Johnny Depp faces third day of questioning in libel claim against The Sun

Johnny Depp has arrived at the Royal Courts of Justice in London for a third day of intense questioning about his life with ex-wife Amber Heard as his libel claim against The Sun continues.

The 57-year-old is suing the tabloid’s publisher News Group Newspapers (NGN) and its executive editor Dan Wootton over an April 2018 article which labelled him a “wife beater”.

Mr Depp’s lawyers say the article made “defamatory allegations of the utmost seriousness”, accusing him of committing serious assaults on Ms Heard, 34, and “inflicting such serious injuries that she feared for her life”.

<figcaption class='imgFCap'>Johnny Depp is cross-examined by Sasha Wass QC (left) (Elizabeth Cook/PA)</figcaption>
Johnny Depp is cross-examined by Sasha Wass QC (left) (Elizabeth Cook/PA)

He faces a third day in the witness box under cross-examination from NGN’s lead counsel Sasha Wass QC at the High Court on Thursday.

During day two of the high-profile case, Mr Depp apologised for giving misleading evidence after he was shown a text message in which he said he “drank all night” and took “powders” and pills before drinking two bottles of champagne on a private flight from Boston to LA.

Mr Depp said in a witness statement that he “had drunk alcohol prior to and on the flight” on May 24 2014, but denied allegations by Ms Heard that he kicked her in the back or “screamed obscenities” as he accused her of an affair with actor James Franco.

However, during questioning by Ms Wass on Wednesday, Mr Depp was shown a text message he sent to his friend and fellow actor Paul Bettany, days after what was described as the “Boston plane incident”.

<figcaption class='imgFCap'>Actress Amber Heard (Aaron Chown/PA)</figcaption>
Actress Amber Heard (Aaron Chown/PA)

The message, sent on May 30 2014, said: “I’m going to properly stop the booze thing, darling.

“Drank all night before I picked Amber up to fly to LA this past Sunday. Ugly mate. No food for days. Powders. Half a bottle of whisky.

“A thousand Red Bull and vodkas, pills, 2 bottles of champers on plane and what do you get?

“An angry aggro injun in a f****** blackout, screaming obscenities and insulting any f*** who got near.”

He explained that “powders” referred to cocaine, and that the reference to “angry aggro injun” was “a reference to a Native American”.

Asked by Ms Wass about the reference to “two bottles of champers”, or champagne, Mr Depp said: “I’m going to say that I made a mistake about the full intake on the plane.”

He added: “It sounds like a very self-destructive moment and it was incorrect in my statement that I had not taken cocaine and things of that nature.

“I can only say my apologies to the court.”

<figcaption class='imgFCap'>Actor Johnny Depp was married to actress Amber Heard (Victoria Jones/PA)</figcaption>
Actor Johnny Depp was married to actress Amber Heard (Victoria Jones/PA)

The actor’s case against NGN and Mr Wootton arises out of the publication of an article on The Sun’s website on April 27 2018 with the headline “Gone Potty: How can JK Rowling be ‘genuinely happy’ casting wife beater Johnny Depp in the new Fantastic Beasts film?”.

NGN is defending the article as true and says Mr Depp was “controlling and verbally and physically abusive towards Ms Heard, particularly when he was under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs” between early 2013 and May 2016, when the couple split.

A separate libel claim brought by Mr Depp against Ms Heard in the US, over a December 2018 column in the Washington Post, which said the actress received “the full force of our culture’s wrath for women who speak out”, but did not mention Mr Depp by name, is due to begin in January 2021.

The pair met in 2011 and began living together in 2012 before marrying in Los Angeles in February 2015.