Johnny Depp and Amber Heard have settled their divorce and her domestic abuse case against the Pirates of the Caribbean star, resolving one of Hollywood’s ugliest break-ups on the eve of a court hearing which threatened to expose details of their tumultuous relationship to public glare.
Heard filed legal documents on Tuesday to the superior court of Los Angeles withdrawing her request for a domestic violence restraining order in a deal which included a reported $7m divorce settlement.
Both actors issued a joint statement drawing a line under a saga which has appalled, titillated and divided the film industry and fans.
“Our relationship was intensely passionate and at times volatile, but always bound by love,” said the statement. “There was never an intent of physical or emotional harm. Neither party has made false accusations for financial gains.”
The statement said Heard would donate proceeds from the divorce to charity, without specifying how much, and struck a tone of reconciliation. “Amber wishes the best for Johnny in the future.”
Lawyers for both sides were not immediately available for comment.
The deal came on the eve of a hearing scheduled to begin on Wednesday and last five days, unleashing combative, high-priced lawyers to battle over lurid claims of jealous paranoia, drunken rages, manipulative greed and a severed fingertip.
Heard, 30, filed for divorce in May and obtained a temporary restraining order, alleging her Oscar-nominated husband assaulted her after a drunken argument in their LA apartment. Her filing said Depp, 53, “began obsessing over something that wasn’t true” and “became extremely angry”, throwing a phone at Heard, striking her cheek and eye “with extreme force”.
A separate statement from a friend of Heard’s who witnessed the scene, Raquel Pennington, supported Heard’s version, including a description of Depp swinging a magnum-sized bottle of wine “like a baseball bat”.
Heard, who stars in the upcoming London Fields, supplied photographs of her bruised face and smashed wine bottles and said the incident fit a pattern of abuse, including a violent row in Australia which disrupted filming of Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales.
Io Tillett Wright, another friend of Heard’s, wrote in an essay for Refinery 29: “The reports of violence started with a kick on a private plane, then it was shoves and the occasional punch, until finally, in December, she described an all-out assault and she woke up with her pillow covered in blood. I know this because I went to their house. I saw the pillow with my own eyes. I saw the busted lip and the clumps of hair on the floor.”
Depp, who met Heard in 2011 on the set of The Rum Diary, has not commented publicly. But his lawyers denied the allegations and before the settlement had accused Heard of trying “secure a premature financial resolution by alleging abuse”. It was Depp’s second marriage, Heard’s first.
Stakes escalated in recent days amid fresh claims drawn from Heard’s court filings, including a photograph of a bloodied finger. Heard said Depp accidentally sliced off his fingertip during an argument in March 2015, then dipped the stump in blue paint and scrawled “Billy Bob” and “Easy Amber” on a mirror, according to the celebrity news site TMZ.
Filming of the latest Pirates of the Caribbean installment reportedly paused while Depp flew from Australia to the US for treatment.
The actor mistakenly thought his wife was having an affair with Billy Bob Thornton, her co-star in London Fields, according to Heard’s filings. She and Thornton have denied any affair.
Since the domestic abuse allegations surfaced Hollywood has split over whom to believe.
In a column for The Wrap the comedian Doug Stanhope accused Heard of “blackmailing” Depp. The director Terry Gilliam tweeted a link to the column, adding: “Like many of Johnny Depp’s friends I’m discovering that Amber is a better actress than I thought.”
The actor Paul Bettany tweeted: “Known Johnny Depp for years and through several relationships. He’s the sweetest, kindest, gentlest man that I’ve ever known. Just saying.”
Heard’s supporters lamented that the public, and industry players, tended to side with celebrities over victims.
Gloria Allred, a prominent attorney who represents some of Bill Cosby’s accusers, said fans often they feel they know actors from the characters they play. “But the character they portray is not necessarily consistent with who the celebrity is in real life.”
The domestic abuse claims have presented a dilemma for the fashion house Dior, which uses an image of Depp rolling up his shirt sleeves while advertising a perfume named Sauvage. The British charity Women’s Aid said Dior should dump Depp if the allegations were verified.
By Rory Carroll [The Guardian]