Johnny Depp in court for libel case over tabloid claims he abused his wife

Johnny Depp has appeared at the High Court in London for a hearing in his libel case against a tabloid newspaper.

The Hollywood actor is suing the publishers of The Sun and its executive editor, Dan Wootton, over an article which alleged he had been abusive to his former wife Amber Heard.

The Pirates Of The Caribbean star, wearing a suit and blue-tinted glasses, sat in court behind his lawyers at a pre-trial review hearing yesterday.

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Johnny Depp is seen leaving the Royal Courts of Justice on February 26, 2020 in London, England. The Hollywood actor is suing The Sun newspaper over claims he beat up his ex-wife Amber Heard picture: GettyImages

He listened as barrister David Sherborne told the court that the case was “very unusual” in the sense that Ms Heard’s allegations against her ex-husband have been “publicly aired on a massive scale in the media”, largely by the actress herself.

Mr Sherborne said the trial, which is due to start on 23 March and last for ten days, will involve evidence which is “diametrically opposed”.

“It is black and white. One person, one side, is lying, and one is not.

“Obviously, we say that it is Ms Heard (who is lying), Mr Depp is 100 per cent clear about that.”

The barrister told the court Ms Heard’s allegations date back to the early stage of the couple’s relationship in 2013, before they married in 2015.

He also referred to recordings of Ms Heard, 33, which recently came to light, in which she appears to discuss having been physically violent towards Mr Depp.

Mr Sherborne said that evidence “demonstrates in her own voice that she was not a victim of domestic abuse, but rather that she was the aggressor”.

He added that, in the recordings, Ms Heard is apparently heard to say that no-one would believe Mr Depp if he claimed to be a victim of domestic violence.

The court heard a number of witnesses will either attend the trial or appear over a video link, many from California, to give evidence in support of either Mr Depp or Ms Heard.

The libel claim, against News Group Newspapers and Mr Wootton, arises out of publication of an article in The Sun in April 2018 under the headline “Gone Potty How can JK Rowling be

‘genuinely happy’ casting wife-beater Johnny Depp in the new Fantastic Beasts film?”

Mr Sherborne told the court the words “wife-beater” were later removed from the article online.