Depp says wife-beating claim made him ‘Quasimodo’

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Johnny Depp arrives at the High Court in London, Friday, July 10, 2020. (AP Photo)
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Amber Heard, left, arrives on the fourth day of the libel trial by her former husband US actor Johnny Depp against News Group Newspapers (NGN), at the High Court in London, July 10, 2020. (AFP)
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Updated 10 July 2020

Depp says wife-beating claim made him ‘Quasimodo’

  • The High Court trial revolves around a 2018 headline in The Sun asking how JK Rowling could be happy casting ‘wife-beater’ Depp in a ‘Fantastic Beasts’ film
  • Johnny Depp: ‘I went from Cinderella into Quasimodo in 0.6 seconds and I was without a voice’

LONDON: Hollywood legend Johnny Depp on Friday accused Britain’s The Sun tabloid of turning him from “Cinderella into Quasimodo” by claiming he beat his ex-wife Amber Heard.
The first week of Depp’s star-studded libel trial against the paper’s publisher and executive editor drew to a close with the 57-year-old denying hurling a champagne bottle and a phone at his former wife.
Depp claims charges compiled by Heard over a tumultuous two-year marriage that ended in 2017 were a “hoax” designed to advance her career at his expense.
The “Pirates of the Caribbean” actor said Thursday he was so often high or strung out on drugs that he was “in no condition” to hurt the 34-year-old model and film star.
The High Court trial revolves around a 2018 headline in The Sun asking how JK Rowling could be happy casting “wife-beater” Depp in a “Fantastic Beasts” film.
Depp said the headline altered his Hollywood image and endangered his career.
“I went from Cinderella into Quasimodo in 0.6 seconds and I was without a voice,” he told the court.
“That’s where I was in my life at that point.”
Cinderella is a beautiful fairy tale princess and Quasimodo the disfigured protagonist of Victor Hugo’s novel “The Hunchback of Notre Dame.”
Depp looked more confident and engaged on the fourth day of the three-week trial than he appeared at its start.
He listened alertly in an olive suit and verbally clashed with publisher News Group Newspapers’ (NGN) lawyer Sasha Wass in an attempt to refute her various charges.
Wass has gone chronologically through each of Depp’s 14 alleged assaults and other abuses.
She attempted on Friday to complete her depiction of the US superstar as self-centered and out of touch with reality due to debilitating drug abuse.
Depp countered that it was Heard who was chronically looking for a fight.
He said he went to read in bed on the night of Heard’s 30th birthday party because “I was trying to avoid another confrontation with Ms Heard about something that didn’t go exactly as she wanted or had planned.”
Depp turned up for the party two hours late because of a difficult business meeting about a financial dispute.
But Wass said Depp was fuming because Heard had pointed out one of his character faults.
“And the argument picked up pace and you picked up the bottle of champagne and you threw it at Ms Heard. And it missed and the bottle hit the wall and it smashed,” the lawyer said.
“And that, I suggest, is how you express yourself when you are angry, you smash things,” the lawyer said.
Depp denied this happened and countered: “I disagree.”
The couple’s marriage was all but over by the time Heard accused Depp of hitting her in the face with a phone in May 2016.
Wass said Depp “wound up like a baseball pitcher” and threw it at his wife at one of their mansions while one of Heard’s friends was on the other line.
Depp denied this but admitted that Heard asked the friend to call the police.
He also said the security on site witnessed how the entire episode was staged.
“She was screaming ‘stop hitting me, Johnny!, stop hitting me, Johnny!’, and the security came and she was still screaming... and I was 20 feet away getting something from the fridge,” Depp said.
“And then (one of the guards) said boss, let’s get out of here.”
Wass’ cross-examination ended with a 30-minute private session in which reporters were asked to leave the courtroom.
The actor’s attorney David Sherborne then took over by directly asking whether Depp had ever hit a woman.
“Never, no sir,” Depp replied.
Sherborne also got Depp to confirm that no other woman had alleged abuse in his past relationships.


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.