Johnny Depp has filed a US$50 million defamation lawsuit against his ex-wife Amber Heard after she accused him of domestic violence.

The 55-year-old actor described Heard's 2016 abuse allegations as "an elaborate hoax", according to the lawsuit obtained by The Blast.

The Blast, Deadline and People reported Depp filed the suit against Heard over an opinion column she published, but didn't say when or where or in what court the suit was filed.

The lawsuit references an article Heard, 32, wrote for the Washington Post in December last year in which she said she had received death threats and lost out on work after accusing Depp of domestic abuse.

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"The op-ed's clear implication that Mr Depp is a domestic abuser is categorically and demonstrably false," Depp's lawsuit states.

"Mr Depp never abused Ms Heard. Her allegations against him were false when they were made in 2016.

"They were part of an elaborate hoax to generate positive publicity for Ms Heard and advance her career."

The lawsuit goes on to say that the allegations made by Heard against Depp were refuted by "two separate responding police officers, a litany of neutral third-party witnesses, and 87 newly obtained surveillance camera videos".

"Ms Heard is not a victim of domestic abuse, she is a perpetrator," the lawsuit states.

Heard's lawyer, Eric George, told USA TODAY he had not yet seen the lawsuit, only the media reports about it.

"This frivolous action is just the latest of Johnny Depp's repeated efforts to silence Amber Heard," George said in a statement to USA TODAY. "She will not be silenced.

"Mr. Depp's actions prove he is unable to accept the truth of his ongoing abusive behavior. But while he appears hell-bent on achieving self destruction, we will prevail in defeating this groundless lawsuit and ending the continued vile harassment of my client by Mr. Depp and his legal team."

Heard filed for divorce from Depp in May 2016 stating that he had been 'verbally and physically' abusive towards her. Images emerged at the time, above, showing her with bruises. Photo / Supplied
Heard filed for divorce from Depp in May 2016 stating that he had been 'verbally and physically' abusive towards her. Images emerged at the time, above, showing her with bruises. Photo / Supplied

The Aquaman actress filed for divorce from the Pirates of the Caribbean star in May 2016 stating that he had been "verbally and physically" abusive towards her.

Their divorce was finalised in January 2017, with Heard later donating a portion of her $7 million divorce settlement to the Children's Hospital Los Angeles.

They were married for 15 months before she filed for divorce.

h2>If you're in danger now:

• Phone the police on 111 or ask neighbours of friends to ring for you.

• Run outside and head for where there are other people.

• Scream for help so that your neighbours can hear you.

• Take the children with you.

• Don't stop to get anything else.

• If you are being abused, remember it's not your fault. Violence is never okay

Where to go for help or more information:

• Women's Refuge: Free national crisis line operates 24/7 - 0800 refuge or 0800 733 843 www.womensrefuge.org.nz

• Shine, free national helpline 9am- 11pm every day - 0508 744 633 www.2shine.org.nz

• It's Not Ok: Information line 0800 456 450 www.areyouok.org.nz

• Shakti: Providing specialist cultural services for African, Asian and middle eastern women and their children. Crisis line 24/7 0800 742 584

• Ministry of Justice: www.justice.govt.nz/family-justice/domestic-violence

• National Network of Stopping Violence: www.nnsvs.org.nz

• White Ribbon: Aiming to eliminate men's violence towards women, focusing this year on sexual violence and the issue of consent. www.whiteribbon.org.nz