Following a 16-day trial, London’s High Court found the Hollywood star is a wife beater after Amber Heard claimed he had hit her 14 times during their turbulent relationship.
The court’s ruling leaves the 57-year-old Pirates of the Caribbean actor’s reputation in tatters and facing financial ruin.
Depp sued the Sun’s publisher, News Group Newspapers (NGN), and its executive editor, Dan Wootton, over an article published in the Sun in April 2018 that originally carried the headline “Gone Potty: How can JK Rowling be ‘genuinely happy’ casting wife beater Johnny Deppin the new Fantastic Beasts film?”
Heard, 34, who was the newspaper’s chief witness, tearfully told the court of 14 occasions during their toxic relationship when he assaulted her, providing graphic details of his drink and drugs-fuelled attacks.
In the ruling today, November 2, Mr Justice Nicol dismissed the Depp’s claim, saying the publisher had proved what was in the article to be “substantially true”.
The judge said: “The claimant has not succeeded in his action for libel.
“Although he has proved the necessary elements of his cause of action in libel, the defendants have shown that what they published in the meaning which I have held the words to bear was substantially true.
“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.”
Heard’s legal team said this morning they were “not surprised” by the result.
In a statement, they said: “For those of us present for the London High Court trial, this decision and Judgment are not a surprise.
“Very soon, we will be presenting even more voluminous evidence in the U.S. We are committed to obtaining Justice for Amber Heard in the U.S. Court and defending Ms Heard’s Right to Free Speech.”
A spokesperson for the newspaper said: “The Sun has stood up and campaigned for the victims of domestic abuse for over 20 years.
“Domestic abuse victims must never be silenced and we thank the judge for his careful consideration and thank Amber Heard for her courage in giving evidence to the court.”