Johnny Depp’s estranged wife Amber Heard has hit back in a defamation lawsuit against a comedian who accused her of blackmailing her actor husband with false spousal abuse allegations.
In the new suit, filed on Friday against Doug Stanhope in Arizona superior court and his team of 20 unnamed defendants, Heard also makes more allegations against Depp.
A day after Heard granted a restraining order against Depp, whom she filed for divorce from and accused of repeatedly physically assaulting her, the Wrap posted a guest column by Stanhope, a close friend of Depp’s, with the headline: Johnny Depp is Being Blackmailed By Amber Heard – Here’s How I Know.
In the strongly worded article, Stanhope accuses Heard of “threatening to lie about [Depp] publicly in any and every possible duplicitous way if he didn’t agree to her terms” and alleges that his friend “got used, manipulated, set up and made to look like an a–hole”.
Heard is filing claims that Stanhope’s accusation that she fabricated her domestic abuse allegations against Depp to squeeze money out of the actor are “completely false”.
“Heard never undertook any action that could even remotely be described as ‘blackmail’,” reads the suit.
Heard, who met Depp on the set of the 2011 comedy The Rum Diary, is seeking the “maximum possibly jury award”, which she plans to donate to a domestic violence charity in Arizona “in an effort to counter the setback made to women by the defendants’ defamatory article and related wrongful acts,” according to her lawyer, Charles J Harder.
“The complaint alleges that Stanhope is a close friend of Johnny Depp and, as part of a coordinated effort, wrote a highly defamatory article about Ms Heard, filled with completely false, highly defamatory and very hurtful statements,” Harder said in a statement.
“Defendants are engaged in a classic case of ‘attacking the victim,’ in an effort to discredit Heard, destroy her good name and reputation, and severely harm her hard-earned entertainment career, on top of the campaign of violence that Depp has inflicted upon her for years,” the suit alleges.
Heard also calls Depp “an alcoholic and drug addict”, (mirroring what she said in her declaration for a restraining order), while adding that his substance abuse has increased over the years. Heard also accuses Depp of hitting and kicking her on “multiple occasions”. The suit states that he had “thrown objects” at her and “suffocated” her such that she “feared for [my] life”.
“During their marriage, Heard gave Depp numerous chances to get and stay sober and change his violent behavior towards her,” the suit reads. “When she finally realized that Depp was not changing his behavior, and to avoid further injury and risk to her life, Heard took the very difficult step of filing for divorce and seeking a protective order.”
According to a statement from Heard filed in support of the restraining order, the actor alleges several incidents of domestic violence by Depp in the past six months, including one incident in April on Heard’s birthday, in which Depp threw a magnum-sized bottle of champagne at the wall and a wine glass at her, then grabbed her by the hair and shoved her to the floor.
In her statement, Heard said that “during the entirety of our relationship, Johnny has been verbally and physically abusive to me. I endured excessive emotional, verbal and physical abuse from Johnny, which has included angry, hostile, humiliating and threatening assaults to me whenever I questioned his authority or disagreed with him.”
Depp’s lawyers have responded by claiming that “Amber is attempting to secure a premature financial resolution by alleging abuse.”