Actor Johnny Depp has lost his court case against the British publication The Sun, which called him a "wife-beater" in a 2018 piece.
Actor Johnny Depp has lost his court case against the British publication The Sun, which called him a "wife-beater" in 2018. For years, Depp reigned as one of the biggest actors in Hollywood, scoring raves from critics and a dedicated fanbase. Some of his most popular roles include Captain Jack Sparrow in the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise and the titular character in Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street, both of which earned him Oscar nominations. However, Depp's career has seen a decline in recent years, though he remains one of the main performers in Warner Bros.' ongoing Fantastic Beasts franchise.
Adding particular harm to his career are the allegations leveled at him by ex-wife Amber Heard. The two met on the set of The Rum Diaries and were married from 2015 to 2017. When Heard filed for divorce in 2016, she obtained a restraining order against Depp, alleging he physically and verbally abused her. This led to a great deal of controversy when Depp was cast in the Fantastic Beasts films and seemingly led to him being dropped from Pirates of the Caribbean. In 2019, Depp sued Heard for defamation over an op-ed she wrote for the Washington Post. Depp also sued The Sun for libel after the publication ran a piece in 2018 calling him a "wife-beater."
The latter case went to trial in July, and, as of Monday morning, a decision has been reached. Per US Weekly, Judge Andrew Nicol from the Royal Courts of Justice in London ruled against Depp, stating that he believes The Sun's 2018 piece to be "substantially true." Nicol determined there was sufficient evidence to support Heard's claims that Depp abused her, even going on to say Heard's allegations have "had a negative effect on her career as an actor and activist." In his 129-page judgement, Nicol wrote, "I accept her evidence of the nature of the assaults he committed against her. They must have been terrifying. I accept that Mr. Depp put her in fear of her life."
The situation surrounding Depp and Heard has only gotten more complicated over the years, as Depp himself has come forward with his own evidence that Heard was the abuser. Both Depp and Heard are poised to appear in major blockbuster films over the next few years, with Depp starring as Gellert Grindelwald in Fantastic Beasts and Heard returning as Mera in Aquaman 2 and Zack Snyder's Justice League. For some time now, many have wondered if this brutal legal battle will impact any projects featuring either Depp or Heard.
It's been said Depp intends to appeal the verdict, though it isn't yet clear how that will turn out for the embattled actor. Meanwhile, Depp's defamation case against Heard remains ongoing. Depp attempted to move the case around his filming schedule for Fantastic Beasts 3, but he wasn't granted the change. Production on Fantastic Beasts 3 picked up recently following COVID-related delays, and it's expected that Depp will report for filming in between his court appearances.