Johnny Depp's friend tearfully claims Amber Heard's 'lies' have 'wrecked actor's life'

14 April 2022, 00:39 | Updated: 14 April 2022, 09:53

Johnny Depp and Amber Heard outside the court in Virginia.
Johnny Depp and Amber Heard outside the court in Virginia. Picture: Alamy

By Sophie Barnett

Amber Heard's "fake narrative" and the pair's long-running legal dispute has "wrecked" Johnny Depp's life, an old friend of the actor has claimed.

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Isaac Baruch, an artist who has known Mr Depp for 40 years, said Ms Heard's "fake narrative" had gone "out the door and around the world", as he gave evidence at the multi-million pound trial in Virginia.

Mr Depp, 58, is suing his former partner for libel over a 2018 article she wrote in The Washington Post in which she spoke about domestic violence towards women.

The Pirates of the Caribbean actor claims the article implied he was an abuser.

The article was published in 2018, with the title: ‘I spoke up against sexual violence — and faced our culture’s wrath. That has to change’.

It did not mention Mr Depp by name.

Read more: Amber Heard claims Johnny Depp 'penetrated her with alcohol bottle in hostage situation'

His lawyers have said that this ‘falsely implies’ that the 35-year-old was subjected to abuse during their marriage, with the actor seeking $50million (£39m) in damages.

Mr Baruch lived in an apartment owned by the actor at the Eastern Columbia Building in Los Angeles between 2013 and 2016.

Giving evidence on Wednesday, he said he was "tired" of the drawn-out proceedings and that Ms Heard should "take her responsibility, heal, and move on".

Asked whether he was angry at the Aquaman star and her allegations, Mr Baruch said: "Yeah, that kind of got me confused and frustrated and angry, upset.

"It's (been) six years... am I angry? What I am is tired and I want this all to end.

"So many people have been affected by this malicious lie that she started and she created and it's gone out the door and around the world.

"I'm not angry at anybody. I want the best for (Ms Heard), I want her to take her responsibility, heal, and move on."

Becoming visibly upset, he added: "For Johnny, his family has been completely wrecked by all of this stuff and it's not fair.

"It's not right what she did and what happened for so many people to get affected from this, it's insane how this happened."

Lawyers for Ms Heard say that, although her article is protected by the first amendment of the US constitution, there is also evidence that Mr Depp abused her physically on multiple occasions.

Mr Baruch was asked about his encounters with Ms Heard in the days after an incident on May 21 2016, in which she claimed Mr Depp "got violent" with her.

He said the following day on May 22, which happened to be his birthday, he saw Ms Heard again in a well-lit place but saw no signs of injuries, despite "inspecting" her face.

"I've seen her (with) no make-up... with make-up, glammed out... for three-and-a-half years I've seen her in different forms," he said.

"She puts her head out, and I'm looking... I inspect her face... I'm looking at the whole thing and I don't see anything... I don't see a cut, a bruise, swelling, redness.

"It's just Amber's face."

Mr Depp's lawyers say the allegations of abuse are false and the actress had been "preparing to give the performance of a lifetime" during the proceedings.

Mr Baruch also said that several weeks after his encounters with Ms Heard in May, he had seen CCTV video footage from the apartment building which showed the actress and her sister Whitney, who appeared to throw a "fake punch" at her.

Asked about Ms Heard's reaction to the punch, he said "she was laughing".

Other high-profile celebrities are listed as witnesses in the trial, including actors James Franco and Paul Bettany, and Tesla founder Elon Musk.

Johnny Depp and Amber Heard leave court on first day of case