Depp’s lifelong love of drugs laid bare
As Johnny Depp concludes five days of harrowing testimony over his libel case against a UK publisher, his lifelong love affair with drugs has been laid bare.
Depp, a Hollywood star and household name, is suing The Sun, its publisher News Group Newspapers and its executive editor for libel after they called him a "wife beater" in 2018 following the dissolution of his marriage to actor Amber Heard.
Depp, 57, has denied that he was ever physically abusive towards Heard, calling her claims an "elaborate hoax". In a written statement to the court, Depp said his ex-wife was "calculating, diagnosed borderline personality; she is sociopathic; she is a narcissist; and she is completely emotionally dishonest".
But while arguing his case, the actor has made a number of admissions about his lifelong drug and alcohol use during his testimony this week.
Depp said his fame has "forced (him) to live the life of a fugitive" with zero anonymity. He said since the age of 12, he's taken all manner of substances, including marijuana, cocaine, ecstasy, LSD, prescription painkillers, opiates and magic mushrooms. His drug use, he said, was a way to escape family problems, emotional pain, and fame.
Depp had his first film role when he appeared as a murder victim in the horror blockbuster A Nightmare on Elm Street at age 20.
Director Wes Craven chose Depp after his daughter recommended him, saying he was talented. He went on to land a leading role in the TV series 21 Jump Street, and throughout the late 1980s he established himself as a cult actor.
Depp rose to further prominence when he co-starred with Winona Ryder in the critically and commercially successful suburban goth romance Edward Scissorhands in 1990.
In 1993, while Depp was filming What's Eating Gilbert Grape, he said it was an extremely "dark time" where he was "poisoning myself beyond belief".
He said he was drinking heavily and was "pretty unhealthy", and according to a 1997 interview with Vanity Fair, Depp was "coy" when asked if he'd been doing heroin during filming. He said he had such bad memories of making the dark family drama, he's never been able to watch the film.
Depp said he started smoking when he was just 12 years old and began drinking and doing drugs shortly afterwards during a 2005 interview with Rolling Stone.
"I'm a dumb-ass, and I poisoned myself for years," Depp told the publication in 2008, saying he'd turned his life around after marrying his now ex-wife Vanessa Paradis.
He said he'd never felt comfortable with attention, and didn't want to "be the guy people looked at".
"I felt I could only be myself when I was alone, that I turned into some kind of novelty. The only way I could get through that time was to drink," he told The Boston Globe in 2008.
During Depp's testimony, he said he took prescription pills belonging to his mother when he was 11 to "numb the pain" of living in an unstable home.
He said he gave his own daughter Lily-Rose Depp marijuana when she was just 13.
The actor told the court he appreciated it may look "wrong" to some, but said, "I was raising a daughter and I was being a responsible parent as far as I'm concerned."
Depp's private doctor, David Kipper, wrote in notes read out at the trial that Depp "romanticises the entire drug culture and has no accountability for his behaviour".
He also wrote that while he has friends who have achieved sobriety, Depp pays them "lip service" and is more interested in their "celebrity than their struggle with sobriety".
"There is also an issue of patience. He is driven almost reflexively by his id. He has no patience for not getting his needs met.
"He has no understanding of delayed gratification and is quite childlike in his reaction when he doesn't get immediate satisfaction."
Depp said Dr Kipper had "just met" him and Heard and was "not versed" in their lives when he wrote the notes. Dr Kipper is an expert in the treatments of addictive disorders and a member of the California Society of Addiction Medicine and the American Society of Addiction Medicine.
During the third day of the trial, Depp conceded throughout his life he'd been blacked out on many occasions, where he did not remember his conduct.
He was being questioned by The Sun's lawyer Sasha Wass, who asked him about an occasion where he'd bloodied his knuckles by punching a wall on September 22 in 2014.
"There are times when you don't even remember the conduct that you were responsible for, you blacked out on many, many occasions," Ms Wass said.
"There were blackouts for sure, but in any blackout there are snippets of memory," Depp claimed.
During 2014, Depp was sometimes publicly out of control, as he nurtured a private life that imitated many of the characters he played on screen.
At the 2014 Hollywood Film Awards, Depp was noticeably drunk and slurred through his speech, presenting the Legend Award to documentary filmmaker Shep Gordon.
When asked about this in court this week, Depp denied he was drunk, saying he was under the influence of "many medications".
"I don't feel ashamed of that moment because that's a sickly man, a drug addict who is coming off a very unpleasant medication and I was not prepared to go out and give that awards show however because they had asked me and it was my duty to do so I carried it through," he said.
HEARD AND DEPP ON PRIVATE ISLAND WHILE JOHNNY DETOXED
In the same year, Depp and Heard took a trip to his private island in the Bahamas, so Depp could detox from the opiate Roxicodone, or "Roxxies".
But during the trip, Depp claimed Heard did "one of the cruellest things that she has ever done" by withholding drugs from him, saying it left him "sobbing like a child" on the floor.
But the lawyer for The Sun presented a different angle, saying Heard had essentially had to act as Depp's nurse, while the nursing staff were on the opposite side of the island giving her instructions.
"The idea of a detoxification process is you come off drugs," Ms Wass told the court. "(Heard) was withholding drugs that you were not supposed to have."
Depp asked: "Why would she have drugs that I was not supposed to have?"
JOHNNY DEPP SAYS HE WAS 'ON THE NOD' IN ICE CREAM PHOTO
A photo from before the trip to the Bahamas was also released to the court, showing Depp nodded out on opiates with a tub of ice cream dripping on his jeans.
Depp admitted he was "on the nod" after taking opiates, but said he'd also been working long days before boarding a flight.
"I was preparing to go to the Bahamas to detox from the opiates and I had been working 17 hours a day prior to that," Depp told the court.
"She asked me to hold her tub of ice cream. I have my right hand in my pocket and I'm holding the ice cream in the other.
"I was obviously on the nod and very tired, falling asleep, and the ice cream then spilt all over my leg and then she took that … and showed me the next day and said, 'Look at what you've become … look at you, it's pathetic.'"
Heard claimed Depp on the flight had drank heavily and had thrown items at her, and pushed a chair at her, slapped her and kicked her, and passed out in the flight bathroom.
Another photo released to the court shows Depp in a hotel room passed out, fully clothed in the corner next to his bed.
Depp dismissed the claim he'd passed out during his first day in court, pointing out that he had a pillow with him.
Other professionals have criticised Depp, including an executive from his days working on Pirates of the Caribbean. Former Disney executive Nina Jacobson told the Without Fail podcast in 2018 she found Depp's performances "pretty out there".
She said his performances in the "dailies" (daily reels) came back in haphazard quality, with a character that was "drunken" and "fey".
She said the final performance seen on screen was one thing - "But the dailies, what you're sculpting from is some pretty 'big' stuff."
"I started to sweat a little and worry like, 'Are we gonna be okay?'" she said.
Ms Jacobson said the films worked in the end but she found the experience of working with Depp "scary".
"As an executive, you've got to watch the bottom line, and it's scary".
Ms Jacobson made the comments after Depp gave an interview to GQ saying he'd dismissed her comments, after she criticised his performance and asked Depp if the character was gay.
Depp was officially removed from the Pirates franchise at the end of 2018. He appeared in the most recent Pirates film, Dead Men Tell No Tales, in 2015.
The trial will continue for two more weeks, with the court still to hear from Heard, as well as actor Winona Ryder and Vanessa Paradis, both Depp's ex partners.
Originally published as Depp's lifelong love of drugs laid bare