Depp loses libel case against UK tabloid

Hollywood star Johnny Depp on Monday lost his libel battle with a British tabloid that labeled him a "wife beater."

Hollywood star Johnny Depp on Monday lost his libel battle with a British tabloid that labeled him a “wife beater,” after a London High Court judge ruled that the paper’s allegations were “substantially true.”

In a ruling that could severely damage Depp’s reputation and career, Judge Andrew Nicol said he accepted claims by Depp’s ex-wife, actress Amber Heard, that he had violently assaulted her on numerous occasions during their tempestuous five-year relationship.

“I have found that the great majority of alleged assaults of Ms Heard by Mr Depp have been proved to the civil standard,” said Nicol, accepting that 12 of the 14 assaults had taken place.

“It follows that this claim is dismissed,” Nicol added.

Depp, 57, famed for his role in films such as “Pirates of the Caribbean” and “Edward Scissorhands,” had sued News Group Newspapers, publishers of the Sun, and one of its journalists, Dan Wootton, over a 2018 article which stated he had been violent towards Heard, 34.

Over the course of three weeks at London’s Old Bailey in July, judge Andrew Nicol heard evidence from both Depp and Heard about their fiery marriage, alleged affairs, his hedonistic lifestyle and battle with drink and drugs, and their furious rows. Both accused the other of violent outbursts.

“For those of us present for the London High Court trial, this decision and judgment are not a surprise,” Elaine Charlson Bredehoft, Heard’s US lawyer said.

The Sun said the decision was a “stunning victory for press freedom” and that it had stood up and campaigned for victims of domestic abuse for more than 20 years.

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