A “deep misogyny” lay at the root of the anger that Johnny Depp translated into violence – fuelled by an addiction to alcohol and drugs – against his then wife, Amber Heard, the high court has heard.
The Pirates of the Caribbean star had described himself as “a southern gentleman who had respect for women” but texts showed this was “entirely untrue”, said Sasha Wass QC, summing up for News Group Newspapers (NGN), which owns the Sun, in the three-week libel case brought by Depp.
In texts Depp, 57, had described women as “sluts” and “fat ugly whores”. In one he said he would “smack the ugly cunt around” after asking whether a “worthless hooker” had arrived. In another, he described his former partner Vanessa Paradis as a “withering cunt”. Depp also “created a misogynistic persona of [Heard] as the stereotype of a nagging woman. In addition, he had “reverted to more old-fashioned accusations of gold digger, a shrew and an adulterer,” Wass said,
It demonstrated “a deep misogyny” that “lay at the root of Mr Depp’s anger, and the anger he felt against Miss Heard, which translated into violence when he felt threatened by her”, added Wass.
Depp is suing NGN, and the Sun’s 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 Heard, 34, who has submitted details of 14 occasions during their relationship when she claims he assaulted her.
Wass said NGN’s defence “is one of truth, namely that Mr Depp did indeed beat his wife”. Though the newspaper must prove on the balance of probabilities that Depp assaulted her on at least one occasion, she said the defendants had “established that many more than one incident of wife beating took place”, against the backdrop of a “drug and alcohol fuelled lifestyle”.
Wass said Depp metamorphosed into “the monster”, with his recollection of “his own disgraceful conduct so severely impaired” through drink and drugs that “he may not have been aware of the extent of his violent and terrifying behaviour” that allegedly left Heard “in fear of her life”.
Depp had sought to “reverse the role of victim and defendant” in bringing his case, Wass said. When accused of violence, heavy drinking or of being a heavy drug user, Depp had made the same accusations against Heard, the court heard.
Although the point had been made that witnesses called by the defence did not see Depp actually hit Heard, she said: “Each and every pleaded incident is supported by the testimony of Miss Heard herself and if my lord finds her to be a truthful and plausible witness, doing her best to recount what must have been extremely traumatic events, then Miss Heard’s evidence alone is sufficient to establish the defence of truth.”
She added: “The days are long past when the courts in this country required corroboration before accepting the unsupported testimony of a female complainant.”
Wass said a “wealth of evidence” supported Heard’s claims: text messages, medical evidence from those treating Depp for addiction and painting him as “a hopeless addict” and “unable to restrain his anger”, photographic evidence, and eyewitness testimonies of his assaults or their aftermath.
Depp’s response that he was the victim of an elaborate hoax perpetrated by Heard and her friends by “painting on injuries and manipulating photographs” as part of “some sort of insurance policy” for Heardwas risible, said Wass.
The case continues.