14 April 2022

Friend of Johnny Depp says legal dispute with Amber Heard ‘wrecked’ actor’s life

14 April 2022

An old friend of Johnny Depp has tearfully described how the long-running legal dispute with Amber Heard had unfairly “wrecked” the actor’s life.

Isaac Baruch, an artist who has known Mr Depp for 40 years, said Ms Heard’s “fake narrative” had gone “out the door and around the world”, as he gave evidence at the US trial.

The actor, 58, is suing his former partner for libel over a 2018 article she wrote in The Washington Post in which she discussed her experiences of domestic abuse.

Mr Depp’s lawyers say the article falsely implies Ms Heard, 35, was physically and sexually abused by him when they were married.

Isaac Baruch speaks in the courtroom at the Fairfax County Circuit Courthouse in Virginia (Evelyn Hockstein/Pool Photo via AP) (AP)

Mr Baruch lived in an apartment owned by the actor at the Eastern Columbia Building in Los Angeles between 2013 and 2016.

Giving evidence on Wednesday, he said he was “tired” of the drawn-out proceedings and that Ms Heard should “take her responsibility, heal, and move on”.

Asked whether he was angry at the Aquaman star and her allegations, Mr Baruch said: “Yeah, that kind of got me confused and frustrated and angry, upset.

“It’s (been) six years… am I angry? What I am is tired and I want this all to end.

“So many people have been affected by this malicious lie that she started and she created and it’s gone out the door and around the world.

“I’m not angry at anybody. I want the best for (Ms Heard), I want her to take her responsibility, heal, and move on.”

Becoming visibly upset, he added: “For Johnny, his family has been completely wrecked by all of this stuff and it’s not fair.

“It’s not right what she did and what happened for so many people to get affected from this, it’s insane how this happened.”

Amber Heard at the Fairfax County Circuit Courthouse (Evelyn Hockstein/Pool Photo via AP) (AP)

Lawyers for Ms Heard say that, although her article is protected by the first amendment of the US constitution, there is also evidence that Mr Depp abused her physically on multiple occasions.

Mr Baruch was asked about his encounters with Ms Heard in the days after an incident on May 21 2016, in which she claimed Mr Depp “got violent” with her.

He said the following day on May 22, which happened to be his birthday, he saw Ms Heard again in a well-lit place but saw no signs of injuries, despite “inspecting” her face.

“I’ve seen her (with) no make-up… with make-up, glammed out… for three-and-a-half years I’ve seen her in different forms,” he said.

“She puts her head out, and I’m looking… I inspect her face… I’m looking at the whole thing and I don’t see anything… I don’t see a cut, a bruise, swelling, redness.

“It’s just Amber’s face.”

Mr Depp’s lawyers say the allegations of abuse are false and the actress had been “preparing to give the performance of a lifetime” during the proceedings.

Mr Baruch also said that several weeks after his encounters with Ms Heard in May, he had seen CCTV video footage from the apartment building which showed the actress and her sister Whitney, who appeared to throw a “fake punch” at her.

Judge Penney Azcarate speaks in the courtroom (Evelyn Hockstein/Pool Photo via AP) (AP)

Asked about Ms Heard’s reaction to the punch, he said “she was laughing”.

Ms Heard’s Washington Post article was titled “I spoke up against sexual violence – and faced our culture’s wrath.”

The case is being brought in Virginia rather than in California, where the actors live, because The Washington Post’s online editions are published through servers located in Fairfax County.

Other high-profile celebrities are listed as witnesses in the trial, including actors James Franco and Paul Bettany, and Tesla founder Elon Musk.

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