(Press Association) Johnny Depp has accused Amber Heard of telling “porky pies” about him to a psychiatrist, during a third day of intense questioning over his drug use and relationship with his ex-wife as his libel claim against The Sun newspaper continues.
The Hollywood star suggested there was a “benefit to her (Ms Heard’s) motivation” to tell the medical professional that he was “threatened” by her career and that a film she made with actor James Franco led to a “binge” that put him in hospital.
The High Court has also heard details of medical notes written by Depp’s private doctor which said the actor “romanticises the entire drug culture and has no accountability for his behaviour”.
The actor was cross-examined about a detox trip the couple took to the Bahamas in August 2014, during which Heard says he attacked her, which he denies.
The 57-year-old is suing the tabloid’s publisher News Group Newspapers (NGN) and its executive editor Dan Wootton over an April 2018 article which labelled him a “wife beater”. Depp’s lawyers say the article made “defamatory allegations of the utmost seriousness,” accusing him of committing serious assaults on Heard, 34, and “inflicting such serious injuries that she feared for her life.”
Sasha Wass QC, lead counsel for NGN, told the court that Depp’s private doctor, Dr David Kipper, had started treating Heard for anxiety, and referred her to another medic, Dr Connell Cowan.
She said Dr Cowan wrote in medical notes: “JD (Johnny Depp) is very threatened by career, particularly any kind of romantic scenes she has to do. Her movie with JF (James Franco) precipitated a binge that put JD in the hospital. Everyone around J seems to be intimidated by his power and money. No one stands up to him.”
Asked if there was a reason why Heard would have said this, unless it was true, Depp said: “I believe it had a benefit to her motivation.” He later added: “I think she was telling porky pies with her psychiatrist.” (Porky pies is British slang for lies.)
Earlier, Wass read out medical notes by Dr Kipper which said Depp, “romanticises the entire drug culture and has no accountability for his behaviour.” The doctor also wrote that Depp paid “lip service” to people like the actor’s friend Sir Elton John “more for their celebrity than their struggle with sobriety.”
In response, Depp said he, Dr Kipper, Heard and another nurse, who cared for him in the Bahamas had “all just met,” adding “they were not versed in our lives, our life together, as yet.”
Wass also read out medical notes from two other occasions – including one dated September 22 which recorded that Mr Depp punched the wall during an argument with Amber Heard and was found “sitting in the kitchen with scraped and bloodied knuckles”.
The barrister said: “It seems to be how you are expressing your anger yet again.” Depp replied: “I would rather express my anger by hitting an inanimate object than… the person I love.”
Wass began her third day of cross-examining Depp by asking him about a detox trip on his private island in the Bahamas in August 2014. The trip is one of 14 alleged incidents of domestic violence, all denied by Depp, relied on by NGN in their defense against the actor’s libel claim.
Depp was asked if he “hit and pushed” Heard, to which he said: “I didn’t push Ms Heard or attack her in any way, as certainly I was not in any condition to do so.” He added that he “was in no physical condition to push anyone”.
The court heard details of a text message exchange between Depp and his mother-in-law, sent during the Bahamas trip. In one text, Depp told her “your daughter has risen far above the nightmarish task of taking care of this poor old junkie.”
It also said: “My words are truly feeble in attempting to explain her heroism in a text – suffice to say that I have never met or loved a woman or a thing more.”
In a separate message to Heard herself, Depp wrote: “Thank you so much for getting me f****** clean baby.”
The actor’s case against NGN and Wootton arises out of the publication of an article on The Sun’s website on April 27 2018 with the headline “Gone Potty: How can JK Rowling be ‘genuinely happy’ casting wife beater Johnny Depp in the new Fantastic Beasts film?”.
NGN is defending the article as true and says Depp was “controlling and verbally and physically abusive towards Ms Heard, particularly when he was under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs” between early 2013 and May 2016, when the couple split.
A separate libel claim brought by Depp against Heard in the US, over a December 2018 column in the Washington Post, which said the actress received “the full force of our culture’s wrath for women who speak out,”, but did not mention Mr Depp by name, is due to begin in January 2021.
The pair met in 2011 and began living together in 2012 before marrying in Los Angeles in February 2015.