Johnny Depp Loses Libel Case

By John Mikko Velasquez

Johnny Depp Loses Libel Case.John.Cultur

A picture of Heard (left) and Depp (right)

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Johnny Depp has recently lost a libel case that he filed in London, where he sued The Sun, a newspaper outlet, for publishing an article that called him a “wife beater.” This was referring to Depp’s relationship with Amber Heard, his ex-wife. The case was complicated - each of them accused each other of abuse - and dragged each person’s private lives into the limelight. Ultimately, Depp lost, got defamed and got pulled from a film made by Warner Bros.


John Christopher Depp II was born on June 9, 1963 in Kentucky. He is an actor and musician and known for his unorthodox and eclectic film choices. Depp debuted in the film Nightmare on Elm Street and got his break in the premiere 21 Jump Street. Subsequently, he performed in films such as Edward Scissorhands and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. He achieved his greatest success with the Pirates of the Carribean series, starring as Captain Jack Sparrow. Depp’s net worth is approximately $200 million. 


Amber Laura Heard was born on April 22, 1986 in Texas. She made her debut in the sports drama Friday Night Lights. Later on, she played small roles in film and television in succession. 


The first time they met, Depp was still with his longtime partner, Vanessa Paradis. However, in 2015, Depp and Heard married, but soon divorced the following year. Prior to their divorce, Heard filed a restraining order against Depp and claimed that he, while using alcohol and drugs, verbally and physically abused her. Heard claimed that she endured “excessive, emotional, verbal, and physical abuse” and “angry, hostile, humiliating and threatening assaults.” However, Depp denied the allegations and claimed the opposite - that Heard abused him. Eventually, the restraining order was given and they divorced. 


In 2018, The Sun published an article that called Depp a “wife beater,” resulting in Depp suing them for libel. Libel is the publication of false information that exposes a person to public shame, hatred, disgrace, etc. Depp suing The Sun in London is interesting because the American libel law works differently than the British libel law: in America, the person claiming to have been libeled has to provide proof, while in the United Kingdom, the person accused of libel has to provide proof. Basically, The Sun had to provide proof that the statements and articles regarding Depp were not false. Ultimately, the judge ruled that Heard’s 12 of 14 accusations of abuse were enough as proof and The Sun’s claims were “substantially true,” resulting in Depp losing the case. But, Depp plans to appeal. 

The loss of the libel case resulted in the loss of the role for Depp as Grindelwald in Fantastic Beasts, a spin off on the Harry Potter series. Depp stated on Instagram, “I wish to let you know that I have been asked to resign by Warner Bros. from my role as Grindelwald in Fantastic Beasts. I have respected and agreed to that request.” Because of the case, Depp’s alcohol and drug usage was exposed to the public and damaged his good reputation. Although some actors have made a huge comeback from drug problems such as Robert Downey Jr. who plays Iron Man, it will be much harder for Depp because he also verbally and physically abused his wife.