The libel case brought by Johnny Depp against a UK media outlet has a New Zealand born journalist at its centre.

Depp is suing executive editor of the Sun Dan Wootton for a 2018 article which referred to the Hollywood actor as a "wife-beater". The star denies these claims, which were in reference to Depp's marriage with Amber Heard.

The case is expected to run for three weeks, the Guardian reports.

Wootton was born in Wellington in 1983 and attended Naenae College and Victoria University of Wellington.

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His career in journalism began at the Dominion Post, and he was also a reporter on TVNZ's Good Morning programme. He jetted off to the UK aged 21 to further pursue his broadcasting and journalism career.

He served as a TV editor, and later was the show-business editor for the now-defunct News of the World, and also worked for the Daily Mail. The 37-year-old joined the Sun in 2013.

Megxit

Wootton is also credited with breaking the story that Prince Harry and Meghan Markle were leaving their royal duties and wanted to relocate overseas.

The journalist broke the world exclusive with his front page in the Sun, which was confirmed by the royals a day later.

In the article, he declared "the split was imminent".

In January Wootton told the Herald the pair were seeking a "Hollywood approach to life" rather than a "royal approach". His claim matches up with the royal couple's new life in Los Angeles.

Johnny Depp case

Depp is suing British tabloid the Sun over an April 2018 story headlined "Potty - How can JK Rowling be 'genuinely happy' casting wife-beater Johnny Depp in the new Fantastic Beasts film?" The newspaper's lawyers plan to use Heard's allegations of abuse by Depp to defend the "wife beater" claim, AP reports.

Johnny Depp (right) wearing a protective mask arrives at the Royal Courts of Justice, in London. Photo / AP
Johnny Depp (right) wearing a protective mask arrives at the Royal Courts of Justice, in London. Photo / AP

The Pirates of the Caribbean star strongly denies Heard's claims that he assaulted her during their tempestuous marriage.

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"These sick claims are totally untrue," Depp said in a written witness statement, adding that Heard's allegations hurt his career and had "been a constant issue in my casting".

- Additional reporting AP