Paul Bettany has described having his private texts with Johnny Depp shared in court during the latter’s libel trial as “embarrassing”.
Back in 2020, Depp sued The Sun newspaper over a column that referred to the actor as a “wife beater”.
A series of texts between Bettany and Depp – who have starred in three films together – were read aloud in the trial, where they joked about “drowning” Depp’s ex-wife Amber Heard to prove she wasn’t a witch.
One of the messages written by Bettany, sent in 2013, read: “I’m not sure we should burn Amber. She is delightful company and pleasing on the eye. We could of course do the English course of action and perform a drowning test. Thoughts? You have a swimming pool?”
In response, Depp wrote: “Let’s drown her before we burn her!!! I will fuck her burnt corpse afterwards to make sure she’s dead.”
Bettany replied: “My thoughts entirely. Let’s be certain before we pronounce her a witch.”
“We live in a world without context,” Bettany said. “I didn’t know Johnny when he was married to Amber. I knew him before. But we hadn’t spoken for years. During the marriage, I didn’t know them. So I wasn’t around for any of that.”
After describing the court trial as an “embarrassing” and “very surreal moment”, Bettany added: “I know how this works. Anything that you say is oxygen for a fire. And there’s just no fucking fire.
“The only real way to deal with this elegantly is to say: I’m not sure there’s anybody who has one of these devices that would feel comfortable having a team of lawyers scour their private text messages.”
Depp lost the libel case after Judge Mr Justice Nicol found the words to be “substantially true” in connection to domestic abuse allegations made by Heard.
Speaking in court, Nicol said: “Although he has proved the necessary elements of his cause of action in libel, the defendants have shown that what they published in the meaning which I have held the words to bear was substantially true.”
Following the trial, Depp resigned from his role in the Fantastic Beasts franchise and was replaced by Mads Mikkelsen for the upcoming third instalment.