Los Angeles: Comedian Doug Stanhope has come to the defence of Johnny Depp, claiming his estranged wife Amber Heard had told the actor she was going to leave him and threatened to lie about him publicly "in any and every duplicitous way" if he did not agree to her terms.
Amber Heard and Johnny Depp
Heard filed for divorce from Depp earlier this week, alleging she "lived in fear" of her husband of 15 months and that he had been abusive throughout their marriage.
Stanhope said he was inspired to speak out after watching Depp get "murdered" on social media after photographs of Heard with a bruise on her face -- that she claimed was caused by Depp -- appeared online and her allegations made headlines internationally, reports dailymail.co.uk.
Stanhope said that he and his girlfriend Bingo were at Depp's house just before the reported assault happened, and immediately noticed his sullen mood.
The couple had assumed it was because the actor's mother had passed away the day before, but Stanhope said Depp was also concerned about Heard.
"He opened up in the most vulnerable of ways. That Amber was now going to leave him, threatening to lie about him publicly in any and every duplicitous way if he didn't agree to her terms," Stanhope wrote in a guest column for entertainment and media news website TheWrap.
"Blackmail is what I would imagine other people might put it, including the manner in which he is now being vilified," he said.
Stanhope said it was at that moment that the couple decided to come clean to their friend about the suspicions they had long held about his wife, who the comedian dubbed a "manipulative a*****e".
"We had watched it build like this before they were married. We had watched her manipulate and f**k with him for years," he revealed.