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Witnesses testify to Depp’s ‘drug problems’ in defamation suit

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Day 19: Amber Heard’s witnesses testify at trial about Johnny Depp’s drug and alcohol use

Heard’s ex-best friend, former agent, and former business manager, as well as her former attorney, provide an account of Depp’s ‘erratic behaviour’ in court on Thursday.

Ellen Barkin who had a sexual relationship with the actor in 1994 also testified that he was a jealous man who was “controlling” as well as “angry and demanding”.

A former long-time close friend testifies

Bruce Witkin was the first witness to be called on Thursday for Heard’s defence.

Witkin was Depp’s former long-time friend from 1982 and ‘best friend’ by 2018.

When recalling what ended their friendship Witkin says he wasn’t sure, except that he received a text from Depp saying Witkin had “stabbed him in the back.”

Witkin also says that during their friendship he observed Depp abusing substances and recommended Depp get sober, which he did on a few occasions.

However, Witkin alleged that during his sobriety from opiates the star continued using other substances.

Witkin testified saying, “it just seemed weird to me there was weed and wine in soberness.”

He also spoke of his surprise when he saw his friend begin using cocaine for the first time in 2014, and then again in 2016.

“In my experience, it’s deep-rooted issues he’s dealing with,” says Witkin.

“It had nothing to do with Amber, in my opinion.”

Former agent

Depp’s former agent Tracey Jacobs who helped him to become ‘the biggest star in the world’ appeared via a video link in the star’s multi-million dollar defamation suit against his ex-wife.

Testifying about the difficulties of representing the actor for roughly 30 years and her experience of his problematic behaviour during the last decade of their professional relationship.

Jacobs told the court that Depp displayed “unprofessional” conduct on sets which included being unprepared and escalating anger issues due to increased alcohol and drug use.

“Showing up late to set consistently on virtually every movie,” says Jacobs.

“I would get yelled at. I never said to him, ‘you’re a difficult client,’ but I was very honest with him and said, ‘you’ve got to stop doing this, this is hurting you.’ And it did.”

Jacobs testifying about Depp’s fall from grace says the actor’s “star had dimmed” due to his bad reputation.

On the topic of Depp ending their professional collaboration in 2016 Jacobs says, “all I know is he essentially terminated everyone in his life, and I was along for the ride, I guess”.

Former business manager

Depp’s former business manager Joel Mandel who met the actor around 1999 and worked with him until 2016, testified that he saw the actor’s behaviour become ‘erratic’.

In addition to displaying “disproportionate” reactions to things, Mandel also attested to Depp’s income and spending during the time they worked together.

He describes the star’s lifestyle as having changed when he rose to fame, saying the increase in income was followed by increased spending to maintain the new lifestyle.

Mandel says that there came a point where Depp’s income could no longer support his lifestyle, requesting that the business manager make severe cutbacks.

As a result, Mandel says he was unable to pay the actor’s taxes in October 2015.

“His financial circumstances in 2015 had reached a point where I was extremely concerned and was on a very regular basis expressing that concern,” says Mandel.

However, he says that his concerns about the dire circumstances were not met favourably by the star as he fired him.

Defamation lawsuit continues in court

In 2018, Depp sued Heard for $50 million over an op-ed she wrote for The Washington Post, in which she described surviving domestic violence — without mentioning her ex-husband by name.

Heard filed a counter-suit against the actor for $100 million in 2020, which is ongoing and nearing its end with testimony expected to end next week and closing arguments set for Friday, May 27.

Danaya Malenda contributed to this report.

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The longest wait for a blockbuster has arrived

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After 13 long years, the Avatar sequel has premiered in London

Strap yourselves in because one of the most delayed sequels in blockbuster history has arrived.

Now, ‘Avatar: The Way of Water’ has premiered in London.

It’s been a long wait for Avatar fans, which remains the biggest-grossing film of all time.

The film will be open to the public next week, but you’ll need a drink and some popcorn because it runs for three hours.

Director James Cameron says he’s nervous but offered this explanation when asked why it’s taken so long for the sequel.

Stars Sam Worthington, Zoe Saldaña and Kate Winslet fronted the red carpet for the release.

Credit: Variety

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Prince Harry and UK newspaper publisher agree pause of libel case

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Prince Harry and one of Britain’s biggest media publishers have agreed a temporary pause in his libel claim to try to settle the case.

The Duke of Sussex sued the publisher in February over an article in the Mail on Sunday newspaper which alleged he tried to keep secret details of his legal fight with Britain’s interior ministry to reinstate his police protection.

Harry says the Mail on Sunday published an “unremittingly negative” article about his ongoing case against the Home Office.

The High Court ruled it was defamatory in July.

Associated Newspapers, however, argues that the article contains “an expression of opinion” about Harry’s public statements on his legal case over police protection and is defending the libel lawsuit.

The case returned to court for a preliminary hearing on Tuesday at which Harry’s lawyer Jane Phillips said the parties have agreed to put the case on hold until mid-January in order to try and negotiate a settlement “if that is indeed possible”.

Further information

Associated Newspapers applied for Harry to provide further information about a meeting at the royal Sandringham estate in January 2020, when he says he made an offer to pay for or contribute to police protection.

Judge Barbara Fontaine ruled that Harry’s lawyers should provide “clarification” about the offer he says he made, which she added would “assist the parties … in the attempts about [a] settlement, which I hope are successful”.

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Who will win Time Magazine’s person of 2022?

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It’s that time of year again when Time Magazine awards its person of the year, so here’s the shortlist so far

Time Magazine is looking for who dominated headlines and conversations in 2022. Ahead of the reveal this week, it has shortlisted a few candidates.

Elon Musk makes the cut

Top pick, is Elon Musk once again. The billionaire dominating headlines for his $44 billion takeover of Twitter.

He is no stranger to controversy, with many critics slamming his changes to the social media giant.

FILE PHOTO: SpaceX owner and Tesla CEO Elon Musk gestures during a conversation with legendary game designer Todd Howard (not pictured) at the E3 gaming convention in Los Angeles, California, U.S., June 13, 2019.

Xi Jinping

Next, is Xi Jinping as he secured himself a third term as President of China. He also stole the global spotlight for his draconian zero-covid strategy, as thousands call for his resignation.

Xi has also been the centre of geopolitical tensions and trade with the United States and Australia.

Plus, China’s dominance over Taiwan has cause a global stir.

Chinese President Xi Jinping waves after his speech as the new Politburo Standing Committee members meet the media following the 20th National Congress of the Communist Party of China, at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, China October 23, 2022. REUTERS/Tingshu Wang

U.S. Supreme Court

Also named is the U.S. Supreme court for overturning the nearly 50-year-old Roe v. Wade abortion law.

The landmark ruling overturned the law that recognised a woman’s constitutional right to an abortion and legalised it nationwide.

It sparked global protests with thousands of women begging for the right to decide what they do with their own bodies.

Protestors react outside the U.S. Supreme Court to the leak of a draft majority opinion written by Justice Samuel Alito preparing for a majority of the court to overturn the landmark Roe v. Wade abortion rights decision later this year, in Washington, U.S., May 2, 2022. REUTERS/Moira Warburton

Volodymyr Zelensky

No surprise, Ukraine’s Volodymyr Zelensky made the cut. The comedian turned President is leading his country through war.

During 2022, Zelensky has given unwavering strength for Ukraine. He has forced world leaders to support the war-torn nation, in the face of Russian aggression.

He has been a pillar of hope, endurance and resilience.

Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskiy gestures during his annual news conference at the Antonov aircraft plant in Kyiv, Ukraine May 20, 2021. REUTERS/Gleb Garanich

Iran protestors

Protestors in Iran have also been named, as the country continues to stand up against the strict Islamic Republic.

The uprising is one of the largest in the nations history, with the world unable to turn a blind eye.

Women have been burning their hijabs and cutting their hair, forcing the Parliament to review the mandatory hijab law.

FILE – Iranians who live in Brazil protest against the death of Iranian woman Mahsa Amini, who died in Iran while in police custody, in Sao Paulo, Brazil, Friday, Sept. 23, 2022. As anti-government protests roil cities and towns in Iran for a fourth week, sparked by the death of a 22-year-old woman detained by Iran’s morality police, tens of thousands of Iranians living abroad have marched on the streets of Europe, North America and beyond in support of what many believe to be a watershed moment for their home country. (AP Photo/Andre Penner, File)

The magazine also made mention of Ron DeSantis, Gun safety advocates and Liz Cheney.

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