Depp's apologetic texts to Amber 'fabricated'
Johnny Depp's assistant has claimed that a string of text messages in which he allegedly apologised to Amber Heard over the actor's violent and abusive behaviour were fabricated.
According to TMZ, the American celebrity news website, Stephen Deuters vowed to say under oath that Ms Heard was never attacked by her estranged husband - who strongly denies the claim - should the case go to trial.
He insists that he has never discussed the abuse claims with anyone and says the text messages were suspicious because they did not have dates on them.
It is the latest in a string of poisonous allegations to hit Depp, who was once a family-friendly household icon but is now facing claims that he repeatedly subjected Ms Heard to domestic violence during their 15-month marriage.
Depp is alleged to have hurled an iPhone at Ms Heard during a particularly virulent row over his late mother.
The claims emerged after Ms Heard was photographed with a bruise on the side of her forehead as she attended a Los Angeles court to file a restraining order against Depp.
The restraining order was granted, and Ms Heard claims the alleged iPhone assault was just one of several cases where she was abused and said she "lives in fear" of the Pirates of the Caribbean star.
"During the entirety of our relationship, Johnny has been verbally and physically abusive to me," she said in a statement shown to the court.
"I endured excessive emotional, verbal and physical abuse which has included angry, hostile, humiliating and threatening assaults to me whenever I questioned his authority or disagreed with him."
Representatives for Depp say he denies having thrown the iPhone.
Ms Heard claims that Depp plunged into an episode of paranoid delusions, heavy drinking and drug abuse after they were married - and it has been reported that his depression was linked to the death of his mother, who died on May 20 of this year.
The drug use in particular had left him "irrational, delusional and aggressive", she claimed.
Representatives for Depp said the allegations were "fabricated" and were an attempt to secure a quick financial settlement.
Earlier this week, a friend of Ms Heard claimed in an interview with the 'New York Post' that Depp once tried to suffocate his estranged wife with a pillow in a fit of drunken rage.
The friend told of how she was called to help Ms Heard and arrived at her home to find her with cuts on her face, a chunk of hair missing from the top of her head and a bruised eye.
"I got to her apartment to find her with a cut and bruised lip, a swollen eye and a chunk of hair missing from the top of her head," the friend recalled.
"This incident really stuck with me because she confided in me that day that she feared for her life after an intoxicated Johnny tried to suffocate her with a pillow."
As what is potentially the biggest and most bitter celebrity divorce in recent memory rages on, friends and family have been quick to take sides. Among those standing firmly with Depp are Oscar-winning actor Mickey Rourke, director Terry Gilliam, British actor Paul Bettany and Depp's own daughter, Lily-Rose Depp.