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Winona Ryder just jumped into the frenzy of Johnny Depp and Amber Heard's defamation lawsuit. Unlike James Franco -- or Paul Bettany having texts read aloud in court -- it sounds like Ryder was not dragged into this. She volunteered to speak up on the record for her ex-fiancé, saying she was "absolutely shocked, confused and upset" at the abuse allegations Heard leveled against Depp.
The Stranger Things star met Johnny Depp at the Great Balls of Fire premiere in 1989. They started dating shortly after that, when Winona Ryder was 17 and Depp was 26. The Edward Scissorhands co-stars were engaged for three years, starting in 1990. Their breakup was amicable, so much so that Ryder has been vocal in her support of Depp. (Fun fact: He changed his "Winona Forever" tattoo to "Wino Forever" after their split.)
As you probably know, Johnny Depp has a couple of big lawsuits in play right now. Winona Ryder's new declaration for the court is tied to the $50 million defamation lawsuit Depp filed against his ex-wife Amber Heard in connection to an op-ed she wrote that he felt defamed him and cost him his role in the Pirates of the Caribbean movies. His other libel lawsuit is based in the U.K. against The Sun for calling him a "wife beater" in connection to his casting for the Fantastic Beasts movies.
In this case, Winona Ryder filed a declaration in Johnny Depp's defamation case against Amber Heard. She said she was willing to be called as a witness for Depp. Emphasizing that she was speaking for herself, since she was not part of Depp and Heard's marriage, Ryder defended Depp's character from her own experience. Here's part of what she wrote in her declaration, per documents obtained by The Blast:
I obviously was not there during his marriage to Amber, but, from my experience, which was so wildly different, I was absolutely shocked, confused and upset when I heard the accusations against him. The idea that he is an incredibly violent person is the farthest thing from the Johnny I knew and loved. I cannot wrap my head around these accusations.
Winona Ryder shared her own experience with Johnny Depp:
He was never, never violent towards me. He was never, never abusive at all towards me. He has never been violent or abusive towards anybody I have seen. I truly and honestly only know him as a really good man- an incredibly loving, extremely caring guy who was so very protective of me and the people that he loves, and I felt so very, very safe with him. ... I do not want to call anyone a liar but from my experience of Johnny, it is impossible to believe that such horrific allegations are true. I find it extremely upsetting knowing him as I do.
As Winona Ryder noted, though, she can only speak from her own experience. Amber Heard shared allegations of abuse by Johnny Depp, claiming that when he was under the influence of alcohol or drugs, "The Monster" would come out. Some of the texts Depp allegedly sent to his friend and frequent co-star Paul Bettany were read in court tied to The Sun libel case, with Depp alleged to have written things like "Let’s burn Amber," and also appearing to address the infamous flight where Heard alleged he kicked her.
The Sun libel case will also reportedly include more recorded conversations like the one leaked to The Daily Mail in which Amber Heard's voice can allegedly be heard admitting to Johnny Depp that she hit him, adding that she couldn't promise to not be physical again in the marriage.
Johnny Depp's libel case is heading to trial later in March, but the defamation case is currently scheduled for August. Meanwhile, Winona Ryder's Stranger Things just pressed pause on Netflix production due to the coronavirus. Amber Heard was cast in CBS All Access' The Stand adaptation, which has an interesting virus tie, as her co-star noted. And Johnny Depp should be headed to film Fantastic Beasts 3 pretty soon, since Warner Bros. has yet to delay production.