Johnny Depp’s ex-partner Winona Ryder has said it is “impossible to believe” allegations from his former wife Amber Heard that he was violent.
“I truly and honestly only know him as a really good man,” said Ms Ryder.
Mr Depp, 57, is suing the publisher of the Sun over an article that referred to him as a “wife beater” – but the newspaper maintains it was accurate.
He denies 14 domestic violence allegations which News Group Newspapers is relying on for its defence.
Ms Ryder and Vanessa Paradis, also a former partner of Mr Depp, had been due to give evidence at London’s High Court via video link.
But on Thursday the actor’s barrister David Sherborne told the court Mr Depp’s legal team had decided there was no need to hear from them. Their witness statements were released to the media, following a successful application by the PA news agency.
Ms Ryder, who was in a relationship with Mr Depp for four years, said: “I understand that it is very important that I speak from my own experience, as I obviously was not there during his marriage to Amber, but, from my experience, which was so wildly different, I was absolutely shocked, confused and upset when I heard the accusations against him.
“The idea that he is an incredibly violent person is the farthest thing from the Johnny I knew and loved.
“I cannot wrap my head around these accusations. He was never, never violent towards me. He was never, never abusive at all towards me. He has never been violent or abusive towards anybody I have seen.
“I truly and honestly only know him as a really good man – an incredibly loving, extremely caring guy who was so very protective of me and the people that he loves, and I felt so very, very safe with him.
“I do not want to call anyone a liar but from my experience of Johnny, it is impossible to believe that such horrific allegations are true. I find it extremely upsetting, knowing him as I do.”
‘Humble and respectful’
In her witness statement, musician, actress and model Ms Paradis said she had known Mr Depp for more than 25 years – including 14 years when they were partners and raised their two children together.
“Through all these years I’ve known Johnny to be a kind, attentive, generous and non-violent person and father,” she said.
“On movie sets the actors, directors and entire crews adore him because he is humble and respectful to everyone, as well as being one of the best actors we’ve seen.”
Ms Paradis’ statement said the allegations from Ms Heard were “nothing like the true Johnny I have known, and from my personal experience of many years, I can say he was never violent or abusive to me”.
“I have seen that these outrageous statements have been really distressing, and also caused damage to his career because unfortunately people have gone on believing these false facts,” she added.
Earlier, Mr Depp’s bodyguard claimed it was a “very common occurrence” for the actor to call his security team “to take him away from Ms Heard, due to her behaviour” and “he would then stay somewhere else”.
Sean Bett, who is Mr Depp’s head of security, has worked for the Hollywood star for nine years.
In a written statement, Mr Bett said he saw the couple “very regularly” during their relationship, and “never saw any cuts, bruises or other injuries on Ms Heard”.
“On the contrary, throughout the course of Mr Depp and Ms Heard’s relationship, Ms Heard was verbally and physically abusive towards Mr Depp,” he claimed.
He added: “I would describe it as a recurring cycle that Ms Heard would abuse Mr Depp, who would then remove himself from the situation.”
The case centres on an article published on the Sun’s website in April 2018. It was headlined: “Gone Potty: How can JK Rowling be ‘genuinely happy’ casting wife beater Johnny Depp in the new Fantastic Beasts film?”.
The article related to allegations made by Ms Heard, who was married to the film star from 2015 to 2017. The hearing is expected to last for three weeks.