Johnny Depp denies ‘wife-beater’ claim in London libel trial

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Actor Johnny Depp leaves the High Court in London, Britain, July 7, 2020. (Reuters)
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Actor Amber Heard leaves the High Court in London, Britain, July 7, 2020. (Reuters)
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Updated 07 July 2020

Johnny Depp denies ‘wife-beater’ claim in London libel trial

  • The high-profile case has laid bare Johnny Depp and Amber Heard’s turbulent relationship, which ended in divorce in 2017
  • The couple first met on the set of the 2011 film ‘The Rum Diary’ and married in 2015

LONDON: Hollywood actor Johnny Depp strenuously denied being violent to his ex-wife Amber Heard, as he launched a libel claim in a London court on Tuesday against a British tabloid newspaper that called him a “wife-beater.”
The “Pirates of the Caribbean” star, 57, is suing the publishers of The Sun and the author of the article for the claims, which were made in April 2018.
Depp, wearing a dark suit, white shirt and facemask, was met by a throng of cameras as he arrived at court while Heard, a 34-year-old actress, used a separate entrance.
The high-profile case has laid bare the couple’s turbulent relationship, which ended in divorce in 2017, just two years after they married.
But Depp said in a witness statement submitted to the court: “For the avoidance of any doubt, I have never abused Ms Heard, or, indeed any other woman, in my life.”
He said it was a “strong and central part” of his moral code that he would never hit a woman, having witnessed domestic violence growing up and vowed never to do so.
“I find it simply inconceivable and it would never happen,” he added.
“She (Heard) is a calculating, diagnosed borderline personality; she is sociopathic; she is a narcissist; and she is completely emotionally dishonest,” he went on.
“I am now convinced that she came into my life to take from me anything worth taking, and then destroy what remained of it.
The couple first met on the set of the 2011 film “The Rum Diary” and married in 2015.
News Group Newspapers (NGN) is contesting the case, and is relying for its defense on 14 separate claims of domestic violence said to have occurred between early 2013 and May 2016.
It argues Depp was “controlling and verbally and physically abusive toward Ms Heard, particularly when he was under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs” — and has evidence to prove it.
But Depp said it was the other way round, accusing Heard of violence against him during their “unhappy” time together.
In one alleged incident, he said she repeatedly punched him in the face, and in another severed his finger with a flying vodka bottle and stubbed out a cigarette on his cheek.
Heard has claimed she was physically assaulted over three days in Australia in early 2015 but Depp called the allegations “sick... and completely untrue.”
He rejected claims of being overbearing and instead said Heard had an “obsessive need” to control him, encouraging him to drink and take drugs, despite his well-known addiction issues.
Depp’s lawyers, in a written outline of his case to the court, also argued that although the couple’s relationship was at times “physical,” it was at Heard’s instigation.
Lawyer David Sherborne said his client on occasions had to defend himself from Heard’s violence, calling her allegations “complete lies.”
“He is not a wife-beater and never has been,” he said.
Heard was a “complex individual,” whose behavior was “extremely unpredictable,” with violent rages and prone to extreme mood swings, he added.
She sought attention, was provocative, had affairs, and was on a “wide range” of prescribed medication and other drugs.
Depp loved her but found her behavior “often bewildering” and “very difficult” to understand or deal with, he added.
Depp was the first witness called in the case and under cross-examination admitted using drugs and alcohol from a young age to “numb the pain” of a difficult childhood.
But he rejected suggestions from NGN lawyer Sasha Wass he had a “nasty side,” that saw him turn into a “monster” who would lose control, smash up hotel rooms and assault photographers.
“It wasn’t Dr. Jekyll and Mr.Hyde,” he insisted.
The Sun story — “Gone Potty: How can JK Rowling be ‘genuinely happy’ casting wife beater Johnny Depp in the new Fantastic Beast film?” — came after he had already publicly denied domestic violence.
Depp said he had suffered “significant reputational damage” as a result, both in terms of his career and personally.
The High Court trial is due to last three weeks.


Troubled Bollywood star Sanjay Dutt confirms cancer diagnosis

Updated 16 October 2020

Troubled Bollywood star Sanjay Dutt confirms cancer diagnosis

  • In August, Dutt had issued a statement on social media saying he was “taking a short break for some medical treatment”
  • Dutt shot to fame in the mid-1980s in a string of action movies in which he performed his own stunts, earning him his nickname

MUMBAI: Bollywood star Sanjay Dutt, whose life has been so colorful and tragic that it became the subject of a biopic, confirmed he has cancer following weeks of media speculation.
“This is a recent scar of my life, but I’ll beat it. I’ll be out of this cancer soon,” 61-year-old Dutt said, pointing to a scar running from his left eyebrow across the side of his head in an Instagram video posted by Bollywood hairstylist Aalim Hakim late Wednesday.
Dutt also confirmed he would start shooting his next movie “K.G.F: Chapter 2” in November.
In August, Dutt had issued a statement on social media saying he was “taking a short break for some medical treatment.”
The Hindi-language actor, nicknamed “Deadly Dutt,” served time in prison for possessing guns supplied by gangsters responsible for bombings in Mumbai in 1993 and has also battled drug addiction.
Dutt shot to fame in the mid-1980s in a string of action movies in which he performed his own stunts, earning him his nickname.
But the star was also struggling with substance abuse, including heroin and cocaine, that was said to have been sparked by the pain of losing his mother, Indian screen icon Nargis Dutt, to cancer.
After a break he returned with a string of hits in the late 1980s and early 1990s including “Jeete Hain Shaan Se” (“We Live with Style“), “Saajan” (“Beloved“) and “Khal Nayak” (“Villain“).
But his life took a dramatic turn when he was arrested following the orchestrated bombings in Mumbai, then called Bombay, in March 1993 that killed 257 people.
Dutt was eventually convicted in 2006 of holding guns supplied by mafia bosses who carried out the blasts.
The attacks were believed to have been staged by Muslim underworld figures in retaliation for religious riots in which mainly Muslims died, following the razing of an ancient mosque in north India.
He was originally given a six-year term and spent 18 months in prison before being released on bail in 2007, pending an appeal.
In 2013, his conviction was upheld but his prison term was cut to five years, and he was sent back to jail before being released early in 2016.
Dutt has also been married three times. His first wife Richa was diagnosed with a brain tumor in 1987 and died in 1996.
In 2018 a film about his life, “Sanju,” was released covering the period from just before Dutt’s Bollywood debut with romantic drama “Rocky” in 1981 to his release from jail in 2016.