Winona Ryder says Johnny Depp was never violent to her

By Owen Bowcott

Two of Johnny Depp’s former partners, Winona Ryder and Vanessa Paradis, have said he was never abusive or violent towards them and that allegations he is a “wife-beater” were “impossible to believe”.

The two women had been due to give evidence at the high court in London on Thursday via remote video links from the US.

However, their appearances were cancelled after the court was told that Depp’s assertion that he did not hit previous partners was no longer being challenged. The texts of their supportive personal statements were released following an application by the media.

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 his ex-wife Amber Heard.

Depp denies ever hitting Heard, 34, who has submitted details of 14 occasions during their relationship when she claims he assaulted her.

In her statement, Ryder, who had a four-year relationship with fellow Hollywood actor Depp, said: “The idea that he is an incredibly violent person is the farthest thing from the Johnny I knew and loved. I cannot wrap my head around these accusations. He was never, never violent towards me. He was never, never abusive at all towards me. He has never been violent or abusive towards anybody I have seen.

“I do not want to call anyone a liar but from my experience of Johnny, it is impossible to believe that such horrific allegations are true. I find it extremely upsetting knowing him as I do.”

The actor and singer Paradis, who lived with the Pirates of the Caribbean star for 14 years and has two children from their relationship, said: “Through all of these years I’ve known Johnny to be a kind, attentive, generous and non-violent person.

“On movie sets the actors, directors and entire crew adore him because he is so humble and respectful to everyone as well as being one of the best actors we’ve seen … I have seen that these outrageous statements have been really distressing and also caused damage to his career because unfortunately people have gone on believing these false facts.”

Sasha Wass QC, the counsel for NGN, told the court it had been Depp’s lawyers who had decided not to call evidence from Ryder and Paradis, adding: “We would have wished to cross-examine them.”

David Sherborne, representing Depp, said: “Given there’s no challenge to Mr Depp’s evidence [that he did not hit them] … we are not calling them.”

Earlier Sean Bett, Depp’s bodyguard, told the court that Heard threw bottles and glasses at Depp and was abusive towards him when she was drunk. Depp, he said, did not retaliate.