Amber Heard filed a defamation lawsuit against comedian Doug Stanhope on Friday in Arizona, ET has learned.
The “Magic Mike XXL” actress alleges that Stanhope accused her of blackmailing her estranged husband, Johnny Depp, in a “completely false and defamatory” guest column, titled “Johnny Depp Is Being Blackmailed by Amber Heard — Here’s How I Know,” which was published on TheWrap.com on May 29.
According to court documents obtained by ET, Heard, 30, claims that Stanhope “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.”
In the papers, Heard adds that the allegations in the article “have caused and will continue to cause her tremendous harm.”
Following news of the lawsuit, Charles J. Harder, Heard’s lawyer, released the following statement to ET:
“Amber Heard filed a lawsuit today in the Arizona Superior Court for the County of Cochise. The defendant is Doug Stanhope, a resident of that county. The Complaint alleges that Stanhope is a close friend of Johnny Depp and, as part of a coordinated effort, wrote a highly defamatory article about Ms. Heard, filled with completely false, highly defamatory and very hurtful statements.”
“Ms. Heard seeks the maximum possible jury award, and will donate 100% of the proceeds from the lawsuit to Chrysalis, a domestic violence shelter in Arizona, in an effort to counter the setback made to women by the defendants’ defamatory article and related wrongful acts.”
On May 27, less than a week after filing for divorce from the 52-year-old actor, Heard was granted a temporary restraining order by a Los Angeles judge against Depp, alleging he had been abusive to her over the course of their one-year marriage.
The new court filing details another incident in which Heard alleges Depp “hit and kicked” her.
“During the course of his relationship with Heard, Depp has repeatedly been physically and verbally abusive towards her. Depp has hit and kicked Heard on numerous occasions, has thrown objects at her, at one point suffocated her to the point where she feared for her life,” the documents claim. “Depp is an alcoholic and drug addict, and these violent episodes occurred mostly after Depp had relapsed into a cycle of substance abuse. His drug and alcohol abuse has increased dramatically in recent years, as has his violent behavior.”
Heard also accuses 20 other unnamed defendants — referred to as “DOES 1-20”– for defaming her by “repeatedly making false public allegations about Heard to the press, accusing her of being manipulative, a blackmailer, and blaming her for the breakup of the marriage.”
“After the May 2016 domestic violence incident,” the documents continue, “Depp commenced a publicity tour for his new film, and his representatives contacted numerous members of the press to discredit Heard and subvert her truthful allegations.”
Heard claims the “publicity tour” was “coordinated by Depp and his powerful representatives, who surreptitiously disseminated numerous false statements” about her, damaging both her reputation and career.
ET has reached out to Stanhope and Depp for comment.
Earlier this week, ET exclusively obtained never-before-seen text messages that a source says are between Heard and a man purported to be Depp’s assistant, Stephen Deuters. The text messages, which a source says are from May 2014, detail alleged assault by Depp.
ET was not able to independently verify the recipients of the messages or whether they had been edited, and Deuters and Depp declined to comment to ET. Deuters later said the texts were “heavily doctored,” according to TMZ, and denied Depp had assaulted Heard.