Biggest Bombshells from Johnny Depp's U.K. Libel Case: From Early Drug Use to Losing $750 Million
From starting drug use at 11 to losing $750 million, here are all the bombshells from Johnny Depp's U.K. libel case
Depp, 57, is suing News Group Newspapers (NGN), the parent company of The Sun, for libel over a story that called the actor a "wife-beater" in reference to his former marriage to actress Heard, 34.
The case faced a hurdle before it ever began in the U.K. high court, with Judge Andrew Nicol ruling the actor had breached his previous disclosure order by omitting text messages during his time in Australia, where Heard accused Depp of being abusive and high on drugs. Depp has previously denied the allegations made by the outlet and by Heard.
The case was able to proceed with a slew of bombshells coming to light.
1. Depp's drug use began in his early childhood.
During the first day of testimony, Depp revealed he’d began using drugs “at a young age, when it was not a particularly stable or secure or safe home life.”
The actor said his mother would ask him to “go and get her ‘nerve pills’ and I think I was around the age of 11 that it dawned on me that ‘nerve pills’ were calming her nerves, so I brought her her nerve pills and I took one and that began [my drug use].”
In court documents obtained by PEOPLE at the time, Depp said he was in recovery from alcohol and drugs during “significant parts” of his marriage to Heard and accused the Aquaman star of encouraging him to relapse “instead of supporting my sobriety.”
2. Depp gave his daughter Lily-Rose Depp weed when she was 13.
During cross-examination in early July, Depp was asked by Sasha Wass QC, the lawyer for NGN, if he had ever “encouraged” his daughter, Lily-Rose Depp, to try weed when she was 13.
According to Metro, Depp said he "never encouraged my daughter to use marijuana."
"My daughter was 13 years old and, as we all know, at 11, 12, 13 years old, when you go to high school parties you are approached by people who will want to give you drink because they’re drinking," Depp continued per the outlet, adding the advice he gave his daughter when she was young: "Listen, sweetheart, if you are at a party and someone hands you the joint, take the joint from that person and pass it to the next person… don’t experiment with drugs with people you don’t know."
Depp said he had asked his daughter to come to him when she felt "ready," saying it was due to not wanting the young actress and model's "first experience in this world to be with people you don’t know, taking things you don’t know that I can’t trust, so it’s a safety issue."
Depp recalled how Lily-Rose, now 21, later came to him wanting to try marijuana, and he consulted with her mom Vanessa Paradis, who he said also talked to their daughter about it. The exes, who were together from 1998 to 2012, also share 16-year-old son Jack.
Per Metro's reporting, Depp said he "would rather" his kids "be honest and have me be honest with them so that she doesn’t go out there and do these things and hide them from me."
3. Depp accused Heard of punching him when he learned he'd lost $750 Million
Depp alleged Heard once attacked him in April 2016, the same night the actor discovered he owed the U.S. government millions of dollars in unpaid taxes.
“I was in the early stages of learning from my recently acquired new business manager that the former business managers had taken quite a lot of my money. They stole my money,” Depp testified, according to The Guardian.
“It was put to me this way, because I had no idea about money or amounts of money: Since Pirates [of the Caribbean] 2 and 3, I had – and this is ludicrous to have to state, it’s quite embarrassing – apparently I had made $650 million," he explained, "and when I sacked [the former business managers], for the right reasons, I had not only lost $650 million, but I was $100 million in the hole because they had not paid the government my taxes for 17 years.”
The discovery reportedly came the same night as Heard's 30th birthday party, which Depp arrived to late. Heard previously claimed that Depp pulled her hair and threw objects at her that night, but he claims she was the one who became violent, lodging "haymaker" punches at him.
Heard previously alleged that Depp had been abusive during their 15-month marriage, a claim he has denied, saying that he was the victim of domestic violence in their relationship. Heard's lawyer Eric George denied the allegations against the actress, saying in a statement obtained by PEOPLE, "The evidence in this case is clear: Johnny Depp repeatedly beat Amber Heard. The increasingly desperate attempts by Mr. Depp and his enablers to revive his career by initiating baseless litigation against so many people once close to him — his former lawyers, former managers, and his former spouse — are not fooling anyone,” read the statement.
4. Heard's ex-assistant accused the actress of exploiting her sexual assault story
Heard’s former personal assistant testified in the U.K. high court that her story of sexual assault had allegedly been used by the actress to use in her own accusations against Depp.
Kate James, who worked for the actress from 2012 to 2015, testified that she had described her rape at machete-point in Brazil around 25 years ago to her former employer. According to The Hollywood Reporter, James said that in Heard's witness statement, the actress used her sexual assault story as her own.
"She referred directly to a violent rape that occurred to me 26 years ago and she twisted it into her own story and she used it for her own use," James testified. "This of course caused me extreme distress and outrage that she would dare to attempt to use the most harrowing experience of my life as her own narrative."
5. Elon Musk offered Heard ’24/7 Security’ when she claimed Depp abused her
Elon Musk offered Heard his support when she told him of the alleged abuse.
The Tesla and SpaceX founder was named in court when Depp’s lawyer Eleanor Laws QC read aloud text messages between Heard and Musk from May 22, 2016, in which the Aquaman actress told him that she was going to get a restraining order against the Pirates of the Caribbean star, according to BBC News.
Questioning Heard, Laws said that Musk offered to "arrange 24/7 security for you," adding that he said: "The offer would stand, even if you never wanted to see me again... anyway, sorry for being an idiot. The radio silence hurts a lot. It only matters because I really like you."
Heard and Depp tied the knot in 2015. In May 2016, she sought a domestic violence restraining order against him, accusing him of abusing her. Depp denied the claims, and the former couple settled their divorce out of court in August 2016. She donated her $7 million divorce settlement to charity. Both actors signed NDAs barring them from discussing their relationship publicly.
Depp sued her for defamation in the U.S. after she wrote an op-ed for the Washington Post in December 2018 in which she described being an alleged victim of domestic violence. While she never mentioned Depp by name, the actor’s lawsuit called her allegations against him a “hoax.”
If you are experiencing domestic violence, call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233, or go to thehotline.org. All calls are toll-free and confidential. The hotline is available 24/7 in more than 170 languages.