‘I’m not sick’: Johnny Depp blames ex-wife Amber Heard’s claims for his gaunt look as court papers reveal two LA cops and his security guards contradict her version of ‘phone hitting’ incident – but she says she has overwhelming evidence otherwise
- Hollywood star, 55, rubbished claims he is ill or dying but stressed over smears
- Ex-wife Amber Heard, 32, accused of him of domestic violence before they split
- Pictures of her with a bloodied face circulated online leading to speculation
- Mail on Sunday can reveal he is trying to clear his name with High Court claim
Hollow-eyed, pale and painfully thin, the look is a far cry from Johnny Depp’s days as a Hollywood heart-throb, a star whose chiselled features and fiendish charm made him an object of female desire around the globe.
Fans were shocked when this picture emerged just a few weeks ago of a worryingly gaunt Depp on tour with his band Hollywood Vampires.
Speculation spread quickly that the Pirates Of The Caribbean actor was ill, possibly even dying, with some expressing concern that a lifetime of excess might finally have taken its toll.
After all, Depp has never shied away from admitting to his party lifestyle, or the extent of his drug and alcohol consumption. Many commented that the 55-year-old appeared unrecognisable.
Yet friends say that, for all the understandable speculation, the true reason for his haunted, skin-and-bones look is nothing to do with substance abuse or illness.
And that it is, instead, the result of something which is, in its way, still more disturbing.
Johnny Depp (pictured with fan at a hotel in Russia) has told friends it is not an illness making him look unwell, but the accusations of domestic violence brought by his ex-wife Amber Heard
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For Depp, they say, has struggled to cope with the ‘terrible accusations’ made against him by his former wife, the model-turned-actress Amber Heard, who sensationally branded him a wife-beater as pictures showing her with a bruised face circulated on the internet.
So far, Depp has remained silent about the explosive allegations, even though they threaten to derail his stellar career.
Today, however, The Mail on Sunday can reveal he is attempting to clear his name with a High Court case in London against a newspaper that reported Ms Heard’s allegations earlier this year.
And he has told friends: ‘I’m not sick. I’m not battling anything, other than the smears that I’m determined to prove are false.’
Depp is suing The Sun for libel, over a story calling him a wife-beater, and which also criticised JK Rowling for standing by the actor after he was cast in a film spin-off of her Harry Potter books.
He has been accused of hurling a mobile phone with such force that it injured Ms Heard during an altercation in May 2016 in which it is claimed their apartment was damaged.
But in court papers seen by this newspaper, Depp’s legal team denies absolutely that the star assaulted Ms Heard.
The Hollywood star (pictured at Comic Con in San Diego today) was accused of beating his ex-wife Amber Heard, 32
The actress (pictured centre with Game of Thrones actor Jason Momoa left and Nicole Kidman right) attended Comic Con as well, while Depp appeared on stage at a different time
‘The phone did not hit Ms Heard on the face or elsewhere,’ say his lawyers. ‘Nor did [Depp] pull Ms Heard’s hair or strike her, or grab her face or touch her.’
The High Court papers cite depositions from two Los Angeles police officers, who appear to contradict Ms Heard’s version of events.
They say they arrived at the couple’s home 25 minutes after the alleged attack, yet saw no damage to the property, adding that a crying Ms Heard told them she wasn’t hurt and did not need medical attention. Nor did they see injuries or swellings on her face.
The papers show that Depp denies Ms Heard’s claim that he was either high or drunk on May 16, when he had entered the apartment to collect some of his belongings.
His lawyers claim he brought two of his security team along with him because he ‘was concerned’ about what Ms Heard would do.
They too appear to contradict her version of events, claiming that Depp was not in fact physically close to his wife during the incident.
The court documents state that one of the guards, who had been waiting outside the door when Depp entered the penthouse, rushed in when Ms Heard began shouting.
The couple, 55, and 32, are pictured together at the Grammys in Los Angeles in 2016
‘Immediately upon opening the door, the security guards observed [Depp] standing in the kitchen areas, far away from Ms Heard,’ the lawyers say in the papers.
‘At that moment, Ms Heard yelled, ‘Stop hitting me, Johnny’ into the phone.
The claimant was not hitting Ms Heard. Ms Heard was standing in front of the sofa about 25 feet away.’
Ms Heard was then said to have looked visibly shocked and feigned crying.
The court document states that she then began talking in the past tense after speaking in the present and said: ‘He hit me with a phone’ and, ‘That’s the last time you hit me, Johnny.’
She then screamed into the phone for a friend to call police.
Ms Heard separated from Depp that same month after describing a disturbing history of domestic abuse and filing a temporary restraining order.
In her own dramatic account of the row, she has described how Depp aimed the phone at her from close range, saying that he deliberately wound up his arm ‘like a baseball pitcher’ to throw it at her head, ‘striking her cheek and eye with great force’.
The scene, she alleged, was chaotic, with Depp screaming and breaking things, including chandeliers, and spraying wine before finally storming out.
Her friend Raquel Pennington has publicly backed this account of events.
Heard (pictured) branded him a wife-beater as pictures showing her with a bruised face circulated on the internet
Neither Ms Heard nor her representatives have commented on the new High Court case, for which no date has been set. The Sun has said that Ms Heard’s claims are backed by overwhelming evidence and will be vigorously defended with testimony from numerous witnesses and taped evidence.
Ms Heard, 32, has alleged a disturbing history of extreme anger, violent outbursts and substance abuse by Depp, and says she lived in fear during their 15-month marriage. She sported a distinct bruise on the side of her face when, following the episode, she appeared in a London court to apply for a temporary restraining order.
‘During the entirety of our relationship, Johnny has been verbally and physically abusive to me,’ she said at the time.
According to a statement from the actress filed in support of the order – which was granted – she said that Depp had been violent towards her on a number of occasions over a six-month period in 2016.
In one incident on Ms Heard’s birthday in April, Depp allegedly threw a magnum-sized bottle of champagne at the wall and a wine glass at her, then grabbed her by the hair and shoved her to the floor.
Her claims sent shockwaves through Hollywood, where Depp has long had a bad-boy reputation, but had never before been associated with abusing women.
The controversy threatened to derail his career, after critics called for him to be starved of film roles.
The couple jointly issued a statement which appeared to absolve either side of blame, agreeing their relationship had been ‘intensely passionate and at times volatile, but always bound by love’.
Comic Con: Amber Heard is pictured at the international convention as part of a panel for her new film Aquaman today
‘Neither party has made false accusations for financial gain,’ it continued. ‘There was never an intent of physical or emotional harm.’ Ms Heard donated proceeds from the settlement to charity.
Despite this, she has stuck to her story of domestic abuse and remains a vocal champion of the #MeToo movement, with the inevitable implication that she feels she has also been a victim.
Those close to Depp, meanwhile, say the ‘false accusations’ continue to dog him. Earlier this year, author JK Rowling was forced to publicly defend his return to the role of Grindelwald in the sequel to the 2016 hit film Fantastic Beasts And Where To Find Them, after a backlash over the divorce.
‘Johnny is sick of being painted as a wife-beater,’ said one source. ‘It has been the unravelling of him. It really hit him very hard and he almost had to find time to heal.
‘He has been through hell and back with all the shocking things said about him. But it is the sense of betrayal that has hurt him the most. He has been let down by people he trusted. He wants people to know that he has been unfairly sullied.’
Heard is pictured embracing her Aquaman co-stars Nicole Kidman and Jason Momoa
Depp may have some way to go in rehabilitating his reputation, however, given his history of erratic behaviour. Just a few weeks ago, a journalist claimed he smoked cannabis throughout a two-day period in which he was being interviewed for an article in Rolling Stone magazine.
The sheer scale of his spending has also raised eyebrows. His management company, with which he has been in dispute, has suggested he spends $2 million (£1.5 million) a month, with a staggering $30,000 of that on fine wine.
It was claimed he has spent $75 million on 14 homes and $18 million on a yacht. and that, most eccentrically of all, it had cost him $3 million to lay the late Hunter S Thompson to rest by blasting his ashes out of a cannon.
Amid the turmoil, there has been some good news for Depp, with the announcement last week of a confidential settlement in his multi-million pound lawsuit against his former business managers, The Management Group, which he had accused of fraud and theft after establishing that a huge proportion of his £489 million fortune had disappeared.
Depp claimed The Management Group collected more than $25 million in fees that weren’t agreed upon, and also failed to pay his taxes on time.
Her ex-husband (pictured) was also at Comic Con today as part of his promotion for Harry Potter spin-off Fantastic Beasts
Depp and Ms Heard met in 2009 when she was cast as his love interest in The Rum Diary. They were not romantically linked until June 2012, when Depp split from French singer and actress Vanessa Paradis, his partner of 14 years.
At the time, Ms Heard, who is 22 years his junior, described herself as bisexual. Before dating Depp, she had a long relationship with a female photographer named Tasya van Ree.
Some of Depp’s friends have revealed that they tried to talk him out of marrying the former model, but he was so besotted with her that he even refused to draw up a pre-nuptial agreement.
Last week’s confidential settlement with The Management Group, he told friends, vindicated his insistence that this was yet another slur on his good name and that his case was ‘a wake-up call to entertainers and Hollywood advisers who abuse their position of trust’.
Others believe this particular Hollywood drama has some considerable distance to go – with no guarantee of a happy ending.
Fantastic Beasts: Depp will feature in the spin-off film The Crimes of Grindelwald
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