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Ex-wife's accounts of abuse were elaborate hoax, actor Depp tells UK court

Johnny Depp told London’s High Court on Wednesday that allegations he had physically abused his ex-wife Amber Heard were a hoax built up over years.

This 2014 file photo shows actor Johnny Depp and actress Amber Heard attending the US premiere of '3 Days To Kill' in Hollywood, California. Picture: AFP

LONDON - Hollywood star Johnny Depp told London’s High Court on Wednesday that allegations he had physically abused his ex-wife Amber Heard were a hoax built up over years during their relationship as an ‘insurance policy’.

Giving evidence on the second day of his libel trial against Britain’s _Sun _newspaper, which described him as a “wife beater”, Depp was quizzed about an unsent email composed by Heard in June 2013, three years before she publicly accused him of abuse.

In the email, read to the court by Sasha Wass, the Sun’s lawyer, Heard said Depp had hurt her physically and emotionally and that she did not know if she was dealing with him or “the monster” - his alter ego brought on by anger, jealousy and fuelled by alcohol and drugs.

“It’s like Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde,” the email said, adding how friends and assistants had to deal with the actor after he passed out in his own vomit and soiled himself with no recollection later of his actions.

“Friends keep smiling at your face and then rolling their eyes,” the email added, saying assistants had been forced to break down doors to rescue the actor asleep on a toilet.

Depp characterised the allegations as a hoax.

“It appears to me that Miss Heard was building a dossier that appears to be an insurance policy for later,” he said of the email.

Asked if the allegations were something she had plotted for three years, he said: “By the evidence that I have seen.”

The first alleged incident of violence took place at Heard’s home in March 2013 when he had “fallen off the wagon” and started drinking again after months of sobriety, and it was alleged he had struck her.