New Zealand journalist Dan Wootton apologises to Johnny Depp over 'wife beater' headline

  • 17/03/2024

New Zealand journalist Dan Wootton is apologising to Johnny Depp for calling him a "wife beater".

Wootton, now living in London, wrote the phrase in a 2018 headline while working at The Sun. 

It sparked a legal battle that captured the world as both Depp and his ex Amber Heard accused each other of domestic abuse.

Ultimately, the publisher won the High Court case.

But now, Wootton is issuing an apology for "contributing to their heartache" anyway.

On his page, Dan Wootton Outspoken, the controversial journalist admitted "it was wrong to ever get involved in Johnny Depp's private life". 

"I have stayed silent for many years on Johnny Depp versus Amber Heard, despite ending up an unwitting party in the former Hollywood golden couple's bid for mutual destruction in a British courtroom," he said.

"With five years of hindsight and a changed personal outlook thanks to my own MSM cancellation, I now admit that I should never have got involved in the carnival of commentary on the catastrophic breakdown of Johnny's relationship."

It comes after it was alleged in July last year that Wootton inappropriately offered colleagues large sums of money for sexual material in a series of claims made online by his ex-boyfriend Alex Truby. 

UK police have dropped their investigation, saying "no further action will be taken". 

Wootton said the experience - "a comparably ugly situation" - had given him clarity.

"I know how difficult it can be to defend yourself against these sorts of smears, even though I have now been fully exonerated in two separate investigations by the Metropolitan and Scottish police."

Wootton said he regrets ever getting involved.

"I don't know what happened between Johnny and Amber on the plane or at the mansion - and, frankly, it was not my business to interfere. I greatly regret that I ever did. Relationships are complex things, after all."

Wootton's apology in full

"So today I'm sorry to both Johnny and Amber for contributing to their heartache.

"And to The Sun and it's brilliant legal team for putting them in an unenviable position, too.

"Sometimes it's only hitting rock bottom that allows you to re-evaluate decisions you've made in the past ­- and I've had the privilege to do that over the past few years and know I am a better journalist as a result.

"One of the missions of my life now is to fight back against the weaponisation of people's perfectly legal private business in order to cancel successful careers."