Johnny Depp, facing abuse allegations, gets backing from family, friends

Johnny Depp (right) and his wife Amber Heard arriving for the premiere of Black Mass, at the 72nd annual Venice International Film Festival.
Johnny Depp (right) and his wife Amber Heard arriving for the premiere of Black Mass, at the 72nd annual Venice International Film Festival.PHOTO: EPA

WASHINGTON (AFP) - American actor Johnny Depp, facing abuse allegations from his estranged wife Amber Heard, toured with his band in Europe on Monday (May 30) as family and friends rushed to his defence.

In Stockholm, hundreds of fans lined up all day at the Grona Lund amusement park to see Depp perform with his band, the Hollywood Vampires.

Boycott appeals were launched on social media after Heard, who filed for divorce in Los Angeles last week and appeared in court with a black eye, accused the Oscar-nominated star of assaulting her.

But the calls appear not to have been heeded by many.


Lily-Rose Melody Depp poses on the red carpet as she arrives for the screening of the film La danseuse (The Dancer) at the 69th Cannes Film Festival. PHOTO: REUTERS

Grona Lund "is opposed to all kinds of violence - especially domestic, but he has not been proven guilty so we cannot hold him responsible for a crime he has not been found guilty of", said spokesman Annika Troselius.

Heard, 30, submitted pictures to the court showing a bruise on her face that she claims was inflicted during a fight on May 21 and said she feared the 52-year-old Pirates of the Caribbean star might harm her.

A judge subsequently imposed a temporary restraining order on Depp, ordering him to stay away from Heard.

But now some close to Depp - including daughter Lily-Rose and former longterm partner Vanessa Paradis - are speaking out in support of the actor.

Lily-Rose Depp posted a photo on Instagram apparently showing herself as a baby, with Depp holding her hands and helping her walk.

"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," the 17-year-old said in the caption.

Celebrity news website TMZ posted a photo of a handwritten letter that it said it obtained from Paradis, in which she describes her former partner as "a sensitive, loving and loved person".

"I believe with all my heart that these recent allegations being made are outrageous, in all the years I have known Johnny, he has never been physically abusive with me and this looks nothing like the man I lived with for 14 wonderful years," the note says.

The letter dated Friday is signed by Paradis, who is also the mother of Depp's son Jack.

 

Others coming to Depp's defence include famed actor, director and Monty Python alum Terry Gilliam.

 

"Like many of Johnny Depp's friends I'm discovering that Amber is a better actress than I thought," he tweeted, immediately provoking a backlash from Twitter users.

Gilliam commented as he retweeted a column by stand-up comedian Doug Stanhope, who referred to Depp as a friend and wrote that he has known him for a few years.

In the column, published on Sunday by entertainment website The Wrap, Stanhope wrote that he and his girlfriend were at Depp's house on May 21 just before the alleged assault.

The actor told them "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".

Also weighing in was Lori Anne Allison, who was married to Depp in the 1980s, celebrity news website TMZ reported.

Allison reportedly told the site that she doesn't believe Heard's allegations and referred to Depp as a "soft person".

In a sworn statement, Heard - who is seeking spousal support - said Depp was verbally and physically abusive to her during the entirety of their relationship. The two have been married for nearly 16 months.

She added that Depp has a "totally acknowledged public and private history of drug and alcohol abuse" and that she was scared of his temper.

TMZ published a picture showing Heard with bruising around her right eye, reporting that the actress says it was taken shortly after Depp hurled his iPhone at her face on the evening of May 21.

After reviewing dozens of pages of evidence, Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Carl Moor ruled that Depp was banned from coming within 91m of Heard. The order will be reviewed on June 17.

The Hollywood Vampires performed in Germany on Sunday and were due to play in Denmark on Tuesday, followed by the Romanian capital Bucharest on June 6. A series of US concerts are scheduled for July.