Johnny Depp tells court he never hit Amber Heard and blames her for stalling career

Johnny Depp denies striking Amber Heard during defamation trial in Virginia

Actor Johnny Depp told a court that he has “never struck” Amber Heard during the couple’s ongoing $50m (around £38m) defamation trial.

Depp, 58, is suing Heard, 35, for defamation over an op-ed she wrote for The Washington Post in which she accused him of being abusive. Heard has sued back, with a $100m (around £77m) counterclaim against Depp, alleging “abuse and harassment”.

According to the BBC, Depp said to a jury on Tuesday (19 April) that he has “never struck Ms Heard”.

“I never struck Ms Heard in that way, nor have I struck any woman in my life,” he said.

Depp, who was forced to exit the Fantastic Beasts franchise after losing a libel battle with The Sun newspaper over its description of him as a “wife-beater”, suggested that attitudes towards him have changed since Heard’s op-ed was published.

“It’s been six years of trying times,” he said. “So strange when one day you’re Cinderella, so to speak, and then in 0.6 seconds, you’re Quasimodo.”

Actress Amber Heard sits with her legal team during the Depp vs Heard defamation trial (Shawn Thew/AFP via Getty Images)

The trial began on 11 April in Virginia’s Fairfax County district courthouse, and has so far seen Depp accused of sexually assaulting Heard, and texting a friend hoping “Amber Heard’s rotting corpse was decomposing” in the trunk of a car.

Depp has denied sexually assaulting Heard.

Last Wednesday (13 April) the court heard that Depp had described Heard as a “c**t”, and referred to her “rotting corpse” in text messages to his friend Isaac Baruch.

Relationship counsellor Dr Laurel Anderson said she had observed “mutual abuse” during their marriage, which lasted for two years between 2015 and 2017.

This trial follows a previous libel battle against The Sun in 2020 over an article that labelled Johnny Depp a “wife beater”; after a weeks-long trial in which the court combed through Depp and Heard’s marriage, Depp lost the case.

The High Court ruled that the paper was able to prove what they reported was true on the balance of probabilities, recognising “overwhelming evidence” that Depp attacked Heard at least 12 times during their relationship.

The trial continues, and is expected to last six weeks.