Los Angeles: Hollywood star Johnny Depp's friend Doug Stanhope has penned a column in support of the actor in the wake of his divorce from Amber Heard and her claims of domestic abuse.
Stanhope, 49, has written an op-ed for The Wrap that Depp, 52, told him his wife of 15 months threatened to blackmail him as their marriage fell apart.
On May 21, hours before Heard claimed that the "Pirates of the Caribbean" star hit her with a cell phone during a violent argument, Stanhope and another friend named Bingo spent most of the day at the couple's LA home.
"We assumed initially that his dour mood was because of his mother's death the day before," the stand-up comedian writes.
"But he opened up in the most vulnerable of ways that it was not only his mother, but that Amber was now going to leave him, threatening to lie about him publicly in any and every possible duplicitous way if he didn't agree to her terms. Blackmail is what I would imagine other people might put it, including the manner in which he is now being vilified."
Heard, 30, filed for divorce two days after her alleged fight with Depp, and on May 27 she was temporarily granted a restraining order against him, after submitting a deposition in which she claimed she was "extremely afraid" for her safety.
Stanhope, best known for hosting "The Man Show" on Comedy Central, wrote, "He hadn't slept in days with anxiety. You'd call him a paranoid if you didn't know better. But he knew better and he was right."
The friends left Depp to get some rest, but later that night police were called to his house for a domestic dispute.
Police, however, has said that despite Heard's claims, they found no evidence for a report when they were called to the home.
"Everything Johnny had told us that she'd been threatening had actually come to be," Stanhope writes. "It blew up in the news, raced through the Internet like a plague and blew up on Twitter... People are swarming with torches on social media."
He explains that he hesitated coming forward because he didn't want to look like a name-dropper, but believes he had to speak out to defend his friend.
"Abusing women is bad," Stanhope adds. "Johnny doesn't abuse anyone. And he told me that day ahead of time that she'd pull something like this. Johnny Depp got used, manipulated, set up and made to look bad. And he saw it coming and didn't or couldn't do anything to stop it."