Comedian Doug Stanhope, a friend of embattled star Johnny Depp, claims in an explosive new column that the actor’s wife is blackmailing him with accusations of domestic violence and physical abuse.
In a column for the Wrap, Stanhope wrote that he and other friends of Depp “watched [Amber Heard] manipulate and f—k with” the actor for years, but stayed quiet for fear of upsetting the Pirates of the Caribbean star.
Last week, Heard, 30, appeared in a California court to claim that Depp was verbally and physically abusive toward her for the majority of their 15-month marriage. The Rum Diary actress also alleges that Depp threw a cellphone at her face during a violent altercation last Saturday night — Heard reportedly brought photos of her bruised face to court in an attempt to prove it.
But Stanhope, who has reportedly known Depp for years, wrote in the Wrap that he was at the couple’s apartment earlier that day with his girlfriend Bingo — and that he believes Heard’s claims are “bullsh*t.”
“Bingo and I were at Johnny’s house for most of that Saturday until just before the alleged assault. We assumed initially that his dour mood was because of his mother’s death the day before. But he opened up in the most vulnerable of ways that it was not only his mother, but that Amber was now going to leave him, threatening to lie about him publicly in any and every possible duplicitous way if he didn’t agree to her terms. Blackmail is what I would imagine other people might put it, including the manner in which he is now being vilified.”
“Bingo and I together, and then separately, told him how much we were aware of this manipulative a–hole, how his closest circle had all agreed on this since the day we met and that we all feared that telling him outright might alienate us all,” he added. “Love makes you do funny things.”
Stanhope claims that Depp hadn’t slept for days. So when the actor finally told him he felt like he could sleep, after a number of friends had expressed worry over Heard, they left.
“Everything Johnny had told us that she’d been threatening had actually come to be,” Stanhope wrote of the claims that Heard later made in court. It blew up in the news, raced through the Internet like a plague and blew up on Twitter like it was the McMartin child abuse scandal. People are swarming with torches on social media.”
“Johnny Depp got used, manipulated, set up and made to look like an a**hole,” the comedian concluded the column. “And he saw it coming and didn’t or couldn’t do anything to stop it.”
The comedian’s claim comes as friends, former romantic partners and family members of the actor have come forward in recent days to cast doubt on Heard’s claims. A representative for Depp has vehemently denied the abuse allegations.
The actor’s former partners, Vanessa Paradis and Lori Anne Allison, have both said in separate statements that Depp never physically abused them during the course of their relationships. Allison told TMZ that actor had never so much as raised his voice against her during the course of their three-year marriage.
Depp’s daughter Lily-Rose has also come to her father’s defense, posting a photo on Instagram with the caption: “My dad is the sweetest most loving person I know, he’s been nothing but a wonderful father to my little brother and I, and everyone who knows him would say the same.”
Police arriving at the couple’s residence on Saturday reportedly found no evidence of injuries consistent with the abuse that Heard accused Depp of. The actress declined to file a police report.
Heard was granted a temporary restraining order against Depp on Friday, but a judge rejected her request for $50,000 per month in spousal support. The judge also refused to order Depp into mandatory anger management.
Heard filed for divorce from the actor last Monday.
Depp is currently overseas to play concert dates with his rock band Hollywood Vampires. His latest film, Alice Through the Looking Glass, bombed at the domestic box office this weekend, though industry analysts say the controversy surrounding his divorce was not a contributing factor.
Follow Daniel Nussbaum on Twitter: @dznussbaum