking about. You still haven’t even told me what it is, but run with it. You run with it. 

JD: I have told you what it is. 

AH: No you haven’t.

JD: I said to Travis, I said, no, I said to you, hey tell Travis what just happened. 

AH: Oh, you told me to do it. You told me to. You said ‘go do that’ 

JD: I said tell no, tell him what just happened. 

AH: And I lied!

JD: And that you that you punched me in the f**king thing.

AH: You’re right! You figured it all out!

JD: In the face. And you said, no I f**king didn’t. What the f**k are you talking about?’ And I watched you lie. 

AH: I didn’t punch you. I didn’t punch you, by the way.

JD: You punched me.

AH: I’m sorry that I didn’t, uh, uh, hit you across the face in a proper slap, but I was hitting you, it was not punching you. Babe, you’re not punched. 

JD: Don’t tell me what it feels like to be punched!

AH: I know, you’ve been in a lot of fights, been around a long time. I know, I know. Yeah. 

JD: No! When you have a f**king closed fist. 

AH: You didn’t get punched. You got hit. I’m sorry I hit you like this. But I did not punch you. I did not f**king deck you. I f**king was hitting you.

JD: You can’t deck me.

AH: I don’t know what the motion of my actual hand was, but you’re fine, I did not hurt you, I did not punch you, I was hitting you.

JD: How are your toes? 

AH: What am I supposed to do, do this? 

JD: How are your toes? 

AH: I’m not sitting here b***hing about it am I, you are. 

JD: Oh, your poor toes. 

AH: That’s the difference between me and you, you’re a f**king baby. 

JD: Because you start physical fights? 

AH: You are such a baby! Grow the f**k up Johnny! 

JD: Because you start physical fights? 

AH: I did start a physical fight.

JD: Yeah, you did. So I had to get the f**k out of there. 

AH: Yes, you did, so you did the right thing. The big thing, the, you know what? You are admirable. Every single time, what, what’s your excuse, when there’s not a physical fight, what’s your excuse then? You’re still being admirable, right, by running away? And you can sit here and call me names, but you get called a name and what do you do – ‘that’s the last insult!’ You’re a baby. You’re a hypocrite. You don’t do anything that you actually do. You expect from people what you can’t give them. If they do something a taste of it to you, you f**king lose it. But yet you dish it out.

JD: I left last night. Honestly, I swear to you because I just couldn’t take the idea of more physicality, more physical abuse on each other because I had, we continued it. It would have gotten f**king bad. And baby, I told you this once. I’m scared to death we are a f**king crime scene right now. If we don’t get our s**t together by getting our s**t together, that might mean f**king a, we do this and we make it. That might mean Goddamn. You know, you say I’ve tried and done to Lou, but we’ve got to get our s**t together as individuals and as a couple. Because I love you and I do not want to leave you. I do not want to divorce, I do not want you out of my life. I just want peace.

JD: If things get physical, we have to separate. We have to be apart from one another. Whether it’s for f**king an hour or 10 hours or f**king a day. We must, there can be no physical violence towards each other.

AH: I agree about the physical violence, but separating for a day, taking a night off from our marriage?

JD: All I’m saying is we need to take whatever time we need you. You need, I need, to kind of let things settle for a minute. So that we don’t f**king kill each other or f**king worse, you know, f**king really kill each other or f**king break up or whatever.

JD: If the fight escalates to the point of where it’s just insulting for both of us, uh, or if it gets to that physical f**king s**t, the violence, that’s when we just said, look, let’s go to our corners, man, you hang wherever you want, baby. I’m going in the office and I’m just gonna f**king sit there and try and de-jellify my f**king brain. 

AH: I can’t promise that it will all be perfect. I can’t promise you I won’t get physical again. God I f**king sometimes I get so mad I lose it. I can f**king promise you I will do everything to change. I promise you. I’m not going to throw around divorce I not say divorce unless I really mean it.

JD: I love you and I want you to be my wife. And I want to be your husband. And I wanna be a good husband. If I haven’t been, I’ll do everything I can to find out how to be a good husband.

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