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Johnny Depp And Amber Heard Abuse Claims Take Center Stage In Tabloid Libel Trial

Allegations involving actors Johnny Depp and Amber Heard have thus far involved everything from animal abuse to drug-fueled domestic violence.

By Sharon Lynn Pruitt
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As exes Johnny Depp and Amber Heard continue to air their grievances in court, numerous allegations of abuse and other misconduct within the marriage have taken center stage and attracted widespread attention.

Depp, 57, is suing News Group Newspapers, a UK company, as well as the executive editor of the Sun tabloid for libel over a 2018 article that claimed that Depp was an abusive husband during his marriage to Heard, CNN reported. The company has stood by their reporting and called their description of Depp “entirely truthful and accurate.”

Depp has denied being abusive toward Heard, and said that the newspaper’s reports were “completely untrue.”

The trial — which is taking place at the High Court in London — began on Tuesday and is expected to last for 15 days, according to CNN. Heard, against whom Depp has a separate defamation case, has been present at proceedings and will be supporting The Sun.

Johnny Depp and Amber Heard

While the legal battle is still just in its beginning stages, numerous accusations between Depp and Heard, 34, have been discussed during the first days of the trial.

1. Depp accused of slapping Heard over tattoo

In court on Wednesday, Depp was accused of slapping Heard in the face multiple times after she laughed at one of his tattoos. Depp famously got “Winona Forever” tattooed onto his arm during his previous relationship with actress Winona Ryder, but had the ink changed to read “Wino Forever” following the pair’s breakup. Sasha Wass, an attorney representing The Sun, claimed that Depp struck Heard in 2013 after she laughed about it, according to The Daily Mail. She claimed that Depp was first disappointed in Heard and then angry at her. “You slapped her more than once, because after you slapped her the first time, she didn’t react, she just eyeballed you, she just stared at you, and that made you more angry, and you slapped her again," she said.

In response, Depp said that he didn't remember any argument about any of his tattoos and denied hitting Heard.

“That is not correct, it's untrue. It didn't happen,” he said. “That is patently untrue.”

Ryder spoke out in Depp's defense in 2016, telling Time that the actor was never abusive to her and stating that she knew him to be loving and very protective. The “Stranger Things” actress is expected to provide evidence in Depp’s case against The Sun, according to CNN.

2. Depp denied flying into a “blind rage” over James Franco.

During the second day of the trial, Depp’s alleged jealousy regarding Heard working with actor James Franco became a point of discussion, according to the Evening Standard. Heard and Franco worked together on the 2015 film “Adderall Diaries.” Depp said this initially came as a surprise to him because Heard allegedly spoke negatively of her experiences with Franco while filming 2008’s “Pineapple Express.”

Wass claimed that during a private flight in May 2014, while the pair was traveling from Boston to Los Angeles, Depp flew into a “blind rage” over his jealousy of Franco, according to the Standard. The attorney alleged that Depp, under the influence of alcohol and drugs, called Heard a “go-getter slut and a whore” and assaulted her.

“You were so angry you slapped her across the face in front of everybody,” Wass said. However, while Depp admitted to being “jealous” of the situation, he denied assaulting Heard.

“There is a possibility Ms. Heard and I had a fight where those words came out of my mouth, but I didn’t go into a rage and start screaming at her in front of all those people,” Depp said. He went on to contend that Heard is a liar and instigated the altercation, something he said she often did.

Depp claimed he was forced to lock himself in the bathroom in order to avoid a violent confrontation. He then added he may have blacked out during the flight, but insisted that his hired security would not have allowed any violence to take place.

Depp’s alleged jealousy over Heard’s ex, artist Tasya van Ree, also came up in court; the defense claims that Depp, while again under the influence, demanded that Heard remove a painting done by Ree and hit her during the argument, according to The Daily Mail. Heard claimed that Depp tried to set the painting on fire and that he hit her hard enough that blood from her lip got on the wall, but Depp denied being violent, describing his ex’s claims as a “picturesque lie.”

3. Depp contended that Heard was abusive toward him.

Depp detailed allegations of his own in a written statement, Page Six reported. The actor claimed that in March 2015, Heard threw two vodka bottles at him, and the second one severed his finger. Photos shown in court on Tuesday show Depp lying on a stretcher with a bleeding finger, sans fingertip, according to The Daily Mail. He also claimed that his ex put out a lit cigarette on his cheek.

“The severity of these injuries brought about the personal realization of the severity of the abuse that Ms. Heard had inflicted upon me for so long. I couldn't believe that we had come to this. I wondered what more she could do to me,” Depp said in his statement.

An unnamed source challenged that claim in 2016, telling Page Six that that Depp injured his own finger by smashing a telephone into a wall. However, in court on Tuesday, Depp’s camp maintained their position that Heard was routinely abusive.

Depp’s lawyers also read excerpts from audio that they said was recorded in 2015, and that allegedly shows Heard mocking him, according to The Daily Mail. Heard allegedly called Depp a “f--king baby” and also remarked, “You got hit … but I did not punch you. I did not f--king deck you. I f--king was hitting you,” according to The Daily Mail.

4. Depp denied allegations of animal abuse.

Attorneys for The Sun accused Depp of once holding Heard’s Yorkshire terrier, Pistol, out of the window of a moving vehicle, claims which Depp denied, according to a report from The Daily Mail. Wass said that Depp was “smoking” and angry when he grabbed the dog and “held her out of the window and started making howling noises.”

In response, Depp said that the claim was an “absolute utter falsity” and “fraudulent.”

While Depp admitted to having a running joke with Heard that involved putting a dog into a microwave, he denied finding the idea of holding a dog out of a window amusing.

“No ma'am, I don't think hanging an animal, a small defenseless dog that weighs three pounds out of a window is fun,” he said.

5. Depp accused Heard of defecating in their bed.

In Depp’s written statement, which was read in court, Depp claimed that he found human feces in the bed he shared with Heard in April 2016, according to the Mirror. The discovery came after a birthday party for Heard that took place in the couple’s Los Angeles home, Depp’s lawyers claimed.

Depp said he believed either Heard or one of her friends were responsible for the feces, and that she allegedly acknowledged responsibility, telling their landlord that it was a “harmless prank.”

Depp claimed that Heard previously tried to blame the feces in the bed on the couple’s two dogs, a claim which Depp didn't buy because the dogs were too small, he reportedly said. And the actor did not find it “harmless,” he explained, according to the Mirror.

He made the decision to divorce Heard the same day, the actor said.

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