Amber Heard threw bottles and glasses at Johnny Depp and was abusive towards him when she was drunk, Depp’s bodyguard has told the high court. Depp, it was said, did not retaliate.
Sean Bett, who has worked with Depp for 14 years, said he never saw the Hollywood actor inflict physical violence on anyone.
Depp, 57, is suing the Sun’s publisher, News Group Newspapers (NGN), and its executive editor, Dan Wootton, over an article that called him a “wife beater” and referred to “overwhelming evidence” that he had attacked Heard.
Depp denies ever hitting his ex-wife Heard, 34, who has submitted details of 14 occasions during their relationship when she claims he assaulted her.
Because NGN is no longer challenging Depp’s assertion that he did not hit previous partners, the court was told, neither Winona Ryder nor Vanessa Paradis would need to be called to give evidence.
Both had been scheduled to appear by video link from the US this week. They have already submitted statements saying Depp was never violent towards them.
In his statement to court, Bett, who formerly served with the LA county sheriff’s department, said: “I was with Mr Depp and Ms Heard very regularly throughout this period and I never saw any cuts, bruises or other injuries on Ms Heard. I also never saw Mr Depp commit any act of physical violence to another person.”
He added: “I was also told by Mr Depp on multiple occasions that Ms Heard had physically abused him. A very common occurrence throughout the relationship would be that Mr Depp would have me, and other members of his security team, take him away from Ms Heard, due to her behaviour. He would then stay somewhere else.
“Ms Heard often behaved in this way when she had been drinking. I learnt quickly to recognise the signs, so that we were able to leave the situation before it escalated further.”
He said he had never seen Depp being violent to anyone, including Heard. “In addition, I have observed Ms Heard throwing bottles, glasses and other objects at Mr Depp while being verbally abusive towards him. As a rule, during these episodes Mr Depp remains fairly passive and either tries to calm Ms Heard down or remove himself from the situation.”
There was a courtroom dispute over a photograph of Depp showing a bruise on his left cheek. Initially it had been included in a statement submitted by Bett that said it showed an injury he received after Heard allegedly hit him on 21 April 2016.
However, during cross-examination on Thursday Bett accepted that having since checked the time stamp on the photograph it was from another occasion and did not show injuries he sustained in April 2016.
Sasha Wass QC, for NGN, told the court the photograph had actually been taken on 23 March 2015, when “Ms Heard admits she punched Mr Depp in defence of her sister”.
The court was also told that under the terms of their divorce settlement, Heard received a $7m payment and $525,000 to cover legal fees. She was also relieved of tax liabilities for those sums. Depp earned $60m in the final year of their marriage.
The hearing continues.
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