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At libel trial, Depp blasts Amber Heard's 'sick' abuse claim

Depp blasts Amber in court

Johnny Depp said Tuesday that his ex-wife Amber Heard had made “sick” claims of abuse and falsely branded him a monster, as the actor testified in a U.K. libel case that hinges on who was the aggressor in the celebrity couple’s violent, toxic relationship

Depp is suing British tabloid The Sun over an April 2018 story headlined “Potty - How can JK Rowling be ‘genuinely happy’ casting wife beater Johnny Depp in the new Fantastic Beasts film?”

The “Pirates of the Caribbean” star strongly denies Heard's claims that he assaulted her during their tempestuous marriage, and sued The Sun's publisher, News Group Newspapers, and its executive editor, Dan Wootton.

“These sick claims are totally untrue,” Depp said in a written witness statement, adding that Heard's allegations hurt his career and had “been a constant issue in my casting.”

A three-week trial over his libel claims opened Tuesday. The trial is one of the first to be held in person since Britain began to lift its coronavirus lockdown.

Depp entered the witness box of the wood-paneled courtroom wearing a dark suit and tie, and began by taking the court oath and giving his full name: John Christopher Depp II.

He told the court that Heard had “said to the world that she was in fear of her life from me, and I had been this horrible monster, if you will. Which was not the case.”

Depp, 57, and Heard, 34, met on the set of the 2011 comedy “The Rum Diary” and married in Los Angeles in February 2015. They divorced in 2017, and now bitterly accuse one another of abuse.

Depp and Heard arrived by separate entrances at the neo-Gothic court building. Both wore face coverings over their noses and mouths as they arrived. Proceedings have been spread over several courtrooms to allow for social distancing.

While Heard isn't on trial, the case is also a showdown between the former spouses, who accuse each other of being controlling, violent and untruthful. It is set to put the two performers’ complex private lives under a microscope.

The Sun's defence relies on Heard's allegations of 14 incidents of violence by Depp between 2013 and 2016, in locations including Los Angeles, Australia, Japan, the Bahamas and a chartered jet. He denies them all and says Heard, an actress and model, attacked him with items including a drink can and a cigarette. He also claims that on one occasion Heard or one of her friends defecated on his bed.

In written witness statements, Depp said that in Australia in 2015 Heard severed the tip of his finger by hurling a vodka bottle at him. A photo of the bloody digit was included with his witness statement.

Depp claimed that on another occasion, Heard repeatedly punched him in the face on a private jet, forcing him to spend the flight locked in the plane’s bathroom.

“Rage-filled violent incidents on planes were common with Amber,” he said in the written statement.

Describing one incident in which Heard claims he hit her, Depp said the opposite was true.

“As things tended to do, (it) escalated and got physical, ending with a bit of assault. Ms. Heard struck me,” he said.

He painted himself as a peacemaker who tried to remove himself from conflicts "before things got out of hand.”

In a written statement, Depp alleged that Heard was “a calculating, diagnosed borderline personality; she is sociopathic; she is a narcissist; and she is completely emotionally dishonest."

“I am now convinced that she came into my life to take from me anything worth taking, and then destroy what remained of it,” Depp said.

Heard alleges that Depp was prone to drink- and drug-fueled violent rages.

Under cross-examination by The Sun's lawyer, Sasha Wass, Depp acknowledged taking myriad drugs over the years, including marijuana, cocaine, LSD, ecstasy, magic mushrooms and prescription painkillers.

He said his drug use began when he was an 11-year-old child with “not a particularly stable or secure or safe home life.” He said it was “the only way that I found to numb the pain.”

Wass also tried to depict Depp as someone with an anger management problem, bringing up an 1989 arrest for assault and a later incident in which he damaged a New York hotel room.

“I was angry, but that doesn’t mean I have an anger problem,” Depp said.

Wass played the court a video clip recorded by Heard that shows Depp kicking kitchen cupboards and swearing before pouring red wine from a large bottle.

While saying he “wasn't particularly proud of myself” over the video, Depp denied that it showed he became a “monster” when he drank and took drugs,

“it’s not Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde,” he said.

Heard is due to give evidence later in the trial. Depp's lawyer, David Sherborne, said Heard had recently asked that one allegation be heard in private “because of its supposedly horrific nature.”

Witnesses for Depp are scheduled to include his former partners Vanessa Paradis and Winona Ryder both of whom have submitted statements supporting him.

Depp is also suing Heard in the United States for $50 million for allegedly defaming him in a Washington Post article about domestic abuse. That case is due to be heard next year.

Sherborne, said in an opening statement that the actor had brought the case against The Sun to “clear his reputation.”

“This is not a case about money,” he said. “It is about vindication.”


Hoping for Friends reunion

David Schwimmer is holding out hope that the Friends reunion will be able to be filmed in front of a live audience.

The 53-year-old actor will be reuniting with former castmates Jennifer Aniston, Courteney Cox, Lisa Kudrow, Matthew Perry and Matt LeBlanc for the HBO Max special, the filming of which was rescheduled due to the coronavirus pandemic.

And while many show casts have enjoyed reunions via video chat during lockdown, David told Entertainment Tonight that it's important it takes place with an audience.

"I can tell you that we are hoping to shoot (the reunion) in August, in mid-August, but honestly, we will do it when it's safe," he said. "There has always been a hope that a component of that reunion show will have a live audience, which makes the whole thing really tricky. We are obviously not going to risk anyone's health by doing this."

As such, David added he has "no idea" when the reunion will actually be able to take place.

Amanda's touching farewell

Amanda Kloots sang for her late husband Nick Cordero one last time in a heartbreaking Instagram Live video on Monday, following his death the day before.

The Broadway star passed away on Sunday at the age of 41, after losing his battle against COVID-19. Fitness trainer Amanda, who shares one-year-old son Elvis with Nick, had been going live on social media at 3 p.m. daily to sing his song Live Your Life alongside fans to cheer on her husband's recovery, and took to her Instagram Live for one last rendition of the tune on Monday.

"3 p.m. will forever remind me of Nick now," she wrote on her Instagram Story, before telling fans in a video: "Thank you so much for the past 95 days singing with me. We played this song a lot in Nick's room with him and we were singing to him. I kept telling him that he had the whole world singing his song, knowing who he was and what kind of an amazing person he was."

Amanda was clearly emotional during the song, wiping tears away from beneath her sunglasses.

Despite her grief, she is still doing her best to stay as positive as possible, and shared a video titled The Silver Linings that her sister had made her, showing the time they'd spent together while Nick was in hospital.

"How do you get through the hardest time in your life? Family," she wrote. I have always been lucky to have a family that loves to be together and to support each other. I'm even luckier to have Nicks family and extended family that are the same.

"This video captures these last 95 days. The love, the exhaustion, the bonds, the smiles, the song, the exercise, the hard work, the care, support and most of all love. They did all of this for Nick, Elvis and I- selfless time from their lives to be with us. In times of trauma, look for the silver linings. Spend time with family. Smile through the tears. Have faith when things seem impossible. Love one another."

Meanwhile, a GoFundMe page set up for Nick in April has almost doubled its original $480,000 target, with the total standing at $925,425 as WENN went to press.

"We are heartbroken to update this account to a memorial," a post on the page read on Monday. "RIP Nick 7/5/20." Money raised will now go to Amanda to help cover Nick's medical bills and other financial hardships she and Elvis may suffer as a result of the Tony-nominated star's death.


Garth Brooks in quarantine

Country music superstar Garth Brooks has postponed plans to stage a livestreamed acoustic concert today amid concerns a member of his team had been exposed to the coronavirus.

The Friends in Low Places singer and his wife, fellow artist Trisha Yearwood, had planned to take requests from fans for their latest virtual gig, but on Monday, representatives for the couple announced the show had been put on hold.

In a statement, they assured devotees the pair was feeling "fine" and explained the delay was simply "out of an abundance of caution" as someone in their camp had "possibly been exposed to the COVID-19 virus."

"To be smart about this, they are all quarantining for two weeks and thank everyone for their concern," the spokespeople add.

The musicians have been keeping fans in isolation entertained with various virtual appearances since the outbreak began in March, and Brooks also recently staged a drive-in concert that was beamed to outdoor cinemas across America.

Kanye's 'West day ever'

Kanye West filed to trademark the slogan 'West Day Ever' last month ahead of announcing his presidential bid over the weekend.

The Stronger star marked America's Independence Day holiday late on Saturday by confirming his plans to challenge Donald Trump for the White House in November.

"We must now realize the promise of America by trusting God, unifying our vision and building our future. I am running for president of the United States," West tweeted, adding an American flag emoji and the hashtag, "#2020VISION."

Now TMZ is reporting the rapper sought out new branding efforts by filing paperwork on June 26 to ensure he can use 'West Day Ever' on various products, including clothing and shoes. The date coincides with a massive 10-year deal Kanye signed with bosses at the GAP apparel company to launch the line Yeezy Gap.


The phrase has not officially been announced as part of his political aspirations. If West does actually make it onto the ticket, he will face off with Trump and presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Biden.

Shia LaBeouf in 'brownface'

Shia LaBeouf has been accused of using "brownface" after the trailer for his new movie seemingly showed him portraying a man of Mexican descent.

The criticism was sparked when the trailer for the David Ayer directed film The Tax Collector was released, showing a heavily tattooed Shia playing a gangster working for a crime lord and speaking with an accent. And some movie fans took to social media to voice concerns he may have been cast to play a Latino character when he is not of Latino descent.

A Mexican TV writer and producer tweeted: "#brownfacing 2020 style," before adding: "Tell all the kids how you're Hollywood's top cholo auteur, and your pretzel reasons Shia Lebeouf is sort of kind of playing a weird movie cholo in a cop movie and how all of this isn't really."

However, Ayer hit back at the claims and insisted Shia is playing a white man, although the character is heavily influenced by Latin culture.

When another critic directly tweeted the filmmaker to ask: "Is Shia LaBeouf playing a Latino character in Tax Collector? If so, why didn't you cast a Latin actor?"

The director, who helmed Suicide Squad, responded: "Really important answer. Shia is playing a white boy who grew up in the hood. This is a Jewish dude playing a white character. Also the only white dude in the movie.

"I grew up hood and I'm a white boy. Chicano culture is inclusive. I've seen whiteys, Asians, Blacks, Filipinos all putting in work for the hood. It's part of street culture."

He also clarified, the film isn't a "cop movie," and "Shia is playing something very specific. Not brown face."

The once-troubled actor, who starred in Ayer's film Fury, has turned his career around in recent years, and garnered critical acclaim, particularly for his movie Honey Boy, in which he starred as a fictionalized version of his own father.

Pointer death a heart attack

Bonnie Pointer died from going into cardiac arrest, her death certificate has revealed.

The Pointer Sisters star, who founded the family group with younger sister June in 1969, died last month and, in papers obtained by TMZ, it's been confirmed she died of a heart attack.

The document also indicates that the singer had been suffering from liver disease for about a decade prior to her passing, as well as cirrhosis of the liver.

Bonnie left the group in the mid-1970s to pursue a successful solo career with hits like Heaven Must Have Sent You. She released three albums as a Motown Records artist and found love at the label, marrying executive Jeffrey Bowen.

The singer is the second Pointer sister to pass away - June Pointer lost her battle with cancer in 2006.

Country music and southern rock legend Charlie Daniels dies at 83

Country music star passes

Country music and southern rock legend Charlie Daniels has died at the age of 83 years old.

The announcement was made by Daniels publicist, Absolute Publicity. Daniels passed away Monday morning due to a hemorrhagic stroke at Summit Medical Center in Hermitage, Tennessee.

Funeral arrangements are expected to be announced in the coming days.

Daniels and the Charlie Daniels Band are perhaps best known for the hit, "The Devil Went Down to Georgia."

Daniels is also a member of the Country Music Hall of Fame.

Will Sam be the next 007?

Outlander star Sam Heughan has emerged as British fans' top choice to be the next James Bond in a new poll.

The 40-year-old, who auditioned for the role before Daniel Craig was first cast in 2006's Casino Royale, has topped a poll of 80,000 people from U.K. website RadioTimes.com.

Sam attracted almost 30 per cent of the vote, well ahead of his nearest rival, Tom Hardy, whose 14 per cent landed him second place. Henry Cavill was third on 11 per cent, with Idris Elba fourth on 10 per cent, and Tom Hiddleston fifth with five per cent.

In 2019, when asked specifically if he'd like to play the role, Sam told STV, "I think any actor who says they wouldn't would be lying."

The Scottish star has also said he thinks it's time for a Scot to play 007 again, following the film franchise's original star Sean Connery.

The total list of 20 possible contenders was itself compiled from suggestions made by Radio Times readers on Twitter - and included two female contenders, Gillian Anderson and Keeley Hawes.

Gillian was the top rated woman, but failed to make a top 10 that also includes James Norton, Cillian Murphy, Aidan Turner, Michael Fassbender, and Richard Madden.

J.K. Rowling death threats

J.K. Rowling has received "death and rape threats" since coming under fire for her comments about transgender rights.

The British author hit headlines last month after questioning the idea that "sex isn't real" in a series of tweets, which LGBTQ+ activists condemned as transphobic - comments she later explained but refused to retract in a lengthy blog post.

On Sunday, the Harry Potter writer took to Twitter once after supporting a tweet from a woman called Sophie, which read: "Hormone prescriptions are the new antidepressants. Yes they are sometimes necessary and lifesaving, but they should be a last resort - not the first option. Pure laziness for those who would rather medicate than put in the time and effort to heal people's minds."

Following the tweet, and Rowling's support of it, someone called Tristan slammed her on Twitter as he insisted her description of mental health medication as "lazy", is "beyond offensive" and "actively harmful to millions."

Rowling then responded in a string of tweets, many of which were backed up by articles and posts she shared alongside them, as she wrote: "I've ignored fake tweets attributed to me and RTed widely. I've ignored porn tweeted at children on a thread about their art. I've ignored death and rape threats. I'm not going to ignore this. When you lie about what I believe about mental health medication and when you misrepresent the views of a trans woman for whom I feel nothing but admiration and solidarity, you cross a line."

"Many health professionals are concerned that young people struggling with their mental health are being shunted towards hormones and surgery when this may not be in their best interests," she continued.

"Many, myself included, believe we are watching a new kind of conversion therapy for young gay people, who are being set on a lifelong path of medicalization that may result in the loss of their fertility and/or full sexual function."

Concluding her tweets, Rowling wrote: "Sophie is a trans woman and a true feminist ally. She was making the point that anti-depressants were over-prescribed to teenagers in the past, with serious consequences. The long-term health risks of cross-sex hormones have been now been tracked over a lengthy period. These side-effects are often minimised or denied by trans activists. Carl Henegan (sic), professor of evidence-based medicine at Oxford University, has described the off-label use of puberty blockers on under-18s as an 'unregulated live experiment on children.' None of that may trouble you or disturb your belief in your own righteousness. But if so, I can't pretend I care much about your bad opinion of me."

Trump GF tests positive

Donald Trump Jr.'s girlfriend Kimberly Guilfoyle has tested positive for coronavirus.

According to the New York Times, the former Fox News host's test was positive on Friday, and campaign aide Sergio Gor said in a statement that, "after testing positive, Kimberly was immediately isolated to limit any exposure."

"She's doing well, and will be retested to ensure the diagnosis is correct since she's asymptomatic but as a precaution will cancel all upcoming events," they added.

While Kimberly, 51, tested positive, Donald Jr.'s test came out negative - however the President's 42-year-old son is self isolating as a precautionary measure "and is canceling all public events."

Bieber urges turn to God

Justin Bieber has thanked Jesus Christ for making him feel "loved, chosen, and forgiven" and urged fans to turn to their faith amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

On Friday, the 26-year-old pop star took to Instagram to share a message, opening up on his faith and publicly thanking Jesus Christ for allowing him to feel "loved, chosen, and forgiven" despite years of past indiscretions.

"Thank you Jesus for my life. Thank you for your forgiveness! Thank you for showing me I am enough," the Intentions star began his post, alongside a selfie.

"Thank you that I no longer have to carry shame but can walk with my chest up and head held high knowing I am loved, chosen, and forgiven," he continued, before encouraging fans to turn to their faith to help them through difficult times.

"If you struggle with your past give it to Jesus! He isn't burdened by it," Justin shared. "He loves you and is honored to know all of little details good and bad in your life! He isn't angry with you, he wants the best for you,' concluded the Baby singer in his caption."

Justin then reposted his selfie onto his Instagram Story and wrote: "Jesus loves you (whether) you believe it or not."

The Yummy hitmaker and his model wife Hailey are both avid churchgoers, and have spoken openly about their faith and commitment to God on numerous occasions.

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