Johnny Depp’s libel trial against News Group Newspapers, publisher of U.K. tabloid The Sun, continued Tuesday in London’s High Court when Stephen Deuters, Depp’s ex-personal assistant and current European President of Depp’s production company Infinitum Nihil, testified in support of his boss. Depp has sued News Group Newspapers for labeling him a “wife beater,” while The Sun has argued the description is based on 14 allegations of abuse made by Depp’s ex-wife Amber Heard.
Deuters told the court that he witnessed Heard being abusive towards Depp “on many occasions,” The BBC reports. “At no point did Ms. Heard ever mention any physical abuse and I never saw evidence of any injury to Ms. Heard,” he said, adding that he was “extremely surprised and outraged” when news broke that Heard acquired a restraining order against Depp in 2016. “I knew that Ms. Heard was the abuser in the relationship and I was appalled that she would behave in this way.” Deuters explained that he was on a flight with Depp and Heard in 2014, from Boston to Los Angeles, when he saw Heard speak to Depp “in an increasingly aggressive manner.” He said Depp “did not engage with the abuse he was receiving,” and while he “could not hear the specifics” of what Heard was saying, he “could see her gesticulating.” He added that Depp “made a playful attempt to tap her on the bottom” which “Ms. Heard took great offense at what was clearly a harmless gesture and increased her abuse of Mr. Depp in an extremely unpleasant manner.” Deuters said Depp then spent the rest of the flight in the bathroom. “This was a common theme on the multiple times when Mr. Depp was abused by Ms. Heard—he would take himself away from the situation, often to a bathroom, and lock himself out of harm’s way,” he explained.
Deuters has worked for Depp since 2004.
According to The Guardian, barrister for News Group Newspapers Sasha Wass read texts sent between Deuters and actor Paul Bettany on May 26, 2016, aloud to the court. “That moment when everything comes home to roost and all the shit compounds itself into one monstrous steaming pile of catastrophe. Just trying to keep him upright at the moment. But at least the bitch is gone. Yes, I do mean Amber—not the Mom. Poor Betty Sue [Depp’s mother] has been on her way out for the last six months—it was a relief to all, most of all herself,” Bettany wrote. Deuters responded: “Sociopathic show pony. Machiavellian overlord. Talentless cunt. Good riddance to bad shit. Yes, I do mean Amber not the Mom, even though she was a devil herself.” Wass argued that Deuters was part of “a public relations initiative to discredit Ms. Heard in the public eye” and told the court Deuters previously said he would never use such language to describe a woman. He replied, “I certainly regret that.” When examined by Depp’s lawyer David Sherborne, he said Depp and Heard “were two people that were in love with each other that shouldn’t have been together,” and that he had never seen Depp abuse Heard.
The trial is scheduled to continue throughout next week. Jezebel will continue to follow this case.