07:07, July 13 171 0 theguardian.com

2020-07-13 07:07:03
Johnny Depp tells high court libel case how he lost $650m in earnings

Johnny Depp has told the high court that he lost every cent of $650m he made at the height of his Pirates of the Caribbean fame and was left owing $100m in taxes on account of business managers he accused of stealing from him.

On what is expected to be his final day of evidence in his libel case against the Sun, the actor denied he had been violent towards his former wife Amber Heard.

In one of the alleged incidents, Depp turned up late to Heard’s 30th birthday party in 2016 after receiving bad news at a meeting about his finances and is alleged by her to have later thrown a magnum of champagne at her and pulled her hair.

Under cross-examination from his barrister, Depp told the court on Monday: “I was in the early stages of learning from my recently acquired new business manager that the former business managers had absconded with quite a lot of my money. They stole my money.”

Pressed to say how much money was allegedly taken, Depp paused and replied that it had been put to him that since the second and third parts of the blockbuster Pirates of the Caribbean series – “and this is a ludicrous number to have to state” – that he had made $650m.

“And when I fired them for the right reasons I not only lost the $650m but I was $100m in the hole because they had not paid the government my taxes for several years,” he said.

At another stage in the evidence, sitting in the witness box, Depp simulated the act of punching in order to demonstrate what a “haymaker” was. The term had been used by him during what he had regarded as a “secret recording” during a meeting with Heard in San Francisco in July 2016, when he could be heard to say “you fucking haymakered me, man”.

He had said to Heard that “you came around the bed to fucking start punching on me”, the court heard.

Questioned on Monday, his barrister asked what a haymaker was, to which Depp replied: “It’s just a type of wild swinging … kind of a roundhouse punch, as it were. It’s a bit of a wild swing, but effective if it reaches the target.”

Earlier in the morning, the court was told that he could not, as alleged by Heard, have violently struck her in the head because he was wearing a cast on his finger after an earlier incident in 2015 when he lost the top of his middle finger in Australia.

During a cross-examination in which Depp’s barrister, David Sherborne, invited him to answer yes or no, he was asked about an alleged incident in Los Angeles on 23 March 2015 when he is said to have grabbed Heard by the hair with one hand and hit her “repeatedly in the head with the other”.

The 57-year-old said: “I flew back from Australia to LA to have surgery on the finger and, at that time, they had put a pin in it, in the broken bone, the fractured bone, but to no avail.”

He added that he “ended up getting MRSA, it’s quite a painful disease”.

Depp is suing the Sun’s publisher, News Group Newspapers (NGN), and its 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.