Winona Ryder and Vanessa Paradis say Johnny Depp was 'never violent' in witness statements

May 13, 2020

Johnny Depp's former partners Winona Ryder and Vanessa Paradis have both made statements saying the star was never violent towards them.

Paradis has described the actor as "kind, attentive, generous and non-violent", according to court documents, while Ryder has said she "cannot wrap [her] head around" allegations of abuse against him.

The statements have been made as part of Depp's libel claim against The Sun newspaper.

He is suing the tabloid's publisher, News Group Newspapers (NGN), and executive editor Dan Wootton over an article published in April 2018 that referred to him as a "wife-beater".

The article related to allegations made against the Pirates Of The Caribbean actor by his former wife, actress Amber Heard - which Depp strenuously denies.

In a hearing conducted remotely, lawyers for the 56-year-old said they are seeking to admit evidence from Paradis and Ryder as part of his case, which is due to be tried at the High Court in London in July.

Actress, singer and model Paradis, who has two children with the Hollywood star, said in her witness statement: "I have known Johnny for more than 25 years.

"We've been partners for 14 years and we raised our two children together.

"Through all these years I've known Johnny to be a kind, attentive, generous, and non-violent person and father."

She added: "He was never violent or abusive to me."

David Sherborne, representing Depp, said in court documents that his relationship with Paradis ended in 2012, shortly before he and Ms Heard were together, "and when he is first alleged to have been violent".

Ryder was in a relationship with the star in the 1990s.

In her statement, she said: "I cannot wrap my head around [Heard's] accusations.

"He was never, never violent towards me. He was never, never abusive at all towards me."

Mr Depp's lawyers also said they wish to call evidence from a former personal assistant to Heard, and a mechanic who worked for the couple.

A two-week trial was due to start in London on 25 March, with Depp, Heard and a number of Hollywood figures due to give evidence. However, it was put on hold due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The trial is now set to take place at the Royal Courts of Justice over three weeks from 7 July, with social distancing measures in place.

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Mr Justice Nicol, hearing the case, previously ruled that parts of Heard's evidence, relating to allegations of sexual violence, will be heard in private.

The exact nature of the allegations has not been disclosed to the media or public and remains unknown.

Mr Sherborne says Depp denies that he has ever hit any woman, and that he accuses Heard of being "abusive and physically aggressive" - which she vehemently denies.

Depp has brought separate libel proceedings against Heard in the US, which the court has previously heard are "ongoing".

The pair met on the set of 2011 comedy The Rum Diary and married in Los Angeles in February 2015.

In May 2016, Heard obtained a restraining order against Depp after accusing him of abuse, which he denied.

The couple settled their divorce out of court in 2017, with Heard donating her $7m (£5.5m) settlement to charity.

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