Johnny Depp claims he discovered at a meeting with his accountant in 2016 that he had lost $650 million in movie earnings, immediately prior to an incident when he is alleged to have been violent toward his then wife Amber Heard, a court heard on Monday, the fifth day of his libel trial in London against the publisher of The Sun newspaper.
Depp is suing News Group Newspapers and journalist Dan Wootton for an article on The Sun website that described him as a “wife beater.” Depp denies that he was violent toward Heard, to whom he was married from 2015 to 2017.
At London’s Royal Courts of Justice, Depp was asked about events that occurred on the day of Heard’s 30th birthday celebration on April 21, 2016. Depp arrived at the party, at Eastern Columbia Building in Los Angeles, where the couple lived, two hours late.
His late arrival was due to the need to attend a meeting with his accountant, Edward White, at which he was informed his finances were in a “disastrous state.”
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Depp said he had found out that he had lost $650 million he had made from movies due to alleged financial mismanagement. Depp discovered that tax had not been paid on his behalf for 17 years, meaning that he owned the IRS $100 million in back taxes.
Despite the news, Depp’s income was still very robust, with earnings of around $60 million in that financial year, Sasha Wass, The Sun’s attorney, claimed.
Heard has alleged that Depp was violent toward her after her 30th birthday party, but Depp alleged in court it was her who punched him as he lay in bed reading, giving him a black eye. Depp claimed he had never hit a woman in his entire life.
After Depp left the witness box, his place was taken by his assistant Stephen Deuters, who also heads up Depp’s production company Infinitum Nihil.
Deuters was asked about an alleged violent incident that is said to have occurred in May 2014 on a private jet traveling from Boston to L.A., when Depp allegedly kicked Heard in the back. Deuters told the court he witnessed no violence on the flight.
Deuters said Depp “was not drunk, but was very low, very quiet.” He remembers Depp “drawing and painting” on the flight. Deuters said Depp had been addicted to opiates, which had a downing effect.
In an earlier witness statement Deuters said Depp “made a playful attempt to tap [Heard] on the bottom with his shoe.” He said he didn’t believe Depp’s foot made contact with Heard.
The trial continues Tuesday.