Tuesday 25 October 2016

The darker side of a decaying dreamboat

As Johnny Depp's young wife files for divorce, it's now a free-for-all on his perceived freefall

Sarah Caden

Published 29/05/2016 | 02:30

Court case: Johnny Depp and Amber Heard are divorcing after 15 months of marriage amid claims the actor was violent towards his wife on more than one occasion Photo: Yui Mok/PA Wire
Court case: Johnny Depp and Amber Heard are divorcing after 15 months of marriage amid claims the actor was violent towards his wife on more than one occasion Photo: Yui Mok/PA Wire

When the news broke on Thursday that Johnny Depp's 15-month marriage had ended, it read like a midlife crisis gone wrong. And the greatest evidence of this, apart from his wife's application for divorce, was Depp's deteriorating appearance.

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Things were said about Depp as he faced into divorce that would never be said about a 52-year-old actress - basically, that he'd gone off in the worst possible way - but by yesterday, that was small potatoes. In fact, that was almost benign and innocent commentary compared to what followed.

In the year and three months since 52-year-old Depp married 30-year-old Heard, there's no denying that he has appeared increasingly dishevelled and, latterly, even disorientated. While she has grown ever more soignee in their public outings, he has become grubby, greasy, bloated, with tobacco-stained teeth and bleary eyes. It has been like watching Dorian Grey pose for a picture with his disintegrating portrait.

The generation who grew up with Depp as the heart-throb with soul looked on with dismay and felt disappointed by how badly it went wrong when word of his impending divorce broke on Thursday. By Saturday, however, after Amber Heard turned up to an LA courtroom with a black eye apparently inflicted by Depp, it turned into a different thing altogether. By then, a simple loss of looks and youth was replaced by something entirely more ugly.

On Friday, Amber Heard appealed to an LA judge for a restraining order against Johnny Depp, as she applied for divorce, spousal support and sole custody of their dogs. She was granted the restraining order, the divorce and the support remain to be decided and the custody was denied.

Heard, who was bruised down one side of her face, said that on May 21, the day after Johnny Depp's mother died, the actor attacked her in their home. She said that during a row when he was "high and inebriated", he grabbed her phone and hurled it at her like a "baseball pitcher". "He then forcibly pulled back my hair as I attempted to stand up from the sofa," she said. "Johnny continued screaming at me, pulling my hair, striking me and violently grabbing my face." A friend came to her rescue and they called 911, while Depp allegedly smashed up the place with a magnum of champagne, before leaving.

The LAPD has said that when they arrived at the scene there was "no evidence of any crime".

And this small piece of information - bearing in mind that Heard's face is undeniably bruised - is part of what seems like an effort to portray Heard as manipulative, calculating and, let's face it, gold-digging.

It has been claimed that last weekend Depp tried to pay Heard to keep quiet about this incident and, apparently, other violence in their marriage, but last Monday she decided to file for divorce instead.

This wasn't a once-off, according to Heard and she has stated that there was repeated violence, including an incident last December, in which she " truly feared for [her] life".

The lack of a prenuptial agreement in the marriage between Johnny Depp and Amber Heard is being held up as significant, probably to damage her. Shucks, wasn't he romantic? Or, more cuttingly, there's no fool like an old fool. While, on the other hand, she's taken to be a young, ambitious type who saw him coming with his reported $400m fortune.

Still, does gold-digger trump domestic violence? If his lawyers succeed in portraying her as a calculating bitch, does that decide that she might have deserved this alleged abuse?

Whatever way it goes, this is no ordinary fallout from a midlife crisis. This, whatever way it goes, could be the end of Johnny Depp in more ways than a simple loss of looks.

He has hired a famously formidable Hollywood lawyer, Laura Wasser, who said on Friday that Heard was filing papers in the hope of a "premature financial settlement".

This would seem like a none too subtle way of saying that she wants cash out of Depp fast, before this gets any worse for him. On the other hand, on Friday, Heard's lawyer praised her for being "very brave" to come out in public bruised and battered.

Johnny Depp was not in court in LA on Friday. Instead, he was playing a music festival in Portugal with his band, Hollywood Vampires. He was far from the wrangling, ageing-rebel image that already held dwindling appeal for people, even before this latest turn of events.

Last Thursday, a bad midlife crisis seemed like a stroke of bad luck for Johnny Depp. Now, that seems like a happy state of affairs compared with what Amber Heard has said, and will likely continue to reveal more about the dark side of the decaying dreamboat.

Sunday Independent

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