United Kingdom

Amber Heard was regularly violent to Johnny Depp, says his head of security

Johnny Depp's head of security for 14 years has claimed that Amber Heard was violent to the Hollywood star on multiple occasions and that his security team would have to protect him from her abusive behaviour.

Sean Bett told a libel hearing at the High Court that Ms Heard's abuse of her husband became a "recurring cycle" during their relationship.

He told the court in a witness statement: "Throughout the course of Mr Depp and Ms Heard' s relationship, Ms Heard was verbally and physically abusive towards Mr Depp. On many occasions, I witnessed her shout at Mr Depp. I was also told by Mr Depp on multiple occasions that Ms Heard had physically abused him.

Mr Bett added: "A very common occurrence throughout the relationship would be that Mr Depp would have me, and other members of his security team, take him away from Ms Heard, due to her behavior. He would then stay somewhere else. This happened on so many occasions that it is not possible for me to remember them all in detail. However, I would describe it as a recurring cycle that Ms Heard would abuse Mr Depp, who would then remove himself from the situation."

Mr Depp, 57, is suing the tabloid's publisher News Group Newspapers (NGN) and its executive editor Dan Wootton over an April 2018 article which alleged he was violent towards Ms Heard, 34, throughout their relationship.

The Pirates Of The Caribbean star is suing NGN and Mr Wootton over the publication of an article on April 27 2018 with the headline: "Gone Potty: How can JK Rowling be 'genuinely happy' casting wife beater Johnny Depp in the new Fantastic Beasts film?".

His lawyers say the article bore the meaning there was "overwhelming evidence" Mr Depp assaulted Ms Heard on a number of occasions and left her "in fear for her life".

Ms Heard claims that during one incident in Australia she was subjected to a "three-day hostage situation" during which Mr Depp drank to excess and took pills.

NGN is defending the article as true, and says Mr Depp was "controlling and verbally and physically abusive towards Ms Heard, particularly when he was under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs".

The hearing continues.

Mr Depp denies ever hitting Ms Heard or being abusive towards her.

Appearing in support of the actor Mr Bett, a former officer at Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department, said problems would frequently arise from Ms Heard's habit of drinking large quantities of red wine.

He said: "Ms Heard often behaved in this way when she had been drinking. I learnt quickly to recognize the signs, so that we were able to leave the situation before it escalated further. I also knew that she could be violent towards Mr Depp, so it was important that he did not remain in a situation with Ms Heard when she was in this kind of abusive mood."

Mr Bett, who admitted in court that he found Ms Heard to be "perfectly polite" when he was on his own with her without Mr Depp, said he had never seen the actor physically abusing his wife or anyone else.

He said: “I have never seen Mr Depp being violent to anyone including Ms Heard during the long period I have been working for him. In addition, I have observed Ms Heard throwing bottles, glasses and other objects at Mr Depp while being verbally abusive towards him. As a rule, during these episodes Mr Depp remains fairly passive and either tries to calm Ms Heard down or remove himself from the situation."

The actor's legal team decided on Thursday they would not need to call actresses Winona Ryder and Vanessa Paradis.

Mr Depp’s former partners were due to give evidence over a video link but his barrister David Sherborne said there was no need to call them since the defendants’ case is that the actor was violent to Ms Heard and not other women.

He told the court: "There is no need to reschedule those witnesses, much as it would have been a pleasure to have them here."

The hearing continues.

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