James Franco is set to be deposed in Johnny Depp’s $50 million defamation against Amber Heard: Actor will be quizzed over whether he saw bruises on her face during a visit to her apartment

  • James Franco, 43, has been subpoenaed to appear in 58-year-old Johnny Depp’s defamation case against Amber Heard, 35
  • The suit, filed in Virginia, relates to a 2018 Washington Post op-Ed in which Heard wrote about surviving domestic abuse 
  • Although she did not name her ex-husband in the piece, Depp claims that he was still able to be identified from the piece
  • Franco’s involvement comes after surveillance footage shows him visiting Heard
  • Depp’s legal team want to know if Heard told Franco about any fights or if any bruises were visible on her face during the visit to their apartment 
  • Franco’s apartment was in the same block as that of Heard and Depp’s  
  • As part of Depp’s $50m defamation case against Heard, Depp has included images of his own bruised and battered face following Heard’s alleged attacks 
  • Heard also accused Depp of attacking her, providing photos of bruises, scars, clumps of hair torn from her head and pictures of smashed furniture
  • Franco, meanwhile, spoke out this week about his 20-year struggle with sex addiction as well as his battle with alcoholism 
  • In January 2018, five women told the Los Angeles Times that Franco had been sexually inappropriate or exploitative with them 
  • Franco confessed on Thursday to being unfaithful to all his former partners and said he slept with students at his acting school

James Franco has been served papers to appear in court in the long-running bitter legal battle between Johnny Depp, 58, and his ex-wife Amber Heard, 35.

Franco, 43, who earlier this week admitted that he slept with his acting students, is to be quizzed in court over whether he possibly had an extramarital affair with Heard while she was still with Depp.  

Depp’s lawyers are also keen to speak to the actor to determine whether he ever saw any of the alleged bruises to Heard’s face.

Depp has previously accused Heard of sleeping with her co-star, Franco, during the filming of The Adderall Diaries in 2015. 

Franco’s deposition will take place early in the new year in the $50 million defamation lawsuit filed by Depp against Heard. 

James Franco is set to be deposed in Johnny Depp’s $50 million defamation against Amber Heard. Franco lived in the same building as Depp and Heard and he is to be questioned over whether he knew about the estranged couple’s fights or whether bruises appeared on Heard

Franco will be quizzed over whether he had affair with actress and if she saw bruises on her face during a visit to her apartment 

Amber Heard and James Franco attend the premier of the Adderall Diaries in 2015. Johnny Depp has previously accused Heard of sleeping with her co-star during filming

Depp is suing his ex-wife through a court in Virginia over an op-ed article she wrote for the Washington Post in 2018 where she described how she was a victim of domestic violence.

She never referred to Depp by name but he believes that it was obvious Heard was referring to him as the abuser. Depp has denied any abuse towards her. 

‘I became a public figure representing domestic abuse, and I felt the full force of our culture’s wrath for women who speak out,’ she wrote in the December 2018 article, which didn’t mention the Pirates of the Caribbean actor by name.

Depp claimed, nonetheless, that it implicated him as the abuser, damaging his reputation and causing him to lose his prized role of Captain Jack Sparrow. 

Depp is suing his ex-wife through a court in Virginia over an op-ed article she wrote for the Washington Post in 2018 where she described how she was a victim of domestic violence. Amber Heard is pictured with bruises to her face in evidence from an earlier court case


Heard cataloged the ‘horrific’ abuse she claims to have suffered at Depp’s hands, describing him as ‘the monster’ and recalling many of the allegations she made during their divorce. The filing included photos of bruises and scars (left and right)

This is one of the clumps of hair left on the ground after Depp tore it from Heard during a December 2015 fight, she claims in legal filings

His suit says he’s the victim of an ‘elaborate hoax’ instigated by Heard to generate positive publicity and advance her career.

‘Ms. Heard is not a victim of domestic abuse; she is a perpetrator,’ it claims.

‘She hit, punched and kicked me. She also repeatedly and frequently threw objects into my body and head, including heavy bottles, soda cans, burning candles, television remote controls and paint thinner cans, which severely injured me.’

Heard responded with a lurid 300-page filing of her own, cataloging the ‘horrific’ abuse she claims to have suffered at Depp’s hands, describing him as ‘the monster’ and recalling many of the allegations she made during their divorce.

The filing included photos of bruises and scars, clumps of hair apparently torn from Heard’s head and pictures of smashed up furniture to illustrate the violence she was allegedly subjected to after hooking up with Depp, her co-star in The Rum Diary, back in 2011.

The UK’s High Court ruled against Depp following an explosive three-week trial in July 2020, finding allegations the actor was a ‘wife beater’ was ‘substantially true.’ 

The judge ruled that Depp assaulted Heard on a dozen occasions and put her in ‘fear of her life’ three times often while on drink and drugs binges, which he said turned the actor into a ‘monster’, in one of the most high-profile libel clashes of this century. 

James Franco’s subpoena was sent to him by Depp’s legal team after  after surveillance video from May 2016 showed him getting into an elevator with Heard 24 hours after they had a massive fight in which Heard alleged she received a black eye at the hands of Depp.

Franco and Heard can be seen on camera leaving the penthouse together where Depp and Heard lived together.

Depp’s legal team wants to speak to Franco to question him as a ‘witness’  to know if he discussed the fight with Heard or if Franco recalls seeing any injuries to Heard’s face.

A 12-day trial is expected to take place from April 11, 2022 in Fairfax County, Virginia.

In the suit, as seen by Page Six, Depp said, ‘I have denied Ms. Heard’s allegations vehemently since she first made them in May 2016 … when she walked into court to obtain a temporary restraining order with painted-on bruises that witnesses and surveillance footage show she did not possess each day of the preceding week. I will continue to deny them for the rest of my life. I never abused Ms. Heard or any other woman.’

Depp explains that he filed the lawsuit ‘not only to clear my name and restore my reputation, but to attempt to bring clarity to the women and men whose lives have been harmed by abuse and who have been repeatedly lied to by Ms. Heard purporting to be their spokesperson.’

Heard’s legal team has said that Franco also lived in the building around the time of the alleged incident and would sometimes take the elevator together Such claims, according to Depp’s attorneys, are a ‘lie’. 

The pair married in February 2015 but split less than two years later when Heard had a restraining order slapped on Depp over claims he threw a cellphone in her face at their downtown Los Angeles loft.

Heard claimed police had evidence of the May 27, 2016 attack but two LAPD officers later said in a deposition that they found nothing to suggest a crime took place.

The estranged couple eventually agreed to a $7 million divorce settlement in August 2016 – which Heard says she donated to charity – but their back-and-forth feud was only getting started.

Meanwhile Franco has been dealing with his own lawsuit. Earlier this week he admitted in a wide-ranging interview that he was ‘addicted to sex’. 

Franco admitted he slept with students at his acting school and ‘cheated on everyone’ he dated during a 20-year battle with ‘sex addiction.’

The actor was speaking for the first time since being accused of sexual misconduct by five women, four of his ex-students and one who said he was her mentor, in January 2018.

One claimed that Franco removed a protective plastic guard covering actresses’ vaginas and simulated oral sex on them while filming a scene for a movie, while another said he asked actresses to remove their shirts on set. 

Two of the women later sued the Spider Man star, saying he intimidated students at his now-defunct Studio 4 acting school into gratuitous and exploitative sexual situations. 

James Franco’s involvement with Johnny Depp’s and Amber Heard’s lawsuit comes after surveillance footage shows him visiting Heard at her and Depp’s apartment

Committed: James has been dating Isabel since November 2017; Isabel and James pictured in 2019

Franco initially denied all of the allegations but settled for $2.2 million in July with the two women who sued him.

The actor said he thought sleeping with students was ‘cool’ because it was ‘consensual,’ but admitted he was ‘completely blind to power dynamics … but also completely blind to people’s feelings.’ 

Speaking on the SiriusXM’s The Jess Cagle Podcast, Franco said he ‘did sleep with students, and that was wrong.’

He also admitted he could ‘never be faithful to anybody’ before meeting 28-year-old actress Isabel Pakzad who he has been dating since November 2017.

Actress Charlyne Yi who accused Franco of being a ‘sexual predator’ earlier this year reposted tweets criticizing the actor on her Instagram feed, including one which said: ‘Took 4 years [for a response to the allegations] and still seems lacking and performative. He didn’t know teachers sleeping with students crossed a boundary due to power imbalance? Yikes.’ 

When Franco was a teenager he said he was ‘addicted to alcohol’ and ‘got sober when [he] was 17,’ but his addictive behaviors would, eventually, flood into other elements of his life.

‘Once I couldn’t use alcohol to fill that hole, it was like, ‘Oh, success, attention, this is great.’ I got addicted to validation or success or whatever that is. 

‘Along the road of trying to get success and climb the top of that mountain, attention from women, success with women also became a huge source of validation for me. The problem with that is, as I’m sure you can guess, is that there’s never enough.

‘I’m just trying to fill that hole and it never gets filled,’ he explained.  

He described sex as ‘such a powerful drug’ and he, unfortunately, ‘got hooked on it for 20 more years.’

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