The Sun called Hollywood star Johnny Depp a “wife-beater” in 2018 and a London judge just ruled that the article’s details were “substantially true.”
The U.K. tabloid won a landmark decision in Depp’s libel lawsuit against The Sun after London High Court Judge Andrew Nicol deliberated for three months. The case and explosive trial centered on an article in which Depp’s former wife of five years, actress Amber Heard, detailed physical abuse she experienced during the marriage.
“I have reached these conclusions having examined in detail the 14 incidents on which the defendants rely as well as the overarching considerations which the claimant submitted I should take into account,” Nicol wrote in his Monday decision.
The case’s dueling lawyers closed with contrasting statements. The newspaper’s attorney said Depp, 51, “systematically abused his wife,” while Depp’s lawyer said “he has never hit a woman in his whole life.”
The July trial was a rare live proceeding during the COVID-19 pandemic and included wild anecdotes of Depp losing a fingertip and writing hateful messages in blood on mirrors, spelling her name in urine during a fight and how the 31-year-old actress pooped in their bed.
Heard’s allegation that Depp was a “monster” frequently came up in the decision. “That expression was not a figment of Ms. Heard’s imagination,” Nicol wrote. “I accept her evidence that Mr. Depp used the term to refer to that part of his personality when, affected by drink and/or drugs, he would do things which he would not otherwise do and of which he might have no recollection afterwards.”
Depp tried to label Heard as a “gold-digger.” The judge mic-dropped when he noted that gold-diggers don’t donate $7 million of divorce settlement to charity.