Amber Heard 'suffered through years of physical and psychological abuse' by Johnny Depp, lawyers say

By Emily Yahr

A day after Johnny Depp's friend wrote an online column slamming his estranged wife Amber Heard as a "manipulative (expletive)" intent on spreading lies about Depp, the actress' lawyers have released a statement Tuesday saying she "suffered through years of physical and psychological abuse" from the actor, and blasted the "vicious false and malicious allegations that have infected the media."

Heard, 30, who filed for divorce from Depp last week, accused the 52-year-old actor of repeated domestic violence. The filing was apparently fueled by an alleged incident on May 21 at Depp's home, in which the Los Angeles police were called to a domestic dispute. Heard declined to press charges, and according to the Associated Press, the cops determined "a crime did not occur."

Less than a week later, Heard filed a restraining order against Depp, appearing at the Los Angeles courthouse with a visible bruise and said in court documents that Depp threw a cell phone at her face.

A judge granted her request, ordering Depp to stay 100 yards away until the next court hearing.

The ugly fallout from the public split was evident over Memorial Day weekend as several Hollywood figures stepped up to defend Depp, including the column in TheWrap from Depp's friend, comedian Doug Stanhope. Titled "Johnny Depp Is Being Blackmailed by Amber Heard - Here's How I Know," Stanhope wrote he was at Depp's house on the night of the alleged violence. Hours before the cops were called, he wrote, Depp said Heard was planning to leave him and tell lies about him if she didn't get what she wanted.

On Tuesday, Heard's lawyers accused Depp's team of "viciously attacking Amber's character" and released a long statement clarifying why Heard initially didn't give a statement to the police, which has been a point of evidence for Depp defenders.

"Amber did not provide a statement to the LAPD in an attempt to protect her privacy and Johnny's career," Heard's attorneys Samantha Spector and Joseph Koenig said in a statement. "In domestic violence cases, it is not unusual for the perpetrator's playbook to include miscasting the victim as the villain."

The attorneys reiterate that Heard wanted to keep everything private, and it was a third party who called the police to Depp's apartment on May 21. They say the cops indeed saw "physical injuries" to Heard's face. And, the lawyers add, Heard purposefully did not serve Depp with divorce papers until after his premiere of "Alice Through the Looking Glass" two days later, and filed the restraining order when he was already out of the country.

"In reality, Amber acted no differently than many victims of domestic violence, who think first of the harm that might come to the abuser, rather than the abuse they have already suffered," they wrote, adding that Heard wants to give Los Angeles police an opportunity to conduct "an accurate and complete investigation" into what happened that night.

"If that occurs, and the truth is revealed, there is no doubt that Amber's claims will be substantiated beyond any doubt, and hopefully Johnny will get the help that he so desperately needs," the attorneys said. "Amber is simply a victim of domestic violence, and none of her actions are motivated by money. Amber is a brave and financially independent woman who is showing the courage of her convictions by doing the right thing against Johnny's relentless army of lawyers and surrogates."

A representative for Depp did not respond to a request for comment. According to CNN, Depp's attorney wrote in a court filing that "Amber is attempting to secure a premature financial resolution by alleging abuse" and said the restraining order was because of "negative media attention" when she filed for divorce. Last week, Depp's representative said, "Given the brevity of this marriage and the most recent and tragic loss of his mother, Johnny will not respond to any of the salacious, false stories, gossip, misinformation and lies about his personal life."

Meanwhile, Stanhope was one in a series of people to publicly defend Depp, including actor Paul Bettany, who tweeted that he has known Depp for years through several relationships and called him "the sweetest, kindest, gentlest man that I've ever known." When approached by TMZ's cameras, Mickey Rourke said Depp "doesn't seem like a very violent man to me." Actress Laurie Holden received backlash when she tweeted support for Depp's new movie and said "his personal life is just that. Personal. No one knows the real truth so just zip it."

Depp's family has also spoken out: His ex-partner of 14 years, Vanessa Paradis, told TMZ "I believe in all my heart that these recent allegations being made are outrageous" and "in all the years I have known Johnny, he has never been physically abusive with me." On Instagram, Depp's teenage daughter called her father "the sweetest most loving person I know" and posted a portion of a People magazine article in which police said there was no evidence of a crime at Depp's home on May 21.

Heard's restraining order against Depp will remain until the next court hearing on June 17. Heard and Depp, who met while filming the 2011 movie "The Rum Diary," were officially married in February 2015 in Los Angeles, followed by a small ceremony on his private island in the Bahamas.

- Washington Post

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