Johnny Depp has lost his request to appeal a British court libel decision that sided with the Sun newspaper, which called him “wife beater.” In a Thursday decision, the Royal Court of Appeal in London ruled against Depp—essentially agreeing that there was enough evidence that the Pirates of the Caribbean actor had indeed beaten his former wife Amber Heard, as she claimed.
The 57-year-old actor argued that he had not received a fair trial in his original unsuccessful civil case against the newspaper and that he had new evidence, including claims that Heard lied about donating her $7 million divorce settlement to charity.
The original court ruling said that the Sun article that labeled the actor as an abusive husband was “substantially true,” and that there was “overwhelming evidence” that he had frequently attacked his 34-year old wife.
Heard and Depp settled their divorce out of court and Depp was never criminally charged despite Heard detailing how she feared for her life and how Depp had even once severed a section of his finger and written in blood on the wall during a fight. Depp says it was Heard who was abusive and that his finger was severed when she hurled a whiskey bottle at him during an angry confrontation.
The gory details of Depp and Head’s clearly tumultuous relationship had become tabloid fodder since they split up in 2016 amid allegations of Depp’s drug and alcohol-fueled attacks that included frequent beatings and even a hostage situation in Australia when she claimed Depp kept her holed up for three days. Depp in his defense has always claimed Heard was the attacker, and that he frequently hid from her or told her what she wanted to hear to placate her in order to avoid her angry rampages.
The British court sided with Heard’s account of events and ruled that it was accurate for the British newspaper to label the actor as a wife beater. “We refuse Mr Depp’s application to admit further evidence in support of his proposed appeal and we conclude that the appeal has no real prospect of success and that there is no other compelling reason for it to be heard,” the court ruled Thursday. “We accordingly refuse permission to appeal.”
The judges also wrote in their ruling that they did not “believe that the judge would have reached a different conclusion if it had been established before him that Ms. Heard had given a misleading impression about how much of the $7m which she said that she had donated to charity had in fact been paid.”
Heard’s spokesperson told the Guardian that they were pleased “but by no means surprised” by the court ruling. “The evidence presented in the U.K. case was overwhelming and undeniable,” the spokesperson said. “To reiterate, the original verdict was that Mr. Depp committed domestic violence against Amber on no fewer than 12 occasions and she was left in fear of her life.”
Depp’s lawyer Joelle Rich told The Daily Beast in a statement that the ruling “further demonstrates that there are clear and objective reasons to seriously question the decision reached in the UK court.” They went on to say that Depp looks forward to presenting the “complete, irrefutable evidence of the truth” in the American libel case against Heard “where she will have to provide full disclosure.”
The Sun newspaper, which had the most to lose in the request for appeal, also expressed delight at the ruling against Depp. “The Sun had every confidence that this leave to appeal application would not be granted and are pleased with today’s decision,” the Sun said in a statement. “The case had a full, fair and proper hearing, and today’s decision vindicates the courageous evidence that Amber Heard gave to the court about domestic abuse, despite repeated attempts to undermine and silence her by the perpetrator. The Sun will continue to stand up and campaign for victims of domestic abuse.”