Amber Heard filed for divorce from Johnny Depp nearly a week ago, and the surrounding media frenzy has only escalated in the aftermath. The public was shocked when photos of a bruised Heard surfaced along with allegations that Depp physically abused her during their marriage. Heard then secured an emergency restraining order against the actor, and her friends — including those who say they witnessed violence between the couple — rallied around her. A neighbor claims that she stepped in front of Heard while Depp shouted obscenities on the same evening (Saturday, May 21) that Heard claims a final round of violence. Heard also alleges a pattern of drug and alcohol abuse that she says fuels her estranged husband’s ways.
Meanwhile, members of Depp’s circle made their thoughts known. Some, including Paul Bettany, have fended off criticism for their support, but two of Depp’s exes (including the mother of his two children) have also defended the troubled actor. Now, comedian Doug Stanhope has penned a lengthy essay (for The Wrap), in which he accuses Heard of “blackmailing” Depp. The piece, which arrives with a “Here’s How I Know” subtitle, claims firsthand knowledge of Depp’s whereabouts on the night in question. In fact, Stanhope says he was with Depp until just before the alleged incident occurred. These two men are indeed friends, and a quick googling reveals a handful of photos of them together, both on film sets and out on the town.
Stanhope says Depp opened up to friends on that fateful night. His mother had died the day before, but he was very “dour” about Heard, who was about to leave him. Stanhope claims he watched Heard “manipulate and f*ck with” his friend for years, and he says Heard was emotionally abusive to her husband. The comedian says he (along with other friends of Depp) felt guilty for not expressing doubts earlier through fear of being shut out. And Stanhope says this happened:
[H]e opened up in the most vulnerable of ways … 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.
Johnny Depp got used, manipulated, set up and made to look like an a–hole. And he saw it coming and didn’t or couldn’t do anything to stop it.
Stanhope insists that Depp wouldn’t abuse anyone. He says he left his friend’s home (thinking the actor would go to sleep) and later heard the terrible news. Heard’s reps have not responded to the essay, nor has Depp’s official camp, which has only spoken twice since the divorce filing. The actor’s rep first said Depp would not respond to any stories about his marriage, and he hoped for a quick resolution. Once the abuse claims surfaced, his lawyer (Laura Wasser) accused Heard of being motivated by financial gain while alleging abuse. Presumably, Stanhope went rogue with this essay, but all around, this is a sad and troubling situation.
Here are a few tweets by and about Stanhope (including one that refers to his new book with a foreword by Depp) right after Heard filed for divorce.