| 15.5°C Belfast

Johnny Depp joked about punching Amber Heard in the face, court told

Johnny Depp has strongly denied allegations of domestic violence against Amber Heard.

Close

Johnny Depp arrives at the High Court in London (Aaron Chown/PA)

Johnny Depp arrives at the High Court in London (Aaron Chown/PA)

Johnny Depp arrives at the High Court in London (Aaron Chown/PA)

Johnny Depp joked about punching Amber Heard in the face after their wedding ceremony in the Bahamas, a friend of the actress has alleged.

iO Tillett Wright, who was Ms Heard’s best man in February 2015, claimed he already knew Mr Depp was “hitting” her when the alleged comment was made.

In a written witness statement submitted in the Hollywood actor’s libel trial against The Sun newspaper, Mr Tillett Wright said: “The first thing Johnny said to me after the ceremony, as we walked to the reception, was ‘now I can punch her in the face and no-one can do anything about it’.

“He probably intended it as a joke, but it is only a joke if it’s not real – and by then I knew he was hitting her.”

Mr Tillett Wright, who describes himself as an author, photographer, TV host and activist, said he became one of Ms Heard’s “closest friends” after they met in 2011.

Close

Amber Heard arrives at the High Court in London (Aaron Chown/PA)

Amber Heard arrives at the High Court in London (Aaron Chown/PA)

PA

Amber Heard arrives at the High Court in London (Aaron Chown/PA)

In his statement, Mr Tillett Wright said it was in late 2013 or early 2014 that he understood Mr Depp was allegedly “physically violent” towards Ms Heard.

He said he had told Ms Heard in 2015 not to go on holiday to the Bahamas with Mr Depp for Christmas, after hearing from her that the Pirates Of The Caribbean star had allegedly “beat her up badly” in December that year.

Mr Depp has strongly denied allegations of domestic violence against Ms Heard.

“I told her – ‘you cannot go’ – he might kill you’,” Mr Tillett Wright said in his statement.

He said he told Ms Heard that Mr Depp “loved and would not hurt her” but “he was not in control of his faculties”.

Mr Tillett Wright explained Ms Heard was “convinced” to go on the trip, with her telling him “I’m too weak willed”.

“You’re out of you f****** mind,” Mr Tillett Wright said he replied, explaining he was “really worried” about her, with no police on the private island and the nearest help a plane ride away.

“She said, basically, ‘I appreciate your concern but I’m going to give him one more chance’,” Mr Tillett Wright said in his statement.

“It was as if she was suffering Stockholm syndrome.”

In his statement, Mr Tillett Wright gave his account of the “defecation incident”, in which faeces was found in Mr Depp and Ms Heard’s bed following her birthday party in April 2016.

He claimed Ms Heard told him “Johnny believes that you and I together shit on his pillow on our way to Palm Springs”.

Mr Tilllett Wright said the allegation was “absurd” and that he had not been at the birthday celebration.

“It was just so ridiculous. First, Amber is faecal phobic: this was just not a prank that she would ever pull,” he said.

He added that the “rational explanation” for the incident was it was Mr Depp and Ms Heard’s dog Boo, who has “faulty bowels”.

Mr Tillett Wright said he had “hit it off immediately” with Mr Depp when they were introduced in 2013, and he described the Hollywood actor as “intelligent” and “charming”.

He claimed Mr Depp said they had “an intense, kindred spirit connection”, with Mr Tillett Wright adding in his statement that he referred to Mr Depp “as my brother”.

He said he would sometimes “platonically” share a bed with Ms Heard or Mr Depp.

Mr Tillett Wright’s statement concluded: “It was heartbreaking to learn about Johnny’s violence towards Amber.

“I loved Johnny and I didn’t want to believe it either until I saw the wreckage – that this sometimes gentle, kind and protective person could be capable of violence.”

He claimed: “Johnny destroyed their world by being an addict.”

Mr Tillett Wright said Ms Heard had “been through hell” before petitioning for divorce, and alleged there had been “a campaign of victim-blaming run against her by Johnny’s people”.

His statement continued: “Every battered woman watching what Amber has gone through has the message reinforced that if they come forward, they won’t be believed and will be blamed. This has to stop.”

PA