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Johnny Depp hopes 'to clear his reputation' at libel trial

Johnny Depp arrives at the High Court Tuesday in London for his libel trial against The Sun, which ran an article in 2018 that called him a wife beater. Photo by Hugo Philpott/UPI
Johnny Depp arrives at the High Court Tuesday in London for his libel trial against The Sun, which ran an article in 2018 that called him a "wife beater." Photo by Hugo Philpott/UPI | License Photo

July 7 (UPI) -- Johnny Depp hopes "to clear his reputation" during his libel trial against British tabloid The Sun.

The 57-year-old actor arrived at the Royal Courts of Justice's High Court Tuesday in London on the first day of his claim against the publication. His ex-wife, Amber Heard, arrived separately but also attended the hearing.

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Depp is suing the The Sun's publisher, News Group Newspapers, and its executive editor, Dan Wootton, over a 2018 story that called him a "wife beater" and alleged he was abusive to Heard, his then-wife.

Depp and Heard married in February 2015 and divorced in 2017. The pair both now accuse each other of abuse.

In a written opening note, Depp's lawyer, David Sherborne, denied Depp is a "wife beater" and said Heard was "the abuser" in the marriage.

"Ms. Heard has invented these stories of serious violence. He is not and never has been a wife-beater," Sherborne said of Depp.

"Indeed, he says that it was Ms. Heard who was the one who started physical fights, who punched or hit him (and there was little he could really do to stop this); she was the abuse, not him," he added.

Sherborne said Depp came to court to "clear his reputation." He said the actor's libel action against The Sun is "now a case about money" but about "vindication."

The trial is expected to run for three weeks and take place across five different courts in the Royal Courts of Justice due to social distancing measures amid the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

Depp's former partners Vanessa Paradis and Winona Ryder are expected to give evidence as witnesses via video. Paradis and Ryder have both previously said Depp was "never violent" toward them.

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