The actor Paul Bettany has spoken for the first time about having the text messages exchanged between himself and Johnny Depp concerning Amber Heard read out at Depp’s libel trial.
Bettany, who is currently promoting A Very British Scandal, told the Independent it was “a really difficult subject to talk about” and said he was concerned doing so would “just pour fuel on the fire”.
A series of aggressive and unpleasant texts exchanged between Bettany and Depp, his friend and sometime co-star, were read aloud in court in 2020 by barristers for News Group International, which Depp was suing after a column by Dan Wootton in the Sun referred to him as a “wife beater”.
One message, sent in 2013, made lewd reference to Heard’s “beaver”, and discussed her murder by “burning” or “drowning”.
“I’m not sure we should burn Amber,” wrote Bettany. “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.”
Depp replied: “Let’s drown her before we burn her!!! I will fuck her burnt corpse afterwards to make sure she’s dead.”
To which Bettany apparently wrote back: “My thoughts entirely. Let’s be certain before we pronounce her a witch.”
Depp was asked in court whether Bettany was one of his “drug buddies”, and he said that the pair had taken drugs together and drunk alcohol.
Depp lost the libel case and was replaced by Mads Mikkelsen in the forthcoming third instalment of JK Rowling’s Fantastic Beasts movie franchise. Bettany has won plaudits for his performance as the Duke of Argyll in A Very British Scandal, as well as in Marvel spin-off WandaVision.