BISBEE, Ariz. (CN) – Johnny Depp’s estranged wife Amber Heard sued comedian Doug Stanhope, claiming he defamed her by accusing her of blackmail and lying about the abuse she suffered at the hands of her famous husband.
Heard sued Stanhope on June 3 in Cochise County Court. They are the only parties to the lawsuit.
Heard and Depp were married in February 2015. In her 10-page lawsuit, she says that Depp is “an alcoholic and drug addict.”
“Depp has hit and kicked Heard on numerous occasions, has thrown objects at her, at one point nearly suffocated her to the point where she feared for her life,” the lawsuit states. “Depp is an alcoholic and drug addict, and these violent episodes occurred mostly after Depp had relapsed into a cycle of substance abuse. His drug and alcohol abuse has increased dramatically in recent years, as has his violent behavior.”
Heard says she has documented the violence, “including numerous photographs of bruises and injuries caused by Depp’s abuse.”
The last straw came in May, when Depp threw a phone at her and grabbed her by the hair, prompting her to file for divorce, Heard says.
“After 15 months of marriage and numerous instances of abuse, matters came to a head when Heard was consoling Depp after his mother died,” the complaint states. “In his altered state, Depp was incensed by a delusion, blew up at Heard and flew into a rage, threw her phone at her then violently grabbed Heard by the hair while assaulting her, and verbally and physically threatened neighbors and witnesses who came into the house to help.”
Stanhope then defamed Heard in a May 29 column for the website TheWrap.com, under the headline: “Johnny Depp Is Being Blackmailed by Amber Heard – Here’s How I Know,” according to the complaint.
Stanhope, a libertarian comedian and self-described anarchist, lives in Bisbee. Heard cites 11 statements from the column that she calls defamatory, including: “Today, a friend of mine was pilloried in the press for domestic violence. Coupled with a picture of his wife with a bruise, he was murdered on social media. I watched it happen and I didn’t say a f-ing word. Even though I knew it was bulls-.”
“We’d watched her manipulate and f- with him for years.”
“When your friend is in an awful, abusive relationship – man or woman – and you risk weighing in that their counterpart [referring to Heard] is a demon, you know the odds are they will jump right back into the fire and then dump you from their life for being honest.” (Brackets in complaint.)
“Johnny doesn’t abuse anyone,” Stanhope wrote. “And he told me that day ahead of time that she’d pull some kind of s- like this. Johnny Depp got used, manipulated, setup and made to look like an a-hole.”
Heard says Stanhope wrote his column to try to destroy her name and career.
“Defendants are engaged in a classic case of ‘attacking the victim,’ in an effort to discredit Heard, destroy her good name and reputation, and severely harm her hard-earned entertainment career, on top of the campaign of violence that Depp has inflicted upon her for years,” the lawsuit states.
Heard says TheWrap rejected her request for a retraction. The article was not accessible on the website Tuesday morning.
Heard concludes: “Defendants’ many defamatory statements in the defamatory article were made as part of a calculated publicity campaign to smear Heard for having the temerity to file for divorce and seek a court order to protect her physical safety. Defendants knew the statements about Heard in the defamatory article were completely untrue and fabricated, and they did not care, because their only concern was helping Depp by trashing the reputation of his wife, who loved Depp, even though she had been repeatedly physically and verbally abused by him.”
Heard starred alongside Depp in “The Rum Diary.” She has credits in more than 40 movies and television shows. Neither she nor Stanhope could be reached for comment Monday.
Heard seeks punitive damages for defamation, emotional distress and interference with economic relations.
She is represented by D. Christopher Russell of Sierra Vista, and Charles Harder with Harder Mirell & Abrams in Beverly Hills.
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