Fails to win libel suit against The Sun for calling him a ‘wife beater’
Pirates of the Caribbean star Johnny Depp has failed in his his libel lawsuit against The Sun which had labelled him a wife beater.
In a three-week trial that received much world-wide media coverage, the 57-year-old Hollywood star had sued the paper and its publisher News Group Newspapers for saying he had been violent towards his former wife actress Amber Heard, 34.
The case was dubbed “the biggest English libel trial of the 21st century” and included claims of drug abuse and domestic violence, complete with video footage.
Scores of fans for both stars gathered outside the High Court in London each day, as their less-than placid relationship was exposed to the world.
Depp has received high accolades for many of his roles, which often depict people who are defined by their quirkiness.
He is best known for his role as Jack Sparrow in several Pirates of the Caribbean films, but has acted in several other movies as well, including Alice in Wonderland, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and Sweeny Todd. Heard herself has acted in several movies, including Aquaman and The Rum Diary, which she starred in with Depp.
But High Court Judge Andrew Nicol dismissed Depp’s claim saying The Sun‘s report had been proven to be “substantially true”, adding “the claimant has not succeeded in his action for libel”.
The judge found that at least 12 of 14 claims of beatings were more likely to be true that not, including an early incident in their three year relationship in 2013 when he slapped the actress for making a comment about his tattoo.
“I have found that the great majority of alleged assaults of Ms Heard by Mr Depp have been proved to the civil standard,” Judge Nicol said.
“I have reached these conclusions having examined in detail the 14 incidents on which the defendants rely as well as the overarching considerations which the claimant submitted I should take into account,” he added.
The judge ruled that Depp’s feelings towards his wife were laid bare in a text where the actor said he had “no mercy” for her.
The Sun in response thanked the judge for his “careful consideration” and Amber Heard “for her courage in giving evidence to the court.”
In its report on the trail today, The Sun also seemed pleased.
“In a stunning victory for press freedom, London’s High Court ruled we were right to brand the Pirates of the Caribbean actor a “wife beater” for his brutal attacks on his ex,” the report said.