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Amber Heard files lawsuit over Johnny Depp divorce blackmail claim

Published 04/06/2016

Johnny Depp and Amber Heard are divorcing
Johnny Depp and Amber Heard are divorcing

Actress Amber Heard has filed a defamation lawsuit against the comedian who accused her of blackmailing her husband Johnny Depp and making false domestic abuse allegations.

In the court documents, Heard alleges that Doug Stanhope and 20 complicit unnamed defendants "orchestrated a plot to write an article, which was published at, which falsely accuses plaintiff Amber Heard of 'blackmail' and other criminal behaviour towards her husband, Johnny Depp, from whom she is seeking a divorce".

She calls his accusations "completely false and highly defamatory" and said they "have caused and will continue to cause her tremendous harm".

Stanhope, a close friend of Depp's, wrote a guest column on website two days after Heard was granted a restraining order against her estranged husband, called "Johnny Depp Is Being Blackmailed by Amber Heard - Here's How I Know."

In it he claimed that Heard was "threatening to lie about him (Depp) publicly in any and every possible duplicitous way if he didn't agree to her terms" and that Depp "got used, manipulated, set up and made to look like an a-hole" by her.

Her filing says that all the accusations are fabricated and part of a "calculated publicity campaign to smear Heard for having the temerity to file for divorce".

"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 claims.

Heard's lawyer Charles J. Harder said she is seeking the "maximum possible jury award" which she will donate to a domestic violence shelter in Arizona "in an effort to counter the setback made to women by the defendants' defamatory article and related wrongful acts".

The documents repeat Heard's accusations in her restraining order application that Depp has "hit and kicked" her on numerous occasions and has "thrown objects at her".

They make the fresh claim that "at one point (Depp) nearly suffocated her to the point where she feared for her life".

In the papers, she calls Depp "an alcoholic and drug addict", saying the abuse primarily occurred when he had "relapsed into a cycle of substance abuse".

Heard said she stayed in the relationship "hoping optimistically that the man she married would change his behaviour".

Depp's attorney Laura Wasser said in court documents related to the restraining order that Heard "is attempting to secure a premature financial resolution by alleging abuse".

The couple met on the set of film The Rum Diary in 2011 and married in February 2015. She filed for divorce on May 23.

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