American film star Johnny Depp, who was not expected in London today, surprised observers by appearing at the High Court’s pre-trial hearing over his defamation claims.
Depp, 56, is suing the publisher of the British tabloid The Sun and its executive editor, Dan Wootton, for printing stories accusing Depp of physically abusing ex-wife Amber Heard during their marriage, the Daily Mail reported. The actor has denied all accusations in the article and argued that, in a striking turn of events, he was the one suffering from Heard's allegedly abusive temper.
“The Sun's article contains serious and criminal accusations against Mr Depp; that he beat his wife and caused her significant injury”, Depp’s representative, David Sherborne, said during the hearing. “Mr Depp has the right to have himself publicly vindicated. This is a vital function of the libel trial when it takes place”.
The Sun article in question was published in April 2018, with the title “Gone Potty How can JK Rowling be ‘genuinely happy’ casting wife-beater Johnny Depp in the new Fantastic Beasts film?”
According to the actor, the Sun piece claimed that he was physically abusing his wife, and causing her to fear for her life. The article also slammed British author JK Rowling for welcoming Depp's participation in her new “Fantastic Beasts” film.
The trial is expected to take place on March 23 and could last for up to 10 days, media reported, as Depp is set to produce over a dozen witnesses as a means of clearing his name.
It was reported that friends of Heard would travel to London on her behalf to take part in the upcoming trial, confirming her allegations against Depp.
The news comes after British tabloid the Daily Mail published leaked audio files in which Amber Heard reportedly admits during an alleged therapy session in 2015 that she had previously hit Depp.