Johnny Depp has announced that he is stepping away from the Fantastic Beasts films, following a request to do so by the production company, Warner Bros. The announcement comes amid Depp battling allegations of spousal abuse, stemming from his past marriage to actress Amber Heard. In a letter shared with Instagram, Depp stated that he plans to fight the claims against him, and will continue to "tell the truth."
In his letter, Depp writes, "In light of recent events, I would like to make the following short statement. Firstly, I'd like to thank everybody who has gifted me with their support and loyalty. I have been humbled and moved by your many messages of love and concern, particularly over the last few days. Secondly, I wish to let you know that I have been asked to resign by Warner Bros. from my role as Grindelwald in Fantastic Beasts and I have respected and agreed to that request." The move comes after Depp lost a libel suit he brought against The Sun for referring to him as a "wife-beater."
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Earlier this week, a judge ruled in favor of the outlet, and its executive editor Dan Wootton, regarding Depp's claims of slander. "The Claimant has not succeeded in his action for libel. Although he has proved the necessary elements of his cause of action in libel," the judge wrote. "The Defendants have shown that what they published in the meaning which I have held the words to bear was substantially true." The suit came after The Sun reported on Depp's alleged abuse of Heard, which he has fervently defended himself against.
"Finally, I wish to say this," Depp continued his letter, going on to address the ongoing allegations. "The surreal judgment of the court in the U.K. will not change my fight, to tell the truth and I confirm that I plan to appeal," he wrote. "My resolve remains strong and I intend to prove that the allegations against me are false. My life and career will not be defined by this moment in time." Depp then thanked his fans for reading.
Following the judge's ruling in the libel case, Heard's attorney, Elaine Charlson Bredehoft, issued a statement, writing, "For those of us present for the London High Court trial, this decision and judgment are not a surprise." She added, "Very soon, we will be presenting even more voluminous evidence in the U.S. We are committed to obtaining justice for Amber Heard in the U.S. Court and defending Ms. Heard's Right to Free Speech."