Paul Bettany's 'unpleasant feeling' over texts made public in Johnny Depp's case

Paul Bettany has spoken for the first time about having his private text messages made public during Johnny Depp’s legal battle with The Sun, revealing it had been ‘an unpleasant feeling’.

The WandaVision star called it ‘a really difficult subject to talk about’ and added that he thought addressing it would ‘just pour fuel on the fire’.

Describing it as ‘a strange moment’, Bettany recalled how odd it was to have lawyers ‘pouring through your texts for the last 10 years’.

Speaking to The Independent, the 50-year-old continued: ‘Can you imagine what it would be like, honestly, to have a bunch of lawyers go through every one of your emails and texts for 10 years? All I can tell you is that it was an unpleasant feeling.’

The actor, who will appear on TV screens across the festive period as Ian Campbell, Duke of Argyll in the BBC’s latest period drama A Very British Scandal, had messages between him and his Mordecai co-star and friend Depp read out during the latter’s libel trail against The Sun last year.

Texts sent between the two actors in 2013, and read out in court, saw Depp and Bettany joke about ‘burning’ and ‘drowning’ Heard, who Mr Depp was dating at the time.

A text from Bettany in June 2013 read out by Sasha Wass QC, barrister for News Group Newspapers (NGN), who Depp was suing, saw the Emmy nominee allegedly joke about Depp ‘shaving Amber Heard’s beaver’ in order for the Pirates of the Caribbean star to make ‘A LOT of money and with very little effort’.

The message continued: ‘Clearly there are many spin offs – you could poke, stroke, punch, etc.’

The barrister then read out messages sent later that year apparently from Bettany, with one reading: ‘I’m not sure we should burn Amber. 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 allegedly replied: ‘Let’s drown her before we burn her!!! I will f*** her burnt corpse afterwards to make sure she’s dead.’

Avengers star Bettany is said to have replied: ‘My thoughts entirely. Let’s be certain before we pronounce her a witch.’


Depp also said that he ‘dabbled in drugs’ with Bettany, after he was asked if the actor was one of his ‘drug buddies’.

He replied: ‘Paul Bettany is an actor that I’ve worked with several times, he is a friend and we have… yes, we have dabbled in drugs together,’ listing cocaine, alcohol, Xanax and Adderall as some of the drugs they had taken together.

The 58-year-old was suing NGN and The Sun’s executive editor Dan Wootton, in relation to a column Wootton wrote in April 2018, with the headline: ‘Gone Potty – How can JK Rowling be “genuinely happy” casting wife beater Johnny Depp in the new Fantastic Beasts film?’  

The actor denied all allegations of domestic violence, but lost his libel case against NGN in November 2020.

Alice in Wonderland actor Depp also stepped down from his role as Gellert Grindelwald in the Fantastic Beasts movies, with Bond villain Mads Mikkelsen replacing him in the upcoming third installment, The Secrets of Dumbledore.

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