Johnny Depp apologises for misleading evidence over ‘Boston plane incident’

PA Reporters
·6-min read

Johnny Depp has apologised for giving misleading evidence after he was shown a text message in which he said he “drank all night” and took “powders” and pills before drinking two bottles of champagne on a private flight from Boston to LA.

The 57-year-old made the admission on the second day of his blockbuster libel case against The Sun newspaper over allegations he was violent to his ex-wife Amber Heard, 34, during their tumultuous relationship.

The Hollywood star is suing the tabloid’s publisher, News Group Newspapers (NGN), and its executive editor Dan Wootton over an April 2018 article which labelled him a “wife beater”.

Mr Depp said in a witness statement that he “had drunk alcohol prior to and on the flight” on May 24 2014, but denied allegations by Ms Heard that he kicked her in the back or “screamed obscenities” as he accused her of an affair with actor James Franco.

Court artist sketch by Elizabeth Cook of actor Johnny Depp (right) being cross-examined by Sasha Wass QC (left) (Elizabeth Cook/PA)
Court artist sketch by Elizabeth Cook of actor Johnny Depp (right) being cross-examined by Sasha Wass QC (left) (Elizabeth Cook/PA)

At the High Court in London on Wednesday, Mr Depp was shown a text message he sent to his friend and fellow actor Paul Bettany, days after what was described as the “Boston plane incident”.

The message, sent on May 30 2014, said: “I’m going to properly stop the booze thing, darling.

“Drank all night before I picked Amber up to fly to LA this past Sunday. Ugly mate. No food for days. Powders. Half a bottle of whisky.

“A thousand Red Bull and vodkas, pills, 2 bottles of champers on plane and what do you get?

“An angry aggro injun in a f****** blackout, screaming obscenities and insulting any f*** who got near.”

He explained that “powders” referred to cocaine, and that the reference to “angry aggro injun” was “a reference to a Native American”.

Asked by Sasha Wass QC, for NGN, about the reference to “two bottles of champers”, champagne, Mr Depp said: “I’m going to say that I made a mistake about the full intake on the plane.”

Actress Amber Heard (Aaron Chown/PA)
Actress Amber Heard (Aaron Chown/PA)

He added: “It sounds like a very self-destructive moment and it was incorrect in my statement that I had not taken cocaine and things of that nature.

“I can only say my apologies to the court.”

The court was told Ms Heard sent Mr Depp a text shortly after the flight saying she felt “heartbroken”, and said to the actor’s former personal assistant Stephen Deuters: “I don’t know how to be around him after what he did to me yesterday.”

Ms Wass also read out a text exchange from June 2013 between Mr Depp and Mr Bettany, previously described as one of his “drug buddies”, which saw the pair joking about buying Ms Heard a pet beaver.

Mr Bettany said: “We take pictures of you shaving said beaver.

“All that’s left is to do is to create a website with the domain name ‘Johnny Depp shaves Amber Heard’s beaver’ and then we sell advertising space like f****** crazy!!!”

Mr Depp was questioned about allegations he hit Ms Heard for the first time in early 2013 after she laughed at his “Wino Forever” tattoo.

Mr Depp originally had a “Winona Forever” tattoo during his relationship with actress Winona Ryder – he changed it to “Wino Forever” after they split.

Ms Heard claims Mr Depp slapped her three times, which he denies.

The Pirates Of The Caribbean star also claimed Ms Heard’s allegations of domestic abuse were a “hoax”.

After being read an email written by Ms Heard, but never sent to him, Mr Depp said: “From hearing you read out this, that was not sent to me, and from some of the information I have garnered from my experience yesterday and having studied the case, I will suggest, ma’am, that it appears to me that Ms Heard was building a dossier very early on that appears to be an insurance policy for later.”

The court also heard details of an alleged incident in Hicksville, California, in June 2013, one of 14 allegations of domestic violence NGN relies on as part of its defence to Mr Depp’s claim, all of which the star denies.

Ms Heard claims he became “enraged” and “jealous” when one of her friends, referred to as Kelly Sue and described as having been “very close to Ms Heard, touched her”.

Ms Wass said to Mr Depp: “You started to get angry, ‘the monster’ joined the party and you took exception to a woman who was in your group called Kelly Sue.”

Mr Depp said he did “take exception”, saying: “She was putting her hands on Amber and I thought it was an uncomfortable position to put her in.”

He denied becoming extremely angry and shouting at her, saying: “I removed Miss Kelly Sue’s hand from Ms Heard’s body and told her not to do that.”

Composite of actor Johnny Depp and actress Amber Heard (Victoria Jones/PA)
Composite of actor Johnny Depp and actress Amber Heard (Victoria Jones/PA)

Drugs were once again at the forefront of the exchanges as Ms Wass asked about an incident in which Ms Heard’s dog “had eaten some hash, some cannabis – quite a lot”.

Mr Depp explained: “The puppy got a hold of a little ball of hashish and just scooped it up before I could get to it.”

In keeping with the first day of the hearing, several high-profile celebrities were mentioned.

Mr Depp denied going on a “24-hour-plus binge” with Marilyn Manson after dropping his daughter Lily-Rose off at school, while the court heard the actor texted Patti Smith shortly after the flight from Boston to LA.

Ms Wass also suggested that Mr Depp was late by several hours for a day of filming with Keith Richards and Tom Waits as part of a documentary he was making about The Rolling Stones’ guitarist.

The actor’s case against NGN and Mr Wootton arises out of the publication of an article on The Sun’s website on April 27 2018 with the headline “Gone Potty: How can JK Rowling be ‘genuinely happy’ casting wife beater Johnny Depp in the new Fantastic Beasts film?”.

NGN is defending the article as true and says Mr Depp was “controlling and verbally and physically abusive towards Ms Heard, particularly when he was under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs” between early 2013 and May 2016, when the couple split.

A separate libel claim brought by Mr Depp against Ms Heard in the US, over a December 2018 column in the Washington Post, which said the actress received “the full force of our culture’s wrath for women who speak out”, but did not mention Mr Depp by name, is due to begin in January.

The pair met in 2011 and began living together in 2012 before marrying in Los Angeles in February 2015.