LONDON (AP) — Two former romantic partners of actor Johnny Depp came to his defense Wednesday in his libel suit against British newspaper The Sun, dismissing claims that he was violent or abusive.
Actresses Vanessa Paradis and Winona Ryder offered supportive statements for the “Pirates of the Caribbean’’ star, who is suing the tabloid paper’s publisher, News Group Newspapers, over an April 2018 article which referred to the 56-year-old Depp as a “wife -beater.”
The article contained allegations by Depp’s ex-wife, Amber Heard, who filed for divorce after requesting a domestic violence restraining order. Depp has strenuously denied the allegations.
In a hearing conducted remotely, lawyers for Depp argued that statements from Ryder and Paradis should be included as evidence in the actor’s case against the publisher.
“We’ve been partners for 14 years and we raised our two children together,’’ Paradis said, court documents show. “Through all these years, I’ve known Johnny to be a kind, attentive, generous, and non-violent person and father.”
She added that he was “never violent or abusive.’’
Depp’s lawyers also want to include evidence from Ryder, who was in a relationship with the star in the 1990s.
“I cannot wrap my head around (Heard’s) accusations,’’ she said according to the documents. “He was never, never violent towards me. He was never, never abusive at all towards me.”
Heard’s representative issued a statement after the case management hearing, saying that “in relation to Vanessa Paradis and Winona Ryder’s evidence, we are glad they did not have the same experience as Ms Heard.”
“However, one woman’s experience does not determine the experience of another woman,” the statement said.
A two-week trial was due to start in London on March 25, but it was put on hold due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Lawyers for NGN told the court they agreed to Paradis and Ryder being witnesses at the trial now set for July.