Johnny Depp has laid bare his wild past – including explosive claims about his extensive drug use and nights out with fellow Hollywood party boys – during a jaw-dropping day one in his libel trial in London.

The Pirates Of The Caribbean star is suing UK paper The Sun – which is owned by News Corporation, the publisher of – over a 2018 article which described him as a "wife-beater". Depp is denying that he ever hit ex-wife Amber Heard.

During the first day of the court case, Depp admitted that his substance abuse began when he was just a teenager and tried one of his mother's pills and that he'd tried "every kind of drug known to man" by the age of 14.

"My mum would tell me to go and get her nerve pills and I took one and I found what to me was the only way to numb the pain," he said.


He added that his "literary heroes" had influenced his interest in drugs.

"I have always been interested in the counterculture and many literary heroes of mine, including (Geoffrey) Chaucer, who was an opium addict and Thomas De Quincey, author of Confessions Of An English Opium Eater, were into this subject."

The actor added that Hunter S Thompson – a close friend of Depp's prior to his 2005 death – was his "idol".

Quoting the late author, he told the court: "I hate to advocate drugs, alcohol, violence, or insanity to anyone, but they've always worked for me."

Depp told the court about his drug abuse as a teenager. Photo / AP
Depp told the court about his drug abuse as a teenager. Photo / AP

Depp was also grilled for details about a night in 1995 on which he admitted he'd caused $10,000 damage to a New York hotel room after trashing it in front of then-girlfriend Kate Moss.

He claimed the incident came about after a "particularly bad couple of days … the apex of an unpleasant time" but denied that he had anger issues.

"I asked you a little while earlier, I asked you if you thought you had problems with anger management?" lawyer Sasha Wass, representing The Sun, asked.

"I don't. I was angry, doesn't mean I have anger problems. I was expressing my anger," Depp responded.


When the lawyer suggested he expressed his anger "through destructive behaviour" Depp admitted that he had "at times in my life".

He also revealed what had sparked the rage-fuelled incident.

"I had a friend who had been a friend for a very long time and he had, for lack of a better word, screwed me over, if you will," Depp said.

Elsewhere during the trial, the star spoke about the night in 1993 in which River Phoenix died of a heroin overdose at the Viper Room nightclub Depp owned in West Hollywood.

"He passed away on the sidewalk just inside my club, yes," Depp said in response to the subject being raised by Wass.

"From what I understand River began to feel unpleasant, he began to sweat and he went out of the door and once out of the door he collapsed."


"You're surrounded I suggest by people who will never really say no to you," Wass replied.

'They will do anything you ask including supplying drugs to you."

The court heard that Amber Heard's allegations were
The court heard that Amber Heard's allegations were "lies". Photo / AP

However, the actor denied the suggestion, telling her: "No. There are people who work for me and work with me."

Depp strongly denied ever attacking Heard, instead accusing her of being a "calculating, narcissistic sociopath" who was in fact violent towards him.

"She is a calculating, diagnosed borderline personality; she is sociopathic; she is a narcissist; and she is completely emotionally dishonest," he told the court.

"I am now convinced that she came into my life to take from me anything worth taking, and then destroy what remained of it."


However, the Aquaman actress has painted him as an abuser who turned physical when he was drunk or high on drugs.

Depp has also launched a separate $76 million (US$50m) lawsuit against his ex-wife over a 2018 Washington Post op-ed she wrote, in which she claimed to have been a victim of domestic violence.