Johnny Depp has lost his battle of slander against the publisher of the British tabloid The Sun.
The 57-year-old actor The Pirates of the Caribbean tried to sue the publisher, News Group Newspapers (NGN), and its editor-in-chief Dan Wootton over an article from 2018 in which he allegedly was violent towards his ex-wife Amber Heard and called him a “wife-beater”.
Depp repeatedly denied ever having been violent towards Heard, and the two testified earlier this year during a three-week trial before the Royal Courts of Justice in London, where allegations of brutal violence and intimate details of their rocky relationship were publicly voiced.
During the hearing, Depp was questioned about his lifestyle, drug use and attitudes towards women and his former partners.
Depp’s attorney David Sherborne said his client’s case was about “clearing his name” and that he was looking for “justification.
“What’s important to Mr. Depp is to clear his name of these terrible allegations, which have been growing over the past four years and through which he has lost nothing less than everything,” he said. “When I say he has lost everything, it is obviously all his reputation. This is not about money, this is about his justification”.
Sasha Wass, a lawyer for NGS, said at the time that there was no doubt that Depp had “abused his wife regularly and systematically.
Judge Judge Nicol has now ruled that The Sun had enough evidence to justify the report that Depp was violent towards Heard during their relationship.
The article was published with the headline: “Away with the potty: How can J.K. Rowling be ‘really happy’ when he hits Johnny Depp with his wife in the new movie Fantastic Beasts?
In his verdict, the judge, Mr. Justice Nicol, said: “The plaintiff [Depp] was unsuccessful in his libel suit … The defendants [The Sun and News Group Newspapers] have shown that what they published was essentially true in the sense that I took from the words.
“I have come to these conclusions after carefully reviewing the 14 incidents invoked by the defendants and the overarching considerations that Plaintiff has made that I should consider. In these circumstances, Parliament has said that a defendant has a full defense. (about The Guardian)
Responding to the news, a spokesperson for The Sun said, “The Sun has been working and advocating for victims of domestic violence for over twenty years.
“Victims of domestic violence must never be silenced, and we thank the judge for his careful consideration and thank Amber Heard for her courage to testify in court”.