Standing up for his friend. Comic Doug Stanhope has come forward to defend his pal Johnny Depp, penning a column in support of the actor in the wake of his divorce from Amber Heard and her claims of domestic abuse.
Stanhope, 49, writes in an explosive op-ed for the Wrap, posted on Sunday, May 29, that Depp, 52, told him his wife of 15 months threatened to blackmail him as their marriage fell apart.
On May 21, hours before Heard, 30, claimed that the Pirates of the Caribbean star hit her with a cellphone during a violent argument, Stanhope and another friend named Bingo spent most of the day at the couple's L.A. home.
"We assumed initially that his dour mood was because of his mother's death the day before," the comedian writes. "But he opened up in the most vulnerable of ways that it was not only his mother, but 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."
Heard filed for divorce two days after her alleged fight with Depp, and on Friday, May 27, she was temporarily granted a restraining order against her husband, after submitting photographs that showed her with a bruised face and a deposition in which she claimed she was "extremely afraid" for her safety.
Stanhope, best known for hosting The Man Show on Comedy Central, wrote that after hearing Depp relate the Danish Girl star's supposed plan, he persuaded the actor's closest friends to tell him what they'd avoided sharing with him ever since he met her on the set of The Rum Diary in 2009 — that they had "watched [Heard] manipulate and f‑‑k with him for years."
"He seemed dumbstruck that nobody had ever come clean about this and he thanked everyone for being honest," the comedian continues, but Depp "still pronounced his love for Amber," although he "was presciently aware that she was going to pull off some kind of ruse."
"He hadn't slept in days with anxiety," he writes. "You'd call him a paranoid if you didn't know better. But he knew better and he was right."
The friends left Depp to get some rest, but later that night police were called to his house for a domestic dispute.
Police told Us Weekly on Friday that, despite Heard's claims, they found no evidence for a report when they were called to the home.
"Everything Johnny had told us that she'd been threatening had actually come to be," Stanhope writes. "It blew up in the news, raced through the Internet like a plague and blew up on Twitter.… People are swarming with torches on social media."
He explains that he hesitated coming forward because he didn't want to look like a name-dropper, but believes he had to speak out to defend his friend.
"Abusing women is bulls‑‑t," Stanhope adds. "Johnny doesn’t abuse anyone. And he told me that day ahead of time that she'd pull some kind of s‑‑t like this. 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."
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