Johnny Depp branded his ex-wife Amber Heard a ‘scumbag gold-digger’ and a ‘f***ing wh***’ who he ‘wouldn’t touch with a Hazmat suit on’ after their marriage ended four years ago, the Court of Appeal in London heard today, 

The Pirates of the Caribbean star lashed out in a 2016 text to his nurse after Ms Heard said she would hand her entire £5.5million ($7million) divorce settlement to charity. 

Mr Depp wrote at the time: ‘No Way she’ll give a dime to anyone!!! Thank f*** she’s gone!!! Makes me sick to think of how hard I tried to make it work… Now… Honestly, I wouldn’t touch that f***ing wh*** with a Hazmat suit on!!! What scum. I f***ing hate her!!!’ 

Mr Depp’s rant emerged today after his lawyers accused Amber of giving away ‘a fraction’ of the huge sum as part of a ‘calculated and manipulative lie’ to make herself look better.

The Hollywood actor, 57, is trying to overturn a damning High Court ruling that he assaulted his ex-wife, 34, and put her in fear for her life, and is asking the Court of Appeal to order a retrial of his libel claim against The Sun after he was called a ‘wife-beater’. 

After the couple divorced in 2016, Ms Heard said she would split the £5.5million ($7million) between the Children’s Hospital Los Angeles and the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU). 

Mr Depp’s QC Andrew Caldecott said today that there was ‘fresh evidence’ she never gave all the cash away – but her claim had given Ms Heard ‘a considerable boost to her credibility as a person’ and ‘tipped the scales against Mr Depp from the very beginning’ of last year’s libel trial. 

But Adam Wolanski QC, representing the Sun’s publisher News Group Newspapers (NGN), asked the court to reject the appeal demanding a re-trial, claiming the actor has brought the application to ‘promote his position’ in the US where he faces a separate libel battle with his ex-wife, who he is suing personally over a 2018 Washington Post opinion piece she wrote about domestic abuse. 

Mr Wolanski also said that Mr Depp ‘or his legal or business advisers’ knew four years ago that Ms Heard’s donation would be paid in instalments rather than a lump sum and ‘suspected that she would not make the payments’.

He gave an example of a text message the actor sent to his nurse in August 2016 which referred to Ms Heard as a ‘scumbag gold-digger’. The text read: ‘She won’t donate ONE PENNY!!!! Did you notice that it was a non disclosed charity??? She’s been pushing Art of Elysium for years!!!! And, what about battered women???’. 

Mr Wolanski also rejected Mr Depp’s assertion that ‘fresh evidence exposes a calculated and manipulative lie’ by Ms Heard in relation to donations made to charities with her divorce settlement money.   

Following a three-week trial in July 2020, Mr Justice Nicol ruled that Mr Depp, 57, assaulted Ms Heard, 34, on a dozen occasions and put her in ‘fear for her life’ three times.

The judge found that an April 2018 column calling Mr Depp a ‘wife beater’ was ‘substantially true’.  He said ‘a recurring theme in Mr Depp’s evidence was that Ms Heard had constructed a hoax and that she had done this as an ‘insurance policy’, and that Ms Heard was a ‘gold-digger’. But he added: ‘I do not accept this characterisation of Ms Heard.’ 

As Mr Depp’s lawyers fought for a second trial of the century, the court heard: 

  • Amber Heard is accused of donating a seventh of the $7million divorce payout she received from Johnny Depp, despite saying she gave away all of it;
  • Star’s lawyers also claim last year’s judgment against him was ‘flawed’ because it failed to take into account audio of Ms Heard saying: ‘I can’t promise I won’t get physical again’. 
  • Actor’s QC Andrew Caldecott also claims judge failed to give weight to Depp’s recorded claims to his ex-wife: ‘You f****** haymakered me’;
  • He said the judge had ‘glibly’ accepted Ms Heard’s evidence without ‘proper forensic examination’ of its truthfulness
  • Sasha Wass QC, representing The Sun’s publisher News Group Newspapers (NGN), said Mr Depp’s complaint was that the trial judge was ‘favourable’ to Ms Heard’s evidence but ‘unfavourable’ to the actor’s. She said: ‘The judge did find that, on multiple occasions, that Mr Depp had lied’;
Hollywood star Johnny Depp, pictured, has gone to the Court of Appeal over his recent High Court defeat over allegations that he had assaulted his ex-wife Amber Heard, who he branded a 'scumbag gold-digger' and a 'f***ing whore' in a text made public today

Hollywood star Johnny Depp, pictured, has gone to the Court of Appeal over his recent High Court defeat over allegations that he had assaulted his ex-wife Amber Heard, who he branded a ‘scumbag gold-digger’ and a ‘f***ing whore’ in a text made public today

The High Court libel case heard a string of claims about the nature of Depp's relationship with his ex-wife Amber Heard, left, and was nicknamed the trial of the century

The High Court libel case heard a string of claims about the nature of Depp’s relationship with his ex-wife Amber Heard, left, and was nicknamed the trial of the century

The High Court in London was told that Amber Heard, pictured last July, was in fear of her life. Mr Justice Nichol found a story that claimed Depp had assaulted his ex-wife was 'substantially true'

The High Court in London was told that Amber Heard, pictured last July, was in fear of her life. Mr Justice Nichol found a story that claimed Depp had assaulted his ex-wife was ‘substantially true’

Johnny Depp's barrister, David Sherborne arrives at the Royal Courts of Justice in London,

Sasha Wass, Lawyer for Amber Heard's legal team arrives at the High Court to hear the appeal at a request in a Johnny Depp libel case in London,

Johnny Depp’s barrister, David Sherborne arrives at the Royal Courts of Justice in London, and was followed into court by Sasha Wass QC, Lawyer for Amber Heard’s legal team

During the trial Heard showed bruises she claimed were inflicted by Depp as he allegedly smashed her iPhone in her face at her LA home in May 2016 - a month after Depp claimed Heard 'defecated' in their marital bed after her 30th birthday

During the trial Heard showed bruises she claimed were inflicted by Depp as he allegedly smashed her iPhone in her face at her LA home in May 2016 – a month after Depp claimed Heard ‘defecated’ in their marital bed after her 30th birthday 

Today the actor’s legal team was back in court to claim the star ‘did not receive a fair trial’ and is applying for permission to appeal against the ruling at the Royal Courts of Justice in London on Thursday. Neither Mr Depp nor Ms Heard were present in court. 

Mr Depp’s barrister Andrew Caldecott QC’s demand for a re-trial centres on an application for permission to rely on ‘fresh evidence’ that Ms Heard did not donate her entire divorce settlement to charity, claiming it was ‘a fraction’ of what she said.

After the couple divorced in 2016, Ms Heard said she would split the £5.5million ($7million) between the Children’s Hospital Los Angeles and the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU). 

But Mr Caldecott told the court Ms Heard gave just $100,000 to the hospital and $450,000 to the ACLU, although she claims she made a further $500,000 donation to the second charity anonymously. 

The QC said that the claims had given Ms Heard ‘a considerable boost to her credibility as a person’ and had ‘tipped the scales against Mr Depp from the very beginning’ and that last year’s ruling was ‘deeply flawed’.

He also claimed that judge in last year’s three-week trial had a ‘very favourable starting point of Ms Heard’ and unfairly rejected ‘evidence adverse’ to her.

He said Ms Heard was ‘the key witness’ at the libel trial, adding: ‘They (NGN) would have had no defence without Ms Heard. There were many other witnesses, but she was on any view centre stage.’

He added that Ms Heard’s witness statement said that ‘the entire amount of my divorce settlement was donated to charity’.

Mr Caldecott said that statement ‘means what it says … ‘I have not kept a cent’ and that was clearly how the judge understood it’.

The barrister said: ‘There were two charities that received money from Ms Heard: the Children’s Hospital of Los Angeles and the American Civil Liberties Union. On August 18 2016, Ms Heard publicly stated that the seven million dollars would be equally divided between them.’

But Mr Caldecott said that ‘the only donation’ to the hospital that has been made is one of ‘100,000 dollars, not the 3.5 million dollars which we say the court was led to believe was the true position’. 

Mr Caldecott said, the hospital wrote to Mr Depp’s business adviser in 2019 to say Ms Heard had not made ‘any payments’.

In written submissions, Mr Caldecott said the pledges ‘strengthened Ms Heard’s credit in an exceptional way’.

But, he added, that was a ‘calculated and manipulative lie, designed to achieve a potent favourable impression from the outset’.

Amber Heard was never asked whether or not she had donated all of her divorce settlement during last summer’s libel trial, the Court of Appeal heard.

Supporters of Johnny Depp, one dressed as Edward Scissorhands played by Depp in the Tim Burton 1990 film of the same name, stood outside the Royal Courts of Justice in London today

Supporters of Johnny Depp, one dressed as Edward Scissorhands played by Depp in the Tim Burton 1990 film of the same name, stood outside the Royal Courts of Justice in London today

Lord Justice Dingemans (left) and Lord Justice Underhill heard the appeal. They said the court would give its ruling at a later date

Lord Justice Dingemans (left) and Lord Justice Underhill heard the appeal. They said the court would give its ruling at a later date

Lord Justice Underhill said: ‘We now know what the truthful answer would have been, but (Ms Heard) was never given the opportunity to say ‘I have paid a comparatively small sum but I’ve made a pledge to both (charities) and I will be paying over X number of years’.’

Trial of the century judge failed to take full account of audio where Amber admitted ‘getting physical’ with Depp, his QC claims 

Mr Depp’s legal team has argued that the trial judge erred in not attaching much weight to recordings in which Ms Heard appeared to admit to assaulting her ex-husband.

In the recordings, which the couple were using as a form of therapy to help mend their relationship, Ms Heard says: ‘I can’t promise I won’t get physical again.’

She also apparently admits hitting Depp but denies punching him.

Mr Caldecott, for Mr Depp, said: ‘Self-evidently, if in a contemporary consensual tape recorded conversation with a clear audio and more than enough length for proper context and alleged victim admits to assaulting the alleged perpetrator on more than one occasion – we would say several occasions on a fair view of the recording – and says she can’t promise she won’t get physical again, and when it’s her case she has never been violent to the perpetrator, the evidence requires the most careful consideration by the judge.’

Andrew Caldecott said Ms Heard’s ‘promise about future conduct suggests that this is not necessarily a one-off’.

He added: ‘Be it two occasions (of violence by Ms Heard towards Mr Depp) or more, it is a fundamentally important check against the reality of Ms Heard’s case, that she was never an aggressor and always a victim.’

Mr Caldecott said the judge needed to ‘carefully’ consider the importance of the recording, but ‘he does not do that exercise at all’.

The barrister said both sides agreed that Mr Depp and Ms Heard would record their arguments for ‘a therapeutic purpose’.

But he added: ‘It is hard to imagine any therapist advising a couple to lie to each other.’

Mr Caldecott also referred to Ms Heard telling Mr Depp on the recording: ‘You are such a baby. Grow the f*** up.’

The barrister told the court this showed Ms Heard was not concerned about provoking Mr Depp, as she had claimed.

He said: ‘That response, ‘you are such a baby, grow the f*** up’, is not the statement, we say, of someone who is worried about provoking Mr Depp.’

Mr Caldecott told the court that this recording undermined Ms Heard’s evidence about a ‘very, very serious allegation in the confidential judgment’.

He said a judge ‘would be very uneasy’ about finding that confidential allegation had been proved once a witness has shown themselves ‘plainly liable to exaggerate’.

Mr Caldecott also referred to a second recording of Mr Depp and Ms Heard in San Francisco in July 2016, made without Mr Depp’s knowledge, after they had split and Ms Heard had obtained a restraining order against the actor.

On the recording, Mr Depp can be heard to say ‘you f****** haymakered me’, referring to an incident after Ms Heard’s 30th birthday party at the couple’s LA penthouse on April 21 2016.

Mr Caldecott said: ‘She, unbeknownst to him, is recording this conversation. There is no denial by her of that and the obvious inference is she knew if she denied it that he would have persisted.’

Mr Caldecott said it was a ‘perfectly reasonable decision by an advocate not to challenge a clear statement that she had donated it all’.

He argued that Ms Heard had been unequivocal in her claims that the entirety of the seven million dollars she received from Mr Depp had already been donated.

In November, Mr Justice Nicol rejected Mr Depp’s contention that Ms Heard was a ‘gold-digger’, saying in his ruling: ‘Her donation of the seven million US dollars to charity is hardly the act one would expect of a gold-digger.’

Mr Caldecott argued that the if ‘the truth about the charity claim emerged at the trial, it would have materially affected Mr Justice Nicol’s consideration of Ms Heard’s evidence as a whole’.

He said: ‘The evidence presented a wholly exceptional act of philanthropy, which would have deeply impressed any reasonable person.

‘Her public statements expressly stated that the ACLU donation had victims of domestic violence specifically in mind.

‘The subliminal message of the charity claim was in any event clear: Ms Heard would not wish to keep any of Mr Depp’s money, because he had subjected her to serious violence. The evidence presented, and was obviously intended to present, her in the strongest terms as both virtuous and a victim.’

Andrew Caldecott said the trial judge last year, Mr Justice Nicol, had a ‘very favourable starting point of Ms Heard’ and unfairly rejected ‘evidence adverse’ to her.

He told the court: ‘If you look at the judgment, material of a similar type against Mr Depp is time and again acted on.’

But, Mr Caldecott said, evidence adverse to Ms Heard was not given the same weight.

The barrister said: ‘The judge had a very favourable starting point of Ms Heard and really was not particularly interested in this adverse evidence.’

He added that ‘the disparity of approach to the evidence of Ms Heard and Mr Depp’ caused Mr Depp ‘substantial unfairness’.

Mr Caldecott said Mr Depp ‘had his suspicions about Ms Heard’s evidence’ at the time of the trial, ‘but he had no evidence to support them’.

The barrister added: ‘Ms Heard took every available step to suppress the evidence.’

Sasha Wass QC, representing The Sun’s publisher News Group Newspapers (NGN), said Mr Depp’s complaint was that the trial judge was ‘favourable’ to Ms Heard’s evidence but ‘unfavourable’ to the actor’s.

Ms Wass said: ‘The obvious inference to be drawn from that state of affairs is that the judge found Ms Heard to be a compelling witness on the one hand and Mr Depp to be a witness who lacked credibility on the other hand.’

She added: ‘It is suggested … that the judge failed to explain his reasons.

‘We say this is wrong. Furthermore, the suggestion that no witness is found to have lied … the judge did find that, on multiple occasions, that Mr Depp had lied.’

She said the judge ‘did not use the word’, but repeatedly said he did not accept Mr Depp’s evidence. 

Ms Wass said the change in the date on which Ms Heard claimed an assault in March 2013 took place was ‘a genuine mistake by a complainant who was the subject of long-term domestic abuse who has muddled up one incident with another’.

She also referred to an incident on a flight from Boston to LA in May 2014, when Mr Depp was found to have kicked Ms Heard ‘on her back or bottom’.

Ms Wass said: ‘The response (to that allegation) by Mr Depp at first was that he was entirely lucid during the course of the journey and no such incident occurred.’

But she added that text messages which were disclosed by Mr Depp showed ‘firstly that Mr Depp had apologised to Ms Depp for his behaviour’.

She said the texts also showed that ‘he had consumed large amounts of alcohol … pills and drugs, which he accepted was a reference to illegal drugs and he accepted that he had blacked out’.

Ms Wass argued that those facts ‘would have enabled any judge to say that the account given by Ms Heard was preferable’.

Photos after the December incident show bruising to Heard's face after Depp allegedly headbutted her. The trial is hearing evidence about 14 such incidents

Photos after the December incident show bruising to Heard's face after Depp allegedly headbutted her. The trial is hearing evidence about 14 such incidents

Heard’s team showed the court photos of a separate incident showing bruising to her face after Depp allegedly headbutted her. The trial heard evidence about 14 altercations from their time together. The court believed Heard that he did hit her

After last year's libel trial of the century Mr Justice Nicol said he accepted 12 of Heard's 14 allegations that Depp had beaten her for three years beginning in 2013

After last year’s libel trial of the century Mr Justice Nicol said he accepted 12 of Heard’s 14 allegations that Depp had beaten her for three years beginning in 2013

Amber’s ‘volte face’ on he actor husband ‘slapping her’ after ‘teasing him about his tattoos’, court told

Johnny Depp’s legal team say Amber Heard performed a ‘volte face’ in the days before last summer’s libel trial by claiming that her ex-husband had assaulted her several times in March 2013, rather than just the once she had originally alleged.

She alleged he had slapped her three times after she made a joke about one of his tattoos.

Andrew Caldecott QC, for Mr Depp, pointed to Ms Heard’s initial claim the March 2013 incident was a watershed moment, saying: ‘This incident was unlike anything I had experienced with (Mr Depp) up until that point – I didn’t realise it was a sign of what was to come.’

Mr Caldecott said Ms Heard had been inconsistent about the date of the incident, initially claiming it had occurred on March 8, and then later alleging it had been March 23 and that there had been multiple incidents of violence over the course of that month.

In his ruling, the trial judge accepted Mr Depp ‘inflicted a number of assaults on (Ms Heard), only one has been pleaded but I accept that’s why Ms Heard’s account is confused’.

Mr Caldecott said: ‘This ignores the fact that it was her allegation that this was the first time something of this gravity had happened.’

He said the judge had ‘glibly’ accepted Ms Heard’s evidence without ‘proper forensic examination’ of its truthfulness.

Adam Wolanski QC, representing the Sun’s publisher News Group Newspapers (NGN), said in written submissions that Mr Depp’s ‘fresh evidence’ was said to support ‘a theory that Ms Heard was a ‘gold-digger”.

But, he said, ‘the evidence is not ‘fresh’ at all, since it could have been obtained with reasonable diligence for (the) trial’.

Mr Wolanski added: ‘The ‘fresh’ evidence – which the respondents accept is apparently credible insofar as it shows that Ms Heard has not yet finished making her pledged payments to the charities – only goes to a highly peripheral and unpleaded matter and is of no relevance to the pleaded issues, i.e. the 14 assaults, that Mr Justice Nicol had to decide.

‘The evidence would have had no impact on Ms Heard’s credibility had it been before the trial judge, since it does not demonstrate that Ms Heard or any of the respondents’ witnesses lied.’

She told the court: ‘The application to admit the evidence should therefore be refused … (and) the application for permission to appeal should be dismissed.’

Mr Depp sued NGN in June 2018 over the column by the newspaper’s executive editor Dan Wootton, which referred to ‘overwhelming evidence’ he attacked Ms Heard.

In his judgment, Mr Justice Nicol concluded that 12 of the 14 alleged incidents of domestic violence relied on by NGN in its defence of the actor’s claim did occur.

The judge also found Mr Depp put Ms Heard in ‘fear for her life’ on three occasions, including one the actress described as a ‘three-day hostage situation’ in Australia in March 2015.

But Mr Depp’s legal team claims Mr Justice Nicol ‘failed to examine the competing accounts of each incident, or to explain whether he found them proved and, if so, on what basis’.

They also argue ‘the judge should have analysed the extent to which Ms Heard’s evidence undermined her credibility in relation to her allegations of physical assault/injury’.

Just days after the ruling in November, Mr Depp announced he had been asked by Warner Brothers to resign from his role in the Harry Potter spin-off franchise Fantastic Beasts – the very role which prompted Mr Wootton to ask how JK Rowling could be ‘genuinely happy’ Mr Depp was cast in the film.

Mr Depp is currently embroiled in a separate libel battle in the US, having sued Ms Heard personally over a 2018 Washington Post opinion piece in which she claimed to be a victim of domestic abuse but did not mention the actor by name.

The actor’s $50million (£35million) US case against Ms Heard was recently delayed until April 2022.

At the conclusion of Thursday’s hearing, Lord Justice Underhill – sitting with Lord Justice Dingemans – said the court would give its ruling at a later date.

He said: ‘We are not going to reach an immediate decision today … we will make it very shortly.’

In November Depp accepted an award from Camerimage, a film festival in Poland, for Minamata, in which he plays the war photographer W Eugene Smith. He sent a photograph of himself standing behind bars in what appeared to be his private island in the Bahamas.

In November Depp accepted an award from Camerimage, a film festival in Poland, for Minamata, in which he plays the war photographer W Eugene Smith. He sent a photograph of himself standing behind bars in what appeared to be his private island in the Bahamas.

Depp severed the top of his finger (pictured) when he smashed a vodka bottle during a row with Heard over his drug-taking while he was in Australia in March 2015 filming Pirates of the Caribbean

Depp severed the top of his finger (pictured) when he smashed a vodka bottle during a row with Heard over his drug-taking while he was in Australia in March 2015 filming Pirates of the Caribbean

After slicing off the top of his finger, Depp went to the bathroom at the mansion in Australia they were renting - and wrote I love you in his blood on the mirror

Depp also admitted to daubing other graffiti on the mirror during his drug-fuelled rage with Heard during their three-day stay in Australia

After slicing off the top of his finger, Depp went to the bathroom at the mansion in Melbourne they were renting – and wrote I love you in his blood on the mirror. He also daubed other graffiti on the mirror during his drug-fuelled rage 



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