Amber Heard Sues Johnny Depp’s Pal Doug Stanhope for Writing ‘Highly Defamatory Article’

Amber Heard filed a defamation lawsuit against Johnny Depp’s pal Doug Stanhope on Friday, June 3, after the comedian wrote a column claiming that the actress is blackmailing her estranged husband.

In court documents obtained by Us Weekly, Heard, 30, calls Stanhope’s statements in his article for TheWrap.com “highly defamatory.”

“Defendants [Stanhope and several unnamed persons] orchestrated a plot to write an article, which was published at TheWrap.com, which falsely accuses plaintiff Amber Heard of ‘blackmail’ and other criminal behavior towards her husband, Johnny Depp, from whom she is seeking a divorce,” the filing begins. “Defendants engaged in this scheme to try to divert public attention away from the true facts regarding Depp which caused their marriage to fail, namely, that Depp repeatedly abused Heard throughout their marriage, at times to the point of her fearing for her life.”

Amber Heard and Doug Stanhope
Heard and Stanhope Gregg DeGuire/WireImage; Jean-Paul Aussenard/WireImage

According to the filing, Heard “repeatedly returned” to Depp over the course of their relationship (the pair began dating in 2012 after meeting on the 2009 set of The Rum Diary) because she was “hoping optimistically” that he would change.

The actress is seeking the maximum possible jury award for the "highly defamatory article," her attorney Charles J. Harder told Us Weekly in a statement. She plans to donate all the proceeds to a domestic violence shelter “to counter the setback made to women by the defendants' defamatory article and related wrongful acts,” he continued.

Johnny Depp and Amber Heard
Depp and Heard attend the premiere of 'The Rum Diary' in London. John Phillips/UK Press via Getty Images

Stanhope’s guest column for TheWrap.com, which ran on Sunday, May 29, defended Depp and detailed how the comedian and other friends had sat back and watched as Heard “manipulated” the actor for years.

“When your friend is in an awful, abusive relationship — man or woman — and you risk weighing in that their counterpart is a demon, you know the odds are they will jump right back into the fire and then dump you from their life for being honest,” he wrote, later adding that Depp had confided in him and his girlfriend, Bingo, that the actress was allegedly planning to leave him.

“Bingo and I were at Johnny’s house for most of that Saturday until just before the alleged assault,” he wrote of the alleged fight that took place on Saturday, May 21, and ended with a call to the police. “We assumed initially that his dour mood was because of his mother’s death the day before. 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.”

On Friday, May 27, Heard appeared in court with bruises on her face after filing papers requesting a temporary restraining order and accusing her estranged husband of physical abuse.

Depp’s lawyer Laura Wasser denied the allegations, asserting that Heard is “attempting to secure a premature financial resolution by alleging abuse.”

A rep for Stanhope had no comment; Us Weekly has reached out to reps for both Heard and Depp.

The estranged couple is due back in court on June 17.

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