On Monday, Johnny Depp’s libel trial against The Sun publisher News Group Newspapers entered its penultimate day, with NGN attorney Sasha Wass arguing that Depp’s drug use fueled “irrational mood swings and abnormal behavioral patterns, which would not have been present when Mr Depp was clean and sober”—and that the actor was too high to remember allegedly abusing his ex-wife, Amber Heard.
Depp is suing NGN for libel over a 2018 article that ran in The Sun, which called him a “wife-beater” in its headline. The publisher’s defense rests on 14 allegations of domestic abuse from Heard, which allegedly occurred between 2013 and 2016. Depp has denied all allegations of abuse, and his libel suit is this century’s largest in England, per the Press Association.
On Monday, Wass made her final presentation in defense of NGN; Depp’s attorney, David Sherborne, will make his final submission on Tuesday. As the Daily Mail reports, Wass described Depp as “a hopeless addict who repeatedly lost his self-control and all ability to restrain his anger.”
“Permeating all of the evidence in this case,” Wass added, “is the character of Mr. Depp himself—his well-documented evidence of violence and destruction over his adult life which have occurred when he was under the influence of drink and drugs.”
Depp had a name for the metaphorical alter-ego that allegedly overtook him while he was under the influence, Daily Mail reports: “The Monster.”
Wass also argued that Depp’s substance abuse directly affects his “recollection of his own disgraceful conduct, which is so severely impaired by drug misuse that he may not even have been aware of the extent of his violence and terrifying behavior which, on more than one of these pleaded incidents, put Ms Heard in fear of her life,” per Daily Mail.
Depp’s libel trial against NGN has surfaced gory details from several altercations between Depp and Heard, in which the two have accused one another of soiling their shared homes with urine and feces and debated the details of violent altercations that resulted in bruises and, in one case, a severed finger. On multiple occasions, Heard has said, Depp’s alleged verbal and physical attacks made her fear for her life—especially in the relationship’s later years.
Throughout the trial, Depp has claimed that it was Heard who physically abused him, and hatched a years-long premeditated scheme to frame him. But as Wass told the court on Monday, per Daily Mail, “What exactly Ms Heard was insuring against in the course of this hoax remains unexplained.”
Wass also referenced the so-called “Monster” Depp allegedly claimed took over when he drank and consumed drugs. In a text from Depp sent to Jerry Judge in 2015, Daily Mail reports the actor wrote that after he had stopped consuming alcohol and drugs, his relationship with Heard was “perfect - all I had to do was send the monster away and lock him up.”
“This text demonstrates that Mr Depp was perfectly aware that taking drink and drugs led to a lack of control and unleashed a violent monster, the Mr Depp who was the hopeless addict,” Wass said.
Wass also read out an email that Heard allegedly wrote in 2013 but never sent—a note she said provided a candid account of the nature of the couple’s relationship. It, too, referenced “The Monster.”
“I just don’t know if I can do this anymore,” the email reads, per Sky News. “It’s like Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde. Half of you, I love. Madly. The other half scares me. I can’t take him. I wish I could, but I can’t. Also, drugs seem to guarantee I will be forced to deal with the monster as well. Once again, it’s knowing what/how much/and when – which makes all the difference. Sometimes the hangover, the morning after is just as bad as the full on disco blood bath I’ve come to expect.”
Heard accused Depp of surrounding himself with enablers, cutting out and resenting those who refuse to enable him.
“Yesterday, I saw you pass out, amongst vomiting, three times,” Heard wrote, describing Depp’s associates carrying him and breaking through locked doors to wake the actor after he’d passed out on the toilet. “You would have embarrassed yourself countless times if someone would be honest enough with you to tell you,” she added. “To show you. If someone filmed you while you were in this state you would be mortified. It’s embarrassing just watching it happen.”
“I myself watched you pass out cold on the floor, after drinking yourself sick,” Heard wrote. “One of these times you cut yourself so badly that you needed stitches. You say things you don’t mean. You are impossible to reason with. So everyone placates you. Lies to you. Worse even, you lie to yourself. And you believe it.”
Heard’s email also conveys the sense of betrayal she allegedly felt after getting to know Depp sober, only to discover later what he was like under the influence.
“You made me feel, at the beginning, safe,” Heard wrote. “Like you could care for me. Like I could have a family with you. You made me feel like you were a real man – that was only half of you. What I saw yesterday, and many times before, is a needy man-child. I watch as other grown men have to wipe you, basically. And you get the convenient benefit of never having to remember it. That’s nice. For you.”
“I am mad,” Heard wrote later. “So mad. How would you feel if you were sold false goods?? I fell for you while you were sober. A whole year. How could I know this lay in store for me? How dare you make me fall in love with you, present this other self – your good half – only to rip the mask off once I was in?! I feel like the biggest idiot in the world.”
“I have put up with so much,” Heard concluded. “I have cleaned shit, vomit and piss up both literally and figuratively. I have been accused of crazy shit – none of which I deserved – only to never hear an apology for your booze-fueled zeal. You have hit me repeated. Something you should Never have done. What a fucking man you are. And NONE of this would be possible without the booze and drugs. NONE.”
Responding to the trial in a statement to Vanity Fair, a representative for Heard wrote, “Amber never asked for these proceedings to take place. Amber obtained a domestic-violence restraining order against Depp back in 2016 and has tried to move on with her life. It is Johnny Depp who brought these proceedings against a British newspaper and has dragged her to the U.K. courts to give evidence on some of the most distressing moments of her life.”