Johnny Depp and Amber Heard’s bodyguard has revealed what really happened during the former couple’s ill-fated trip to Australia, claiming the Hollywood heavyweight was never aggressive towards his ex-wife.
Rick Wood was head of security at the Gold Coast mansion where the couple stayed in 2015 while the actor was filming Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales.
Their stay in Australia has been rehashed during court proceedings in London, where Depp is suing The Sun newspaper over a 2018 story labelling him a ‘wife beater’ during his five-year relationship with Heard.
Sordid details about how his marriage to Heard descended into misery in Australia have been laid bare during evidence in the blockbuster libel case.
But Mr Wood claims he never thought 57-year-old Depp was capable of the abuse he has been accused of.
Rick Wood was the head security guard at the Queensland mansion where the couple stayed in 2015 while the actor was filming a Pirates of the Caribbean movie
A photo of Depp’s finger in the aftermath of an incident which he claims was caused by Heard throwing a glass vodka bottle at him – but which she claims occurred when Depp cut off his own fingertip in a ‘fit of rage’
‘He’s great. He’s awesome, he’s laid back… Great guy,’ the security guard told 9News.
‘I couldn’t see it in him. In my industry, you know who’s a wife beater and who’s not.’
In fact, Mr Wood said Depp displayed great patience with his wife, who he described as a ‘button pusher’.
‘I hate to say it, but she stirs the pot,’ Mr Wood revealed.
He recalled Heard pretending to pack her bags and insisting that she would leave the property when the couple got into arguments.
‘She made up this big drama that she was leaving… Taxis would turn up and we’d have to turn them away,’ Mr Wood said.
‘And then we’d pick up the suitcases and they were empty. Nothing in them at all. It was all for drama.’
Depp would stay calm during these encounters, Mr Wood said, and would eventually coax Heard back into the home.
Mr Wood said he never saw Depp taking drugs or drinking copious amounts of alcohol during his time in Australia.
Depp is taken to hospital after his finger was allegedly severed when Heard threw a glass vodka bottle at him during an incident in Queensland in March 2015. The star actor also claims his wife put out a lit cigarette on his cheek after an argument over a post-nuptial deal
Johnny Depp and Amber Heard arrive at Brisbane Airport in 2015 for what would turn out to be a volatile trip that saw them accused of smuggling their dogs Pistol and Boo into the country. Their journey to Australia came just weeks after they were secretly married on a private island in the Bahamas
Heard was spotted leaving a California court in 2016 with facial bruising (above) after she was granted a temporary restraining order against Depp just days after claiming he attacked her
Instead, Mr Wood recalled moments when Depp would stay back late to take photographs with young fans, never once breaking character from his iconic role as Jack Sparrow.
The trip Down Under, which Heard described as a ‘three-day hostage situation’ amid allegations of flying vodka bottles, claims of infidelity and financial threats appears to be a flashpoint in the couple’s descent into marital misery.
When the pair first flew into the Gold Coast in March 2015 they were among the most sought-after celebrities on the planet.
Just weeks earlier they had tied the knot in secret on a private island in the Bahamas.
Eager for privacy away from the Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales set, they rented the waterfront mansion of Australian MotoGP legend Mick Doohan.
The 18-hectare resort-style home with an infinity pool, tennis court, elevators, dirt bikes and go karts has become a must-see for visiting VIPs.
Most recently it was home to Tom Hanks and Rita Wilson during their lockdown after they both contracted COVID-19.
Depp was one of the world’s biggest stars when he and Heard arrived on the Gold Coast in 2015 to film the fifth installment of the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise. He is pictured on set signing autographs for thrilled fans
Amber Heard leaving the High Court in London after a hearing. She was wearing a red polka dot face covering due to Covid restrictions
In a domestic abuse case from 2016, Heard claimed that Depp cut his own finger, mixed his blood with ink and wrote on a mirror accusing her of having an affair with ‘Billy Bob Thornton’
While the pair had long been rumoured to have a volatile relationship, it was not until a picture emerged of Depp lying on a stretcher inside a Queensland hospital almost two years later that the scale of the incidents on their whirlwind trip became clear.
The actor was rumoured to have broken his right wrist go-karting on a private track at Doohan’s property while movie buffs speculated the injury was sustained on set.
The incident caused filming of the $250million Jerry Bruckheimer epic, in which Johnny reprises his iconic role as Captain Jack Sparrow, to be delayed.
In giving evidence to the High Court in London, Depp described the period of time in Australia in March 2015 when he says Heard severed his finger – an injury which she says came about after he smashed a telephone into a wall.
He claims Heard heard him talking to his lawyers about a potential post-nuptial agreement.
After he poured himself a glass of vodka she picked up the bottle and threw it at him, before hurling another one, he told the court.
‘Amber severed my finger with the second of two thrown vodka bottles at me in the early afternoon of Sunday March 8. Amber claims this was on the second day of a “three-day hostage situation”,’ he testified.
Johnny Depp in his own words as he takes the stand in libel trial
Depp on his drug-fuelled childhood:
‘My experience of alcohol and stimulants began at a very young age’
‘I remember my mother used to ask me to get her nerve pills. Around the age of 11 it dawned on me that these pills calm your nerves and I brought them home and took one. That began what was the only way to numb the pain’
‘Every kind of drug known by man I’d tried’ by age 14
Asked whether he had taken drugs with Marilyn Manson: ‘Yes. Twice, maybe’
Depp on his heroes:
‘Hunter S. Thompson was an idol of mine. I believe he has a very famous quote that says I don’t condone the use of drugs or alcohol to anyone but they’ve always worked for me’
‘Keith Richards has been a role model for me. He’s one of my favourite guitarists and a great role model’
‘I have always been interested in the counter-culture and many literary heroes of mine, including Chaucer, who was an opium addict, and Thomas De Quincey, author of ‘Confessions of an English Opium Eater’, were into this subject’
Depp on his ‘anger problems’
‘I don’t [have anger problems]. I was angry, doesn’t mean I have anger problems’
After being asked about a hotel room he trashed while girlfriend Kate Moss slept: ‘Rather than assaulting a human being I assaulted a couch’
Asked about a clip of him smashing cupboard doors around Heard: ‘I was violent with some cupboards’
Depp on his alcohol addiction
Asked whether it was ‘nonsense’ that he spent more than $30,000 a month on wine while with Ms Paradis because it was ‘more than that’: ‘It was’
‘I would definitely say that towards the end of my relationship with Ms Paradis, the mother of my children, it was a very painful time… I was more than likely trying to numb myself’
Depp on getting sober:
In an email to Elton John in 2012: ‘My dearest Elton, 100 f****** days of clarity for an old reprobate t**t like me. No one would ever have believed it possible but for a select few, most importantly you
‘I would have been swallowed up by the monster were it not for you’
Depp on his own fame:
‘It’s a very confusing thing because you become a product and your name no longer sounds the way it did when you were growing up… When I speak my own name it sounds foreign to me’
‘When you are trying to figure out what it’s all about, when success and notoriety and all these things come to you and you don’t quite understand why you have them and you don’t feel very worthy, it’s very confusing’
Depp on his violent upbringing:
‘The best way that I can explain it was that when I was going to have a baby back in 1998 [with partner Vanessa Paradis], one of my promises was that I would raise my child in the exact opposite manner that I was raised’
‘It was not a particularly stable or safe home life, there was a lot of unpleasantness in the house’
‘I’m well aware that there’s been a lot of pain the way I was raised’.
‘Amber claims that during these three days, I subjected her to a variety of what sounds like torture and other abuse. These sick claims are completely untrue.’
Mr Wood said he never heard any whispers of the alleged incident during his tenure protecting the couple.
Depp said Heard did not sustain any injuries at all that weekend, while he sustained ‘grievous’ injuries including the severed finger ‘and a cigarette stubbed out on my cheek’.
He said that at some point after Heard threw the bottle that cut off his finger tip, she put a lit cigarette out on his cheek.
Court documents state that Depp tried to avoid Heard by taking the spiral staircase down into the bar.
‘(But) she followed him, screaming at him abusively,’ the court heard.
‘The severity of these injuries brought about the personal realisation of the severity of the abuse that Ms Heard had inflicted upon me for so long. I couldn’t believe that we had come to this. I wondered what more she could do to me.’
However, Depp’s version of events inside Doohan’s mansion differ greatly to Heard’s.
Heard alleged in a domestic abuse case against her ex-husband in 2016 that Depp had cut his own fingertip off while ‘drunk and high on ecstasy’.
Depp filed a defamation case against Heard in 2018, calling her accounts of abuse ‘fabricated’ and ‘categorically’ false. They are seen together in February 2016
Johnny Depp leaving the High Court after a dramatic day of giving evidence in a libel case against his ex-wife, Amber Heard
Heard’s lawyers submitted this photo to Los Angeles Superior County Court in 2016 and claimed Depp had caused the injuries. Speaking at the High Court, Depp denied ever being violent towards Heard and said any claims he hit her were ‘lies’
Depp had been speaking with Heard on the phone while she was filming The Danish Girl in London when they began to fight and he threw the phone at some glass, causing the injury.
The court papers in the 2016 case claimed that Depp then took his bloody finger and dipped it in blue paint before using the mixture of the two liquids to write ‘STARRING Billy Bob’ and ‘Easy Amber’ on the wall.
‘Billy Bob’ is Billy Bob Thornton, claims Heard, who had starred in the 2008 film The Informers with the actress before the pair also starred in London Fields.
Whichever way the extraordinary row unfolded, it did not stop the couple returning to Queensland together just a few weeks later.
This time they were joined by a pair of companions – Pistol and Boo, their pet dogs.
Depp and Heard snuck the Yorkshire Terriers into Australia on board a private jet and did not declare them to customs officials.
In fact, authorities were completely unaware the dogs were in the country until their local groomers posted a photo to Facebook.
This outraged then-deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce who threatened to destroy the dogs if they were not taken out of the country.
During their visits to Australia in 2015, the couple stayed in this sprawling mansion owned by former MotoGP champion Mick Doohan
Depp seen in an image drawn by a court artist as he was giving evidence from a witness box at the High Court in London
The incidents that allegedly occurred during Depp and Heard’s time in Australia are set to form a major part of The Sun’s defence against the Hollywood star.
Depp told the court on the first day of his blockbuster libel case that the allegations were ‘sick and completely untrue’.
But the most sensational revelation from Depp was that he decided to divorce Heard after faeces were left in their bed.
In a written statement, the actor said Heard or ‘possibly one of her friends’ was responsible for the incident, but claimed she dismissed it as ‘just a harmless prank’, and he said it was the final straw in their deteriorating marriage.
Today, he took to the stand to deny ever hitting Heard, as a series of newspaper stories alleged, and said it was ‘inconceivable’ that he would ever hit a woman, citing his Southern upbringing and saying he considers chivalry ‘very important’.
He said: ‘It is a strong and central part of my moral code that I would never strike a woman, under any circumstances, at any time. I find it simply inconceivable and it would never happen.’
While denying attacking Heard he also launched a blistering verbal attack on her, accusing her of being a ‘calculating, narcissistic sociopath’ who married him to further her career.
Depp (left) and Heard (right) arrive at the High Court in London. Depp, 57, is suing The Sun newspaper for labeling him a ‘wife beater’ in a 2018 article
Amber Heard walked arm in arm with her sister, Whitney, (left) and Australian lawyer, Jennifer Robinson, (right) who also represents Julian Assange, as she arrived at the High Court for the start of a three-week libel trial. In the white coat is her US attorney, Elaine Bredehoft
How the star-studded relationship between Amber Heard and Johnny Depp fell apart amid claims of violence and abuse
Johnny Depp’s high-profile libel claim against the publisher of The Sun is over allegations he was violent towards his ex-wife Amber Heard during their relationship – claims the Hollywood star vehemently denies.
The pair met in around 2011 on the set of The Rum Diary, a film adaption of a novel by Depp’s friend Hunter S Thompson, before they started living together in around 2012.
Here is a timeline of the key events in their relationship and the bitter legal battle that has ensued.
– March 8: Depp allegedly tries to set fire to a painting by Heard’s ex-partner Tasya van Ree before he is said to have attacked her for the first time, which the actor denies.
– February 3: The couple marry in a private ceremony at their home in Los Angeles.
– March 3-5: The key incident in The Sun’s defence, the three-day trip to Australia has been described by Heard as a ‘three-day hostage situation’ in which Depp was allegedly physically and verbally abusive while drinking heavily and taking drugs.
Depp denies the allegations and says Heard lost her temper after a conversation about a post-nuptial agreement.
– April 21: The couple arrive in Australia with their pet Yorkshire Terriers Boo and Pistol, which they did not declare to customs officials in Queensland. Heard was charged later with bringing the dogs into the country illegally – the charges were later dropped and the pair later recorded a bizarre video apologising for bringing their dogs to Australia.
– Around May 22: The pair separated, Heard claims after an incident at their LA penthouse in which Depp allegedly became very angry and destroyed property with a bottle of champagne.
– May 23: Heard files petition for the dissolution of their marriage.
– May 27: Heard applies for a temporary domestic violence restraining order, which prevents Depp from contacting her.
– August 16: The estranged couple reach an agreement concerning the dissolution of their marriage. Heard later donates her seven million US dollar (£5.5 million) settlement to charity.
– January 13: The couple are formally divorced.
– April 27: The column by The Sun’s executive editor Dan Wootton is published online at around 10pm. Under the headline ‘Gone Potty – How can JK Rowling be ‘genuinely happy’ casting wife beater Johnny Depp in the new Fantastic Beasts film?’, Mr Wootton asked if the Harry Potter author had been ‘blinded by a personal friendship’ with Depp.
The piece also quoted two alleged victims of disgraced film producer Harvey Weinstein, which Depp says was included to ‘finish his career’.
– April 28: The following day, the online article is amended to remove the words ‘wife beater’ from the headline, which was not included in the print edition.
– June 1: Depp files claim his libel against News Group Newspapers. His written claim, filed a few weeks later, claims the article ’caused serious harm to (his) personal and professional reputation’ and also caused him ‘significant distress and embarrassment’.
– December 18: The Washington Post publishes an op-ed by Heard which did not mention Depp by name, but said that the actress ‘became a public figure representing domestic abuse, and I felt the full force of our culture’s wrath for women who speak out’.
– February 27: Depp fights off a bid to halt his English legal action after The Sun applies for his claim to be ‘stayed unless and until’ the star confirmed in writing that he would not sue Heard if she participated in a forthcoming trial.
– March 1: Depp files a libel case against Heard in Virginia, blaming the Washington Post piece for Depp being dropped from the Pirates Of The Caribbean franchise and claiming that Heard was the one who had been abusive towards him.
– February 26: Johnny Depp attends the High Court in London for a preliminary hearing ahead of a trial which was due to begin the following month. The star heard NGN’s barrister Adam Wolanski read out texts sent by Depp, including one from November 2013 to actor Paul Bettany, in which Depp wrote: ‘Let’s burn Amber.’
He also wrote: ‘Let’s drown her before we burn her!!! I will f*** her burnt corpse afterwards to make sure she is dead.’
– March 20: The trial, which was due to begin on March 23, is postponed due to the global coronavirus crisis. NGN’s lawyers had claimed Depp wanted to delay the trial ‘because he’s a coward and because he knows he’s going to lose’, which was denied by Depp’s legal team.
– April 8: Mr Justice Nicol rules that parts of Heard’s evidence, relating to allegations of sexual violence, will be heard in private.
– May 13: The court gives permission for Depp’s former partners Vanessa Paradis and Winona Ryder – who both say Depp was ‘never violent’ to them – to give evidence. Heard’s former personal assistant Kate James is also permitted to give evidence.
– June 25: NGN asks the court to throw out Depp’s claim just two weeks before trial over the star’s failure to disclose text messages of him apparently trying to buy drugs in Australia in 2015. The publisher’s lawyers say Depp deliberately withheld text messages they say show him trying to obtain ‘MDMA and other narcotics’.
– June 29: Mr Justice Nicol rules that Depp did breach a court order by not disclosing documents from separate libel proceedings against Heard in the US – which include the text messages. But Depp’s lawyers argue that it would be ‘wholly disproportionate’ to strike out the actor’s libel claim.
– July 2: The High Court rules Depp’s claim can go ahead after granting his application for ‘relief from sanctions’ for the breach of a court order.
– July 4: The trial judge, Mr Justice Nicol refuses an application by Depp’s lawyers to exclude Heard from court until she gives evidence.
– July 7: The three-week trial finally begins at the Royal Courts of Justice in London, with witnesses set to include Depp’s former partners Vanessa Paradis and Winona Ryder as well as several of Heard’s friends who say they were present when Depp was abusive.