(Press Association) Winona Ryder and Vanessa Paradis will no longer be called to give evidence in Johnny Depp’s libel claim against The Sun over an article that labeled him a “wife beater”, the High Court has heard.
Depp’s former partners were due to appear via video link this week, but the actor’s barrister David Sherborne told the court Depp’s legal team had decided there is no need to hear from them.
The Hollywood star, 57, is suing the tabloid’s publisher News Group Newspapers (NGN) and its executive editor Dan Wootton over an April 2018 article which alleged he was violent towards ex-wife Amber Heard, 34, during their tumultuous relationship.
At the start of day eight of Depp’s claim, Sherborne said there was no need to call Ryder and Paradis given that the defendant’s case is that the actor was not violent to other partners but was to Heard.
He told the court: “There is no need to reschedule those witnesses, much as it would have been a pleasure to have them here.”
Paradis, who was in a relationship with Depp for more than 14 years and had two children with him, was due to give evidence in support of the actor’s case on Thursday.
At a preliminary hearing in the case, part of Paradis’s witness statement said: “I have known Johnny for more than 25 years. We’ve 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.”
She added: “He was never violent or abusive to me.”
On Wednesday, the court did not have time to hear from actress Ryder, who was engaged to Depp in the 1990s. The court has previously heard Depp had a “Winona Forever” tattoo when the pair were an item, which he later changed to “Wino Forever.”
At a preliminary hearing in the case, part of Ryder’s witness statement was revealed in court documents, which read: “I cannot wrap my head around (Ms Heard’s) accusations. He was never, never violent towards me. He was never, never abusive at all towards me.”
The Pirates Of The Caribbean star is suing NGN and Wootton over the publication of an article 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?”.
His lawyers say the article bore the meaning there was “overwhelming evidence” Depp assaulted Heard on a number of occasions and left her “in fear for her life.”
Heard claims that, during an incident in Australia, she was subjected to a “three-day hostage situation” during which Depp drank to excess and took pills.
NGN is defending the article as true, and says Depp was “controlling and verbally and physically abusive towards Heard, particularly when he was under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs.”