Johnny Depp’s personal assistant branded Amber Heard a ‘sociopathic show pony’ and ‘Machiavellian overlord’ who was the real abuser in their relationship, a court heard.
Stephen Deuters, now European president of Mr. Depp’s production company, Infinitum Nihil, was giving evidence on the fifth day of Depp’s libel action against British newspaper The Sun and its executive editor, Dan Wootton, over an article that labelled him a “wife-beater” and referred to “overwhelming evidence” that he attacked Heard, 34, during their relationship, which he denies.
Mr. Deuters who has worked for Depp for 16 years, since June 2004 also alleged that Heard grabbed her girlfriend Tasya van Ree’s arm in 2009 during a screaming row before being booked for misdemeanor domestic violence.
A text from Depp’s former personal assistant Stephen Deuters read out in court referred to a former neighbour of Ms. Heard and her ex-partner hearing ‘screaming fights which were so loud, vivacious and frequent that it was a real problem being their neighbour’.
In one message to a friend, he said: ‘I’ll have you know it’s on public record that Amber Heard has been arrested for domestic violence before.’
The court also heard on Monday that Heard photographed Johnny Depp with ice cream spilled on his legs during a private flight before showing it to him the next day and saying: ‘Look at what you’ve become… look at you, it’s pathetic’.
According to the report, Heard, 34, and her ex-husband Depp, 57, had been on a flight from Boston to Los Angeles in May 2014. The actress accused the Pirates of the Caribbean actor of ‘drinking heavily and consuming a cocktail of drugs.’
In his written witness statement, Mr. Deuters claimed that Heard was the ‘abuser’ in her relationship with the actor, and said he had never seen her with any injuries.
He called Heard a ‘sociopathic show pony, Machiavellian overlord, talentless c***’ after she filed for divorce. He alleged that Heard subjected Depp to ‘years’ of physical and emotional abuse, and said he was ‘extremely surprised and outraged’ when it became public that she had filed for a temporary restraining order.
Addressing the picture of him with ice cream spilled on his legs, Depp claimed he had been working 17-hour days at the time and had already agreed he was going to go to the Bahamas to detox.
He said: ‘I was obviously on the nod and very tired, falling asleep, and the ice cream then spilled all over my leg and then she took that … and showed me the next day and said ‘Look at what you’ve become … look at you, it’s pathetic’.’
Heard claimed that during the flight Depp had been drinking heavily and threw objects at her, pushed a chair at her, slapped her, and kicked her in the back before passing out in the toilet.
Depp claimed Heard ‘began to harangue him’ as he was sketching in a notebook, he then tried to ‘playfully tap her on the bottom with his foot’, at which Heard took ‘great offence’ and ‘continued to verbally berate’ him.
Sasha Wass QC, for NGN, asked: ‘At the time of his relationship with Amber Heard, you were fulfilling the role of his personal assistant? And you were dealing with his needs, professional and personal?’ Mr Deuters replied: ‘Yes.’
Ms. Wass continued: ‘Do you agree that you were more than an employee, you were a friend?’ Mr Deuters said: ‘Yes, I suppose so.’ The barrister then asked if Mr Deuters was ‘regarded almost as family’, to which he said he was.
Ms. Wass put it to Mr. Deuters that his ‘loyalty to him (Depp) has been rewarded because you are now the European president of his production company’. The former personal assistant replied: ‘Well, I got promoted to that position, yes.’
The barrister suggested: ‘You are financially dependent on Mr Depp for your income. And you are dependent on the Johnny Depp brand for your future income.’
Mr Deuters agreed that was the case. Ms Wass continued: ‘And if Mr Depp or the brand is damaged professionally, you in turn are damaged financially.’ Mr Deuters said: ‘Yes.’
Ms Wass then asked if ‘one of your duties as personal assistant to Mr Depp over the years has been to assist him in obtaining controlled drugs’.
She added: ‘I am suggesting that you involved yourself in obtaining controlled drugs, illegal drugs, for Mr Depp over the period when you were his personal assistant.’ Mr Deuters replied: ‘No, I didn’t purchase drugs.’
Asked if he had ever been ‘involved in the arrangements’ for obtaining illegal drugs for Depp, Mr Deuters said that he had but it would be a ‘very rare occurrence’.
Ms Wass QC continued: ‘You did so knowing full well, I presume, that the supply or being involved in the supply of controlled drugs is against the law?’ Mr Deuters replied: ‘Yes.’
The barrister added: ‘And you nonetheless did that because your loyalty was to Mr Depp and to make sure he got what he wanted?’ Mr Deuters said: ‘Yes.’
Ms Wass then read a text from Mr Deuters to Depp on an unknown date, in which he said he was ‘chasing … drugs’.
She also read another from Depp to Mr Deuters which read: ‘Must procure many, many more from Joel. Need them immediately, now. It must be acquired and repackaged as vitamin gel packs and put on a fast horse.’
Mr. Deuters denied that the text referred to ‘controlled drugs’, adding: ‘In all likelihood, that would be the marijuana capsules and marijuana candies, which are legal to obtain in Los Angeles, which Mr Depp has a marijuana card for.’
Ms. Wass suggested that ‘Mr Depp was very keen on marijuana as a recreational drug’. Mr Deuters said that he was ‘not for the first eight years I was with him’, but said that by 2013 he was.
The QC added that it was ‘not only marijuana, but he was also very keen on cocaine’. Mr. Deuters said: ‘I don’t know if I would use the word keen.’ He added: ‘I would say occasional usage (of cocaine).’
Mr. Deuters was then shown a picture of Depp, fully clothed, asleep on the floor of his home, which Ms Wass said showed him ‘unconscious or asleep’. The barrister asked: ‘Was this something that was quite a common occurrence?’
Mr. Deuters replied: ‘I wouldn’t say common.’ He added he had ‘witnessed it on a rare occasion, but when I look at that (picture) it’s quite distressing to me’.
Ms. Wass then said: ‘You were involved in passing drugs from Nathan Holmes that Mr Holmes had supplied to Mr Depp and you were ‘that man’ if you like?’
Mr. Deuters said he did not recall a specific incident, but said it was ‘perfectly possible’, adding: ‘I would go and pick up maybe post from the production office… I wouldn’t always be aware of the specifics.’
Ms. Wass said: ‘That was part of your job, illegal but part of your job.’ Mr Deuters replied: ‘I don’t recall… specifically Australia (in 2015) passing on any illegal substances.’
He added: ‘(In) the UK is probably the only time it has happened on a rare occasion.’
Ms Esparza, who owns the company that provided concierge services at the Eastern Columbia building where Mr Depp owned five apartments, also gave evidence by videolink from California on Monday.
She said she saw no visible injuries whatsoever to Ms Heard’s face’ three days after it was claimed that Mr Depp allegedly hit his ex-wife, 34, in the face with her own mobile phone on May 21 2016.
According to Ms Esparza, the first time she saw any marks on Ms Heard’s face that week was on May 27, the day the Aquaman actress appeared in court to obtain a restraining order against Mr Depp, which found very discturbing.
In her statement, she said she ‘saw and interacted with Ms Heard on May 23, May 24 and May 25 with a clear and unmarked face’.
Sasha Wass QC, representing The Sun’s publisher News Group Newspapers, said to Ms Esparza: ‘Isn’t it more accurate to say you saw her earlier in the week and you didn’t notice it?’
Ms Esparza replied: ‘That is not accurate, I saw her very clearly.’
She said she was not on duty on May 21, when Mr Depp is alleged to have arrived at the penthouse ‘drunk and high’ then became ‘enraged’ and threw Ms Heard’s mobile phone at her ‘like someone throwing a baseball’.
Ms Esparza said she saw Ms Heard on May 23 when she was walking through the lobby.
She said in her statement: ‘I looked her right in the face as we said hello and I saw no visible injuries whatsoever to Ms Heard’s face.’
Ms Esparza said she had ‘another encounter with Ms Heard in close proximity’ on May 24 and ‘once again, I did not see any visible injuries to her face’.
She added she saw Ms Heard again the next day and ‘did not see any bruises, cuts, swelling, red marks or any other injuries of any kind to Ms Heard’s face or body’.
Ms Esparza said she next saw Ms Heard on May 27, walking towards her ‘with a sad look on her face’.
The witness said: ‘Now, for the first time that week, she had a red mark underneath her eye.
‘Either later that day or the following morning, I saw media reports that Ms Heard had obtained a restraining order against Mr Depp for domestic abuse stemming from the May 21 alleged incident.
‘After seeing the news reports, Ms Heard’s battered face and domestic abuse allegations, I was disturbed.’
She said she knew ‘Mr Depp left on May 21 and had not yet returned’.
Ms Esparza said she decided to review CCTV footage from the previous few days and ‘that is when I realised with certainty that the story in the media did not add up’.
She said she ‘came across a video that made me even more sceptical of Ms Heard’s allegations’ – footage from May 24 of Ms Heard’s sister Whitney Henriquez apparently throwing ‘a fake punch into the visibly unmarked face of Ms Heard’, before the pair and their friends ‘all threw their heads back in laughter’.
Ms Wass said: ‘I suggest that there was no fake punch in the way that you have described.’
Ms Esparza replied: ‘There was a fake punch.’
More witnesses including Mr. Depp’s former partners Vanessa Paradis and Winona Ryder will give evidence via video link, and the hearing is expected to last for three weeks.