"I did not hit Ms. Heard and furthermore I have never hit Ms. Heard," Johnny Depp said in court Wednesday

By Georgia Slater
July 08, 2020 03:21 PM
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Credit: Marc Piasecki/WireImage; Phillip Faraone/Getty

Johnny Depp denied claims of slapping wife Amber Heard over a domestic dispute as he was cross-examined Wednesday in a London courtroom.

Depp, 57, is suing News Group Newspapers (NGN), the parent company of the U.K tabloid The Sun, for libel over a story that called the actor a "wife-beater" in reference to his former marriage to actress Amber Heard, 34.

During Depp's second day of testimony, the actor was accused of physically abusing Heard after she laughed at one of his tattoos.

Sasha Wass QC, the lawyer for The Sun's parent company News Group Newspapers (NGN), informed the court that Depp previously had a tattoo that read, "Winona Forever," in honor of his ex-fiancée Winona Ryder, according to The Guardian.

Depp later altered the tattoo to read "Wino Forever," Wass told the court.

Wass said that Depp had "fallen off the wagon" in 2013 and was "acting like a wino and an alcoholic" as he was allegedly taking drugs and drinking again.

"Ms. Heard laughed at that tattoo," Wass said, alleging, "You then slapped Ms. Heard across the face and that was the first time it happened.”

"You slapped her more than once, because after you slapped her the first time, she didn’t react, she just eyeballed you, she just stared at you, and that made you more angry, and you slapped her again,” Wass claimed.

Depp denied all claims, telling Wass the allegations were "patently untrue" and "not correct."

"I don't recall any argument about any tattoos," he said.

Johnny Depp and Amber Heard in 2015
| Credit: Axelle/Bauer-Griffin/FilmMagic

While the Pirates of the Caribbean actor acknowledged his "illness," he told the court that Heard “never supported me in my attempt to be strong and avoid alcohol and drugs” and had seen his ex-wife take cocaine in front of him, The Guardian reported.

"There were many times in our relationship when not only did she chop the cocaine with a razor blade into lines she also put it on to her finger and rubbed it into her gums," he said.

Wass then alleged that Depp hit Heard another time during an argument about a painting by Heard's former partner, artist Taysa Van Ree, that hung in her bedroom.

Though Depp said he was often "jealous," he denied claims that he took down the painting, tried setting it on fire, and slapped Heard when she tried to stop him.

"I did not hit Ms. Heard and furthermore I have never hit Ms. Heard,” Depp asserted.

According to The Guardian, the defense relies on Heard's 14 allegations of violence by the actor between 2013 and 2016 — all of which Depp has denied.

Heard previously alleged that Depp had been abusive during their 15-month marriage, claiming 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 two met while making the 2011 film The Rum Diary together and married in 2015.

Credit: Snap Stills/REX/Shutterstock

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.”

Heard’s attorney, Roberta Kaplan, urged the court last fall to throw out the suit, arguing that the column was not about Heard’s allegations against Depp, but in March, a Virginia judge refused to dismiss the lawsuit.

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.