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Film

Paul Bettany opens up about Johnny Depp libel trial

Johnny Depp has been on a downward trajectory ever since he lost the libel case against The Sun. Instead of starring in the third instalment of the Fantastic Beasts series where he was replaced by Mads Mikkelsen, a brand new documentary series is being made about the tumultuous relationship that Depp shared with Amber Heard.

In 2021, Depp claimed that he was a victim of cancel culture because of the backlash he faced after it was announced that the actor was set to receive a lifetime achievement award at the San Sebastian Film Festival. Depp insisted that it was an act of injustice to sideline him in such a way after the details about the Amber Heard case came to light.

Recent developments have provided more details about the entire situation, with actor Paul Bettany opening up about the text messages that were read during the trial. Depp had sued The Sun for libel after the newspaper had labelled him as a “wife beater”, and over the course of the same trial, Depp’s private messages with Bettany were used as evidence.

In a recent interview, Bettany revealed that it was a “very strange” moment when the newspapers’ legal team was reading their private messages aloud in the courtroom. The emails and text messages that the lawyers had access to stretched back to ten years ago, making Bettany uncomfortable. The content of some of those messages did not help at all.

One message sent in 2013 by Bettany asked Depp to perform a ritual by which it could be ascertained whether Heard was a “witch”. The message read: “I’m not sure we should burn Amber. She is delightful company and pleasing on the eye. We could of course do the English course of action and perform a drowning test. Thoughts? You have a swimming pool?”.

Depp had replied to this particular message with a grotesque response which definitely contributed to him losing the case. The actor had said: “Let’s drown her before we burn her!!! I will fuck her burnt corpse afterwards to make sure she’s dead.”

As a result, Judge Mr Justice Nicol came to the conclusion that The Sun had proved what was in the article to be “substantially true”. From there, Mr Justice Nicol said in court that 12 of the 14 alleged incidents of domestic violence had occurred.