Amber Heard was the “abuser” in her relationship with Johnny Depp, his former personal assistant has claimed.
Stephen Deuters told London’s High Court that Ms Heard, 34, subjected Mr Depp, 57, to “years of abuse”.
Mr Depp is suing the publisher of the Sun newspaper over an article that referred to him as a “wife beater” – but the Sun maintains it was accurate.
He denies 14 domestic violence allegations which News Group Newspapers is relying on in its defence.
Mr Deuters, now European president of Mr Depp’s production company, Infinitum Nihil, said he had worked for the US actor since 2004.
In his written witness statement, he said he saw Ms Heard “on many occasions” during the period Mr Depp is alleged to have been abusive.
“At no point did Ms Heard ever mention any physical abuse and I never saw evidence of any injury to Ms Heard,” he claimed.
Mr Deuters said he was “extremely surprised and outraged” when it became public that Ms Heard had filed for a temporary restraining order in 2016.
“I knew that Ms Heard was the abuser in the relationship and I was appalled that she would behave in this way,” he said.
Mr Deuters said he was with the couple on a flight from Boston to Los Angeles in May 2014, when an incident is alleged to have taken place.
He claimed Ms Heard was speaking “in an increasingly aggressive manner” to Mr Depp, who “did not engage with the abuse he was receiving”.
Mr Deuters said he “could not hear the specifics” because he had headphones on, but “could see her gesticulating”.
He said the actor “made a playful attempt to tap her on the bottom”, adding that he did not believe that Mr Depp made contact with her.
“Ms Heard took great offence at what was clearly a harmless gesture and increased her abuse of Mr Depp in an extremely unpleasant manner,” he said.
Mr Deuters said that he and Mr Depp’s former private security guard decided to intervene and Mr Depp spent the rest of the flight in the bathroom.
“This was a common theme on the multiple times when Mr Depp was abused by Ms Heard – he would take himself away from the situation, often to a bathroom, and lock himself out of harm’s way,” he said.
Mr Deuters said that the day after the flight, Mr Depp asked him to “mollify” Ms Heard and “to say whatever was needed to try and placate her”.
“Given Ms Heard’s extremely volatile nature, I thought it best to try to engage with her on her own terms and simply apologise for what she was alleging had happened; hence my use of the word ‘kicked’, which is the word which Ms Heard herself had used,” he said.
“As I have made clear, Mr Depp had not kicked Ms Heard.”
Mr Deuters also spoke about the couple’s trip to Australia in March 2015, during which it is alleged Mr Depp assaulted Ms Heard and “completely destroyed” a house in a drink- and drug-fuelled rage, which the actor denies.
Mr Depp alleges his finger was severed by Ms Heard throwing a vodka bottle at him, which she denies.
Mr Deuters claimed that, the day after the alleged incident, Mr Depp told him and two others “he had sustained his injury when Ms Heard had thrown a bottle at him which smashed on his hand”.
Also on Monday, the fifth day of evidence in the libel action, Mr Depp said Ms Heard’s allegations “mirrored” what he claims was her abuse towards him.
He also accused Ms Heard of throwing a “haymaker” punch at him during a row after her 30th birthday party, hours after he had learned during a “bad” business meeting that he had lost $650m (£514m).
And Mr Depp told the High Court he did not intend to headbutt Ms Heard during an alleged heated row at their Los Angeles penthouse.
He said he grabbed his ex-wife to “lock her arms” in an attempt to stop her attacking him and that he had not been violent to her.
‘No visible injuries’
The court also heard from the front desk supervisor at Mr Depp’s Los Angeles penthouse home, who said she saw marks on Ms Heard’s body after Elon Musk, the founder of Tesla, had apparently spent the night there.
Trinity Esperza said she saw “no visible injuries” to Ms Heard’s face in the three days after Mr Depp was alleged to have hit her on the face with her mobile phone on 21 May, 2016.
She told the court she had seen a red mark on her face on 27 May, the day Ms Heard appeared in court to obtain a restraining order against Mr Depp. The following week, another resident in the building found a gift card she said fell out of a large plant sent to the building for Ms Heard, reading: “I had a wonderful weekend with you. E.”
She also said she saw a number of marks on Ms Heard’s body in June or July of that year, shortly after seeing Mr Musk leave the building one morning.
The case arose out of the publication of an article on the Sun’s website headlined: “Gone Potty: How can JK Rowling be ‘genuinely happy’ casting wife beater Johnny Depp in the new Fantastic Beasts film?”.
The Sun’s original article related to allegations made by the actress, who was married to the film star from 2015 to 2017.
Witnesses including Mr Depp’s former partners Vanessa Paradis and Winona Ryder are expected to give evidence via video link, and the hearing is expected to last for three weeks.