In an interview that also touches on his abusive mother, his plans to write a book, and the much-publicized rumors of profligate spending and the resulting legal battle with his former lawyer, the 55-year-old Depp addresses ex-wife Amber Heard‘s claim that he assaulted her.
Heard, who filed for divorce from the actor in May 2016, accused her husband of 15 months of “violently attacking” her. The Aquaman actress furnished a videotape showing a seemingly agitated Depp smashing a wine glass; she also shared a photo showing her with a bruised eye and cheek that she said was the result of him later throwing his iPhone at her. Heard subsequently donated part of her $7 million divorce settlement to two charities, the ACLU and the Children’s Hospital of Los Angeles.
“Our relationship was intensely passionate and at times volatile, but always bound by love,” the former couple said in a statement at the time of their August 2016 settlement. “Neither party has made false accusations for financial gain. There was never any intent of physical or emotional harm.”
Yet the implications of domestic abuse have followed Depp, who, according to British GQ, has altered his “Slim” tattoo — inspired by a nickname for Heard — to read first “Scum” and now “Scam.” His casting in the Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them series caused a backlash, though the filmmakers and writer J.K. Rowling have remained supportive.
“I could feel people look at me differently, because of the accusations towards you,” Depp now says, in the British GQ interview. “And then people start putting things in magazines: ‘He’s insane. He needs to take a sanity test…’ You know, ludicrous stuff. But the only thing that I could do was know what I still know. Ultimately, the truth will come out in all of this and I will be standing on the right side of the roaring rapids. I hope other people will be too. I know the truth and if I had to walk away from all of it today, the job, the career, all of it, and go toodle-oo, then fine.
“But of course I care what my family and my kids think,” he tells the magazine later. “I mean, you realize right away, essentially, that what is being done is the commencement of what they hope is to be your funeral.
“And worse than that, to take away future earnings that are for my kids, you know? I do this s*** for my kids, man. How could someone, anyone, come out with something like that against someone, when there’s no truth to it whatsoever? I’m sure it wasn’t easy for my 14-year-old boy to go to school, you know what I mean? With people going, ‘Hey, look at this magazine, man. What, your dad beats up chicks or something?’ Why did he have to go through that? Why did my daughter have to go through that?”
Depp also casts doubt on Heard’s claims, insisting that the video of his wine-smashing incident was used out of context.
“The tape that came out, or the tape that someone made, that miraculously appeared on YouTube, taken from someone’s phone. That was not Downtown [L.A., where he lived with Amber Heard],” he tells the magazine. “She [Heard] wanted to make like it was recent. It was an older video and [what happened in it] had to do with finding out that I had lost hundreds and hundreds of millions of dollars.”
He also expresses his skepticism of Heard’s alleged injuries.
“She was at a party the next day,” he says. “Her eye wasn’t closed. She had her hair over her eye, but you could see the eye wasn’t shut. Twenty-five feet away from her, how the f*** am I going to hit her? Which, by the way, is the last thing I would’ve done. I might look stupid, but I ain’t f****** stupid.
“Why didn’t that person [Heard] speak to the police?” he adds. “I mean, they spoke to the police, but the police saw nothing and they offered her an emergency medical technician. She said no. Police see nothing on her. Police see nothing broken in the place, no marks, and then they offer her an EMT to have a look at her and she says no and I don’t know if it was the next day or a couple of days later, but then there was a bruise. There was a red mark and then there was a brown bruise.”
The actor also claims the domestic abuse accusations have “hurt” him, which is partly why he’s now speaking out and “fighting.”
“The thing that hurt me is being presented as something that you’re really as far away from as you could possibly get, you know?” he says. “To harm someone you love? As a kind of bully? No, it didn’t, it couldn’t even sound like me. So, initially, I just kept my mouth shut, you know? I knew it was going to stick on me and it would get weirder. Keep going, you know? Go nuts. I ain’t going to get into a pissing contest with someone about it. …
“We probably shouldn’t be talking about this, but I am worried,” he says later. “I worry about the people that bought it and I worry about her. It’s just not right. I will never stop fighting. I’ll never stop. They’d have to f****** shoot me. An episode like this takes time to get over.”
The statements about Heard have stirred up a fair amount of controversy. Many fans are cheering the actor on and supporting his version of events.
“Wanting to hug him more than anything,” reads one Instagram comment. “Always supported him. This made me cry.”
“I believe every single word that he said in the interview!” added another fan. “He is a loving father to his two children, he deserves to have his say about the whole drama. Support you all the way, Johnny!”
“Hope all of you haters read this and argue again afterward!!” another commenter posted. “Johnny, you got the Gonzo strength. We believe you!”
But there’s been backlash from critics who have accused British GQ of glamorizing a man accused of domestic abuse.
can’t believe i have to say this @britishgq but being accused of domestic violence does not make you cool. it does not make you an “outlaw”. it does not make you a sexy, conflicted hero. it does not mean you know “torment”. it does not lead you to the “sordid beautiful truth”. pic.twitter.com/a2JdZJvRYG
— anna leszkiewicz (@annaleszkie) October 3, 2018
Johnny Depp is not a movie character, he is a real person accused of much distress, disorder, and domestic violence.
Stop dramatising his behaviour as though he is some sort of misunderstood hero. He's not. pic.twitter.com/kVKqIZRsnK
— Hanna Flint (@HannaFlint) October 3, 2018
When this Johnny Depp cover speaking about alleged domestic abuse, was signed off, I wonder how many women (real women, not a Wendy) were in the room.
*a Wendy is the only girl in the boy’s club so becomes its strictest enforcer in order to protect her position. pic.twitter.com/g8imTrF5Uo
— Megha Mohan (@meghamohan) October 3, 2018
Read more from Yahoo Entertainment: