A piece in today’s Times:
Johnny Depp’s former partners Winona Ryder and Vanessa Paradis said that allegations by Amber Heard that he abused her were “impossible to believe” and “outrageous statements”.
The two women said in witness statements that they had never seen the Pirates of the Caribbean star be violent during their relationships with him.Depp, 57, is suing Dan Wootton, the executive editor of The Sun, and News Group Newspapers, its publisher, over an article in 2018 that described him as a “wife beater”. He was accused at the High Court yesterday of having “abandoned” the women by not calling them to give evidence.
Heard, 34, an actress, has claimed that she was repeatedly abused during her relationship with Depp. They married in 2015 and divorced in 2016.
Ryder, 48, who starred alongside Depp in Edward Scissorhands and was in a relationship with him for four years in the 1990s, said in her statement that she could not “wrap my head around [Heard’s] accusations”. She added: “He was never, never violent towards me. He was never, never abusive at all towards me. He has never been violent or abusive towards anybody I have seen. I truly and honestly only know him as a really good man — an incredibly loving, extremely caring guy who was so very protective of me.”
Ryder, who was engaged to Depp during their four-year relationship in the early 1990s, added: “I do not want to call anyone a liar but from my experience of Johnny it is impossible to believe that such horrific allegations are true. I find it extremely upsetting knowing him as I do.”
Paradis, 47, a singer, actress and model, was in a relationship with Depp for more than 14 years. She is the mother of his two children, Lily-Rose, 21, a model and actress, and Jack, 18.
She said in her witness statement: “Through all these years I’ve known Johnny to be a kind, attentive, generous and non-violent person and father. He was never violent or abusive to me.
“I am aware of the allegations which Amber Heard has publicly accused Johnny of for more than four years now.
“I have seen that these outrageous statements have been really distressing, and also caused damage to his career because unfortunately people have gone on believing these false facts.”
Ryder had been due to give evidence via video link from Los Angeles on Wednesday but could not be called because earlier witnesses ran over schedule. Paradis was due to give evidence from Paris yesterday morning. Depp made a last-minute decision not to ask them to do so. Sasha Wass, QC, representing The Sun, said: “We would have wanted to cross-examine both Winona Ryder and Vanessa Paradis but a decision has been taken by the claimant to abandon them as witnesses.”
David Sherborne, for Depp, said it had been decided not to ask Ryder or Paradis to appear because lawyers for The Sun had not suggested that “he had hit either woman”. He added: “There is no need to reschedule those witnesses, much as it would have been a pleasure.”
Yesterday Sean Bett, Depp’s head of security, told the court that Heard had regularly attacked the actor and that he had often witnessed her “having a tantrum”. He said that he had taken photographs of injuries on Depp’s face after an incident in December 2015.
The Sun relies on 14 alleged incidents of domestic violence, all of which Depp denies.
Katherine Kendall, an actress and campaigner for the MeToo movement, is expected to address the court today over video link from the US. In court documents from an earlier hearing, Mr Depp’s lawyers said that Ms Kendall would tell of her annoyance that The Sun’s article appeared to suggest that she was “endorsing” a comparison between Mr Depp and Harvey Weinstein, the disgraced movie mogul.
“I never meant to be in an article that called Johnny Depp a ‘wife beater’,” Ms Kendall wrote in a complaint to the newspaper. “I told you that I didn’t know that to be true at all! I have heard several times that she was in fact abusive to him. He’s never been a convicted ‘wife beater’. It seems that the whole article was about defaming him. I said over and over that I didn’t know that he had caused her harm.
“I’m telling you that you misquoted me and intentionally took things I said out of context in what I now realise was your purpose in defaming Johnny Depp.”
The hearing continues.
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