As Johnny Depp’s libel trial against News Group Newspapers, publisher of U.K. tabloid The Sun, continues in London’s High Court, his employees are standing trial in support of their boss.
Depp sued the publisher for labeling him a “wife beater,” while The Sun maintains that the description is based on 14 allegations of abuse made by Depp’s ex-wife, Amber Heard. Heard acquired a restraining order against Depp in 2016, and in December 2018, wrote an op-ed published in the Washington Post, in which she described the aftermath of coming forward about sexual assault and domestic violence. She never named Depp in the piece.
According to The Guardian, on Tuesday stylist Samantha McMillan contested Heard’s accusation that she had two black eyes while appearing on James Corden’s The Late Late Show in December 2015—injuries Heard said were caused by Depp the previous night. “After the show, Ms. Heard said to me, ‘Can you believe I just did that show with two black eyes?’ Ms. Heard did not have any black eyes, and had been visibly uninjured throughout the day and at that moment,” McMillan said in a statement. McMillan worked for Heard and Depp when they were together, and continues to work with Depp.
Tara Roberts, the estate manager at Depp’s Bahamas home, also made a statement saying she recalled Heard “screaming and berating” Depp, whom Roberts called an “unusually kind man.” She has worked for Depp for over a decade, beginning in 2008.
Hilda Vargas, Depp’s housekeeper of 30 years, shared a statement with the court, claiming to have been “horrified and disgusted” to find “a large pile of feces” in Depp and Heard’s bed the night of Heard’s 30th birthday party—the same incident that Depp claims led to the dissolution of their marriage. Vargas also said she “often” heard Heard “yell at Mr. Depp and at other people,” adding that “She has a bad temper in my opinion, and I did not want her to yell at me. On the contrary, in the over 30 years I have worked for Mr. Depp, I have never seen Mr. Depp be physical with or yell at anyone.”
On Wednesday, Depp’s former butler Ben King shared a statement with the court: “I frequently witnessed Ms. Heard goading and attempting to provoke Mr. Depp,” he said. “I never witnessed Mr. Depp be violent or unkind towards Ms Heard or indeed anyone else,” The Guardian reports. However, while examined by The Sun’s barrister about a flight to Los Angeles from Australia following an incident in which Depp injured his finger and which Wass previously described as a “three-day ordeal of assaults” against Heard, King said he noticed “some cuts on one of her arms,” Deadline reports. When asked about the severity, he said, “They were enough for me to say ‘maybe you should put your sleeve down’.”
The trial is expected to last three weeks, coming to a conclusion next Friday. Jezebel will continue to follow this case.